A disclaimer at the start says that it is not a biopic on the life of one of the most celebrated and controversial Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin (Emraan). Though the initial screen is filled with disclaimers about it being an imaginary film the characters in the movie relates you to the old cricket stars instantly like Ravi Shastri, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manoj Prabhakar and Kapil Dev.
The movie is a biographical sports drama film written by Rajat Arora and directed by Tony D'Souza. Tony D'Souza has depicted the larger than life image of Azhar well on the screen; Emraan Hashmi has put great effort in bringing the character to life on the screen, a crickter who had been followed by millions. His portrayal of Azhar is the best part of the movie as he does full justice to the brashness and flamboyant nature of Azhar. Azhar was an idol in the 80-90s. The film traces the rise of a prodigy born into a modest Muslim household in Hyderabad. The rise of a cricketer from humble Muslim family to being admired by the whole nation is depicted well. His personal life where he stays away from his first wife Naureen (Prachi Desai) to sexy Sangeeta Bijlani (Nargis Fakhri) is shown without inhibitions.
It is interesting to see how his fellow cricketers, who patronize him initially, later resent his rise as the Indian captain. Finally, his career was threatened by a match-fixing allegation that forces him to take legal recourse. His desire to play a hundred tests remains a pipe dream because he is banned after his 99th.
Despite having all the ‘masala’ of rise of a star, extra-marital affair and controversial end to a beaming career, the movie seems to be stretched at times. The plot loosens the grip on you however Lara Dutta playing a fierce lawyer brings back the audience. Lara has done a commendable job of depicting a fan fighting against her idol. Moreover, Emraan bears no physical resemblance to Azharruddin. However his mannerisms—the blinking of his eyes and swagger add to a knockout performance.
Azhar’s relation with other cricketers is just shown in a passing; the movie seems like trying to salvage the cricket’s image in the end. Overall if you are a die-hard fan of cricket of 90’s you can go as a tribute to sport otherwise the movie does not provide anything new to watch.
The film was released worldwide on 13th May. Despite mixed reviews, Emraan Hashmi's Azhar box office collection has clocked Rs 20.80 crore in its opening weekend.