One line Review: Azhar narrates the controversial tale of a fallen hero, depicting the shades of his personal and professional life.
Positive Points: The movie is engrossing and gripping from the point it started to where it ended. The film featured powerful dialogues and has no dull moments. Emraan Hashmi’s honest and sincere performance holds the film together. The movie slips into the present and goes into flashbacks quite smoothly.
Negative Points: The disclaimer in the beginning of the film states that the movie is not a biopic and has been filmed with cinematic liberties for entertainment purposes. That was a major disappointing aspect as it sidelined the viewer’s expectations of the film being based on the former cricket captain’s life and is a biopic. Except for Gautam Gulati, the side actors that are shown as Azhar’s team players do not put up a justifiable act.
Plot: The film revolves around the controversial life of Azhar (Emraan Hashmi). It all begins when a young boy was encouraged by his Nanaji to become a cricketer and play for India. Soon, Azhar grows up as a fine cricketer with excellent skills that made the country proud. As his performance improved, Azhar was named as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team. The movie quickly comes to the point and Azhar finds himself in a match fixing scandal. He decides to fight back and challenge the life cricket ban which was imposed on him by the cricket association at the court. His childhood friend Reddy (Kunaal Roy Kapur) becomes his lawyer, while Meera (Lara Dutta), an intelligent and sharp lawyer takes over the case as his opposition.
In the flashback, when Azhar was on a high point of his career and doing well for himself and the country, his parents decide to get him married. Azhar meets Naureen (Prachi Desai) in an arrange marriage set up and soon ties the sacred knot.
The story further unfolds when Azhar is on a cricket tour to London, where he meets the popular Bollywood actress Sangeeta (Nargis Fakhri) in an unplanned setting. Soon, the duo fall for each other and start dating. The film majorly talks about the controversial case and has several court room scenes as the battle runs for 8 long years.
Direction and other Technical Aspects: Director Tony D'souza has done fair justice when it comes to direction. The movie is shot aptly, some scenes are brilliantly filmed and, the beauty of the exotic locales in the songs is captured well. Certain dialogues in the film are hard hitting and make you ponder for a while. But, at the end, it feels like the whole purpose of the film is to show Azhar in a good light and justify all his acts and all his controversies be it his second marriage or the match fixing scandal. Overall the film is interesting and intriguing. Also, the run time is ideal.
Performances: Emraan Hashmi is the soul of the movie. He performs exceptionally well and carves out the personality of the cricketer skilfully. The actor impresses as he portrays every emotion with perfection. He has left behind his serial kisser tag and, is challenging himself as a performer with every role.
Prachi Desai as Naureen, Azhar’s first wife, is perfect for the role. Her girl-next-door aura helps to justify the character. She has less screen space and dialogues but, with her on point expressions, the actress makes her presence felt.
Nargis Fakhri does an average job. Her weak dialogue delivery and performing skills prove as a hindrance in the otherwise involving storyline.
Kunaal Roy Kapur has managed to pull off his quirky role aptly. He effectively brings in humour elements in the movie.
Gautam Gulati essays his part well. He has very less screen space and dialogues.
Lara Dutta as a smart lawyer Meera is good.
Final Verdict: The movie earns 3 out of 5 stars. The sports film has for you an interesting premise, exceptional performance by Emraan Hashmi and a controversial tale with an emotional touch that features romance, drama, and cricket!
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