The much-awaited movie that had been turning heads way before it was released – Azhar - is mostly a docu-drama than a life biopic of cricket legend Mohammed Azharuddin. Azhar is the story of a fallen hero’s fight for his lost dignity.
Hailing from a lower middle-class background in Hyderabad, Mohammed Azharuddin, played by Emraan Hashmi, rises to become one of India’s most successful captains in the world of cricket. However, the journey is speckled with controversies and scandals galore.
On the personal front, he makes headlines when he romances a film actress Sangeeta played by Nargis Fakri who he eventually marries after leaving his first wife Naureen played by Prachi Desai. On the career front, he is ban from playing cricket after being accused of match fixing.
The film tracks Azhar’s journey as he combats his inner battles with a clear mission – to have his name cleared. Director Tony D’Souza opted for this topic as no matter what Mohammed Azharuddin was, he was always a people’s hero.
The music given by Amaan Mallik also matches the pace of the movie and is also praised all. The ‘oye oye’ track from ‘Tridev’ was re-created to add some spice to the script, the beats added to the song also makes to tap your feet and hit the dance floor.
The real Azharuddin has endorsed the film and it is commendable that he gave his nod to the portrayal of all the grey areas in his life – his infidelity, insensitivity, betrayal, insult, and humiliation is there for public consumption. The most important part is the admission of accepting money from a bookie – even if for a larger reason.
Tony has added some delicious moments in the film – look out for the fight with Manoj (Prabhakar) in the locker room; Ravi’s (Shastri) wife barging into the spa looking for her philandering husband; Navjyot (Sidhu) refusing to support Azhar and even Kapil (Dev) looking the other way.
Azharuddin, as we know him, was always a shy, awkward guy who didn't speak eloquently or display emotions openly. Emraan Hashmi gets the character perfect to the core – from the body language to the attitude. It's a credit to Emraan that you feel the pain of Azhar going from the most loved man to the most hated man in the country. There is a scene where Azhar is called for a ribbon cutting – Emraan’s act in that will make you cringe.
The conflict that Azhar feels before dating Sangeeta, whether real or aimed at whitewashing, is interesting and effective. As is Azhar's insistence of keeping his wives, parents and kids out of the court, despite abandoned by his friends and colleagues. There is something uniquely real about Naureen's character from her appearance to her dialogues. Prachi brings to life the dignity and charm of Azhar's former wife with her performance. The non-linear format of the film accentuates the impact. Rajat Arora’s dialogues add the necessary chutzpah to Azhar’s characte
What’s Good: The makers slap a huge warning towards the beginning, claiming it is not a biopic and that cinematic liberties have been taken on the story. Why good? Had it been a biopic, it would have been one of the most fickle attempts, shaming the cricketing legend too.
What’s Bad: A lengthy run-time, corny dialogues!