Film Hindi Review

Azhar

Classically, the drama surrounding the rise and fall of a hero is the bone of every story. The drama is encapsulated best by tracing the relationship between the hero his admirers – both inside and outside the narrative. It is this graph that provides meat to any story.

Who is a hero? Simply speaking, it’s a person who is admired
By that definition, then, what makes a hero? The cliché is true; it is the fan makes the hero.

And it is the fan who breaks him.

Classically, the drama surrounding the rise and fall of a hero is the bone of every story. The drama is encapsulated best by tracing the relationship between the hero his admirers – both inside and outside the narrative. It is this graph that provides meat to any story.

Azhar was a hero to millions of cricket fans. A hero to the eighties generation – me included – who saw his rise as India’s greatest batsman before the handover to Sachin Tendulkar.

Post Gundappa Vishwanath, we finally found an Indian cricketer of whom we could wax eloquent about when talking about grace on field. I distinctly remember “changing my stance”, adopting the more open, wider version that Azhar used when he made a thumping comeback to the Indian side. Even in gully cricket, we followed what he did. At his best, Azhar was sublime in his strokeplay. We are a country trained to believe that it is only hard work that pays. To see the casual nonchalance of his shots, the lazy dismissal of the best bowlers to the ropes, was to see defiance personified.

A modest lad from Hyderabad stood at the pinnacle of a billion people’s hopes and beliefs. That was Azhar. That was our hero. That’s what we made of him.

The film captures none of this. It fails to understand the most essential element of showing the story of a hero. It eliminates the admirers completely. We never see Azhar from our point of view – ‘our’ being both the fans in the film and the fans watching the film. The story is completely from Azhar’s point of view. And it only serves to show that in this narrative, only Azhar thinks he is the hero, responsible for his own rise.

That makes for a lop-sided story, and one that you cannot invest in emotionally. To worsen the matter, it is a tacky production, a school play version instead of a 70mm film, complete with one dimensional production values, amateurish performances, and bombastic dialogues in extreme close-ups, narrated right at ya.

What a criminal waste of a great story the film is! The real life Azhar is not a hero off the field; he is like any other person finding his way in the world, making mistakes, often paying for them. But the moment he steps on the field, there is an aura. The film makes no such distinctions, and loses on an opportunity to show the incredible moments that he must have lived through – the highs of being a champion cricketer, and the lows of being subjected to a media trial and a real one, like a common thief.

If the “Bollywood” treatment of such wonderful source material is unforgivable, the factual analysis of what really happened with the match-fixing episode is blasphemous. Subverting facts with flights of fantasy, the makers of the film have mangled what really happened to a simplistic twist in the tale, revealed last minute in a court room. One of the most momentous chapters in Indian and world cricket is reduced to a cheap, two-penny film trick.

I stand jury to this awful film, condemn Bollywood for destroying a true legend, and demand that they give us back our hero.

Score10%

Hindi, Drama, Sports, Color

Leave a Comment