There are always three sides to a story, your side, the other side and the truth. In a country like India, where sycophancy is the order of the day, our biographical films tend to be mostly works of hagiography. Then there is a need to add a love story even though it may be a fictional like one in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Azhar starts with a disclaimer to the film saying this is not related to real life and is a fictionalized account. Why bother buying rights from the person in the first place then?
There is a scene in Azhar, similar to the recently released Fan, where in a star has to undergo humiliation due to smug rich men, who had hired their services.
In this scene, Azhar now disgraced and fighting his court battle is asked by his lawyer to inaugurate a gym, in order to remain in the public eye. We see the fall of a hero, to that of a salesman. It is a sad truth of every celebrity in the world, we all want them in our lives, but according to what we view them and not understand them as human beings or treat them as equals. We want to know their dirt, the mighty fall and how they have made fools of themselves. Most of us judge celebrities based on our superficial understanding of our views and prejudices.
Azhar as a film is exactly guilty of doing that, it acts like your next door aunty who is interested in all the gossip, here it is Azhar’s two marriages and match fixing issue. The film is a lazy attempt and does not even pretend to give us anything to chew about Azhar.
I am surprised the amount of screen time characters modeled on Ravi Shastri and Manoj Prabhakar’s have over here, which is more than what the two heroines have in the whole film. By the end of first half we come to know that Ravi was a Casanova and about Azhar nothing much.
The two love stories have their moments, the first one especially plays to the gallery of Emraan fans (Read Itni Si Baat song), while the second love story is marred by Nargis Fakhri’s acting skills which is like the acche din our PM promised, an illusion.In fact, it is the perfect meta casting of this year, Azhar (Emraan) calls Sangeeta (Nagris) a non-actor in the film. In another hara-kiri, the makers have massacred Oye Oye song mercilessly, which does not add any value to the film.
The major problem with Azhar is its shoddy screenplay and insipid dialogues, Rajat Aroraa needs to stop having punch dialogues in regular conversations, it does not add value to the film and makes the character appear cocky and a jerk. The two women in Azhar’s life hardly have anything substantial, we do not know their background and or what they are, what they think or how the controversy affects them.
The major disappointment is the lead character’s story arc, if the makers did not want to rock the boat they could have focused on Azhar’s rise to Indian team which it does not. There is hardly any cricket in the film, and mind you this is coming from a person like me who last watched cricket in 1997 and hence should ring a danger bell to you.
There is a scene where Azhar speaks to his wife about his insecurities, we do not see any such scenes in the film barring one or two. It is ridiculous to have a film on sports and it does not show one single scene depicting bonding between team members, most of them are reduced to caricatures in this film. If they have cast Emraan in the lead role who does not have any resemblance to Azhar, then why do supporting actors have to look like other real players?
Azhar ends up a as a film which neither bores you but does not keep you invested in it also. It also fails as a propaganda film, it looks like the attempt of the makers was to whitewash the protagonist’s image, which they do in the third act by giving us the most ridiculous explanation possible.
In the end we do not know anything more about Azhar than we already know, the complete blame for this lies on the director Anthony D’ Souza, who let’s face it should not have been allowed to enter any movie sets after the debacle called Blue.He lacks the style or grace of a story teller, which was required to tell the story of a flamboyant hero’s rise and his disgrace.
Emraan Hashmi does not physically resemble like Azhar, but he does not disappoint. He carries the film on his shoulders, he gets the walk right and diction too. He lifts up the bad screenplay to make it an average film, especially in a film where he does not get any support from other actors. He is letdown once again by a mediocre director, as I feel that given the right script and right director Emraan can do wonders.