- 1 / 2
DIRECTOR: Tony D'Souza
STARRING: Emraan Hashmi, Nargis Fakhri, Prachi Desai, Lara Dutta, Kunal Roy Kapur
RATING: 2 stars
Azhar starts with a five-page long disclaimer that clarifies that the film is only inspired by life events of the legendary cricketer, hence a few things have been tweaked and the makers don’t mean it: like Sangeeta Bijlani was the biggest heroine back in the day and the fact that Nargis Fakri can act.
The disclaimer also sounds like a polite warning, "Hey, we will talk about Azhar’s life, touch upon his life’s controversies, but not drop many names, come very close to the closet, but shut it the moment skeletons start tumbling out", the kind of stuff that’s severely reserved for a popular show called Naughty Sexy Bitchy, also known as Koffee Karan Ki.
Azhar’s life is so difficult that it makes ‘No WiFi’ first world problems look like real tragedies. Yes, it is very difficult to be paid a bomb to cut a ribbon at a gym and be asked to pose with a bat. Aww. It’s heartbreaking to be torn between two hotties and not be able to make up your mind. It indeed is so tragic when life throws billions at you and you have to be all righteous, say no and give Anna Hazare a complex of his life.
Righteous. That’s the word.
The film justifies everything Azhar bhai and people around him do. Azhar bhai is so righteous that he can never be involved in match fixing. Azhar bhai is so righteous that he would never cheat on his wife. Even if he does, he will be so guilty about it. Azhar bhai is so righteous that he would not even skip the ad that plays before his favourite adult video on YouTube. Okay that’s not entirely true, I admit. Azhar bhai doesn’t watch adult videos.
There are no shades of grey. The ‘vices’ are so ‘badly’ justified and explained that it hurts. Sangeeta has two strict rules in life: never date a cricketer or a married man. Cut two, she is cosying up to Azhar, both married and a cricketer. Woah, irony just hit her like a bolt!! There is hardly any build-up in their love story: no chemistry, no passion, no infatuation. There is only one thing --- brochure of a romantic song, ticking all the locations in a foreign land.
I will give it to the writers that they do manage to maintain a certain amount of curiosity around Azhar’s involvement in the match-fixing case, but the way he is awarded a character certificate every third minute of the film, it’s an easy guess he would come out clean towards the end of the film.
Even the narrative of the film is unnecessarily patchy. It keeps shifting from the '80s to '90s and early 2000s with hardly any difference in the way characters or places look. It leaves you a bit confused and you are not quite sure if it’s a flashback or the present time.
The film is a simplistic, he-didn’t-do-anything-wrong take on the cricketer. It never delves into grey areas, no character build-up, no introspection, no redemption. Even the matches lack the nail-biting excitement.
The lead starcast doesn’t leave any great impression; however, Lara Dutta and Kunal Roy Kapur as supporting starcast look earnest and deliver decent performances.
Azhar could have been bad-ass, controversial, exciting, masaledaar… alas the simplistic safe treatment leaves it pretty bland.
THE RATINGS MEAN:
5 stars: Loved it. (This could make to top ten movies you must watch before you die!)
4 stars: Liked it. Recommend it. (This will help you sound intellectual and give you stuff to add at water cooler conversations.)
3 stars: Didn’t hurt. Watch it once.
2 stars: It put me to sleep. Watch it if you are an insomniac or a newly wedded couple. Winks!
1 star: Do I even need to explain this?