So, point number one sorted in the head! Despite the disclaimer suggesting that the film is just ‘a theatrical enactment’ of the various chapters of his life ‘for entertainment purpose’, we know how much of it draws from real-life happenings.
Emraan Hashmi as the collared-up ‘Azhar’ plays his innings well, in a decently researched and appropriately etched-out role. But had the screenplay been smooth as butter, this master stroke could have ended with a high-fly sixer!
Let’s come back to the plot. Prachi Desai plays Naureen, Azhar’s first wife—who is coy, and a typical Hyderabadi. She was seen after a long time, and did pull off her part well. We are taken inside the cricketer’s household where his family background and journey of becoming a record-setter batsman is narrated. He picked up the game on his maternal grandfather’s (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda) insistence. And it’s his words of wisdom (Tera balla bolega, to sab sunenge) which echo throughout the film and help Azhar sail past crisis.
Gautam Gulati has a brief presence, but his part ( reportedly a character resembling Ravi Shastri) will definitely make his fans happy and still take you back to his ‘Bigg Boss’ days as ‘mera naam mera naam hain Gauti’. He possibly can’t leave his flamboyance aside.
Azhar finds himself trapped in a match-fixing scandal. No one including the biggies from the then Indian cricket team stand up for him till the eleventh hour. His long run battle is finally culminated when his family comes to his rescue and a lawyer friend, here played by Kunaal Roy Kapur decides to turn the tables.
Then, the most controversial part, which made the headlines for the longest time is played by Nargis Fakhri. The actress has come a long way since her ‘Rockstar’ days, but still she has miles to cover.
She plays Bollywood actress Sangeeta Bijlani in the film, for whom Azhar falls and the rest is history. This movie produced by Balaji Motion Pictures does bring out the fact that although she was the second woman in his life but she did warn the skipper about how the people are going to criticise their relationship. That controversial and much-talked about episode in Azhar and Sangeeta’s lives has been presented in a positive light by filmmaker Tony D’Souza.
Okay, that’s enough said about the plot, and I know the audience shelling out money for an Emraan Hashmi film wants to know if there is a lip-lock in store. You won’t be disappointed is all I can say right now. But remember it’s not about your star but about an unsung cricket hero!
Lara Dutta plays a crisp and tough nut defence lawyer, who is impressive in her enactment but sadly loses in the end.
The ghost of match-fixing and the allegations run across the run-time, and what exactly a player goes through if he’s innocent is what ‘Azhar’ summarises. Go, watch it for the love of cricket!