Tony D’Souza’s Azhar is neither a biopic nor fictional. The film does have lofty ambitions or rather agenda though – set the record straight for Azhar. To be fair to the wishful thinking that somehow materialized into a full-length feature film, it is an unintentional deconstruction of disgrace at best.
Maybe it is a cultural thing…not coming to terms with the fact that a mistake is a mistake. Forget about showing some semblance of remorse. The best explanation one can arrive is that Mohammad Azharuddin still thinks that he still can set things right. But why would you want to after so many years? And that too with a ridiculous justification mentioned towards the end of the film.
At the very start of the film, we are told that this is not a biopic and then the statutory warning that the film or the characters have nothing to do with incidents or people dead or alive. Then why the film, one may ask.
A disgraced former Indian captain is a disgraced former Indian captain. That’s all there to it. Not to mention the worst thing that happened after the sting operation and the CBI investigation that followed. The man at the centre of controversy stated that he was targeted because he belonged to a minority community. With the mountain of evidence, confessions, etc., Azhar escaped the BCCI ban on a mere technicality. Later, he contested election from Moradabad, UP and won the seat. He merely followed a career path of your garden variety politician – the one with a criminal past trying his hands at power.
There had been heated debates about the film, but the fact that angers a cricket fan from the pre-2000 era is the justification for the actions. It could be the emotional investment we had in cricket because before God came on the scene, there was Azhar. The Azhar of silken wrists and grace. Even after God burst on to the scene, Azhar was the best!
The film does provide some insight into how the shy boy from Hyderabad went onto become the captain at a time when Indian cricket was in dire straits. But all those scenes are milked for the ludicrous payoff at the end.
Emraan Hashmi is really good as Azhar though these men have absolutely nothing in common to start with. Surprise of surprises, Nargis Fakhri isn’t all that bad at Azhar’s second wife (no pun intended).
We are emotional cricket fans. Come the next ODI series, our Gods will either remain Gods or villains depending on the situation. We have mood swings. Strong likes and dislikes.
Our fixers never got the quantum of punishment that was due. Unlike a Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt or Mohammad Asif jailed in the United Kingdom by an ICC committee investigating match fixing.
Maybe corruption is seen as a way of life in the subcontinent. Will it ever change?