Movie Review: ‘Azhar’ by Neha Ravindran 

Movie: Azhar

Director: Tony D’Souza

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Lara Dutta, Nargis Fakri

Genre: Biopic

Mohammad Azhruddin was a man who created history. Young boy from Hyderabad, he went onto create a record of triple centuries in his first three matches itself. He goes on to become the captain of the Indian cricket team, leading the team to win three world cups under his captaincy. He then went on to be painted in controversies of alleged extra marital affairs and match fixing resulting in a lifetime cricket ban. This movie is the inside story of cricketing legend Mohammad Azhruddin’s life.

Azhar (Emraan Hashmi) is a well known cricket star in India. He wants to fulfil his grandfather’s dream of playing 100 test matches. His wife of 8 years Naureen (Prachi Desai) is his pillar of strength and support. But stardom and fame always comes at a cost- a price to be paid for being in the limelight. Azhar is accused of match fixing and is banned from playing for India. He then falls for a Bollywood actress Sangeeta (Nargis Fakri) and goes on to have a steamy affair with her. For almost 8 years Azhar’s life is stuck in a flux personally and professionally. Will he be able to defend himself for selling his religion (cricket) or will he lose it all?

Azhar is a biography and revelation of inside stories that may put to rest several questions Azhruddin’s fans might have had all these years. Emraan Hashmi is charming as young Azhar. He has captured the cricketer’s mannerisms and gestures quite perfectly. It was welcoming to see Prachi Desai back on the ssilver screen. She essay’s the role of Azhar’s first wife Naureen. Prachi was a delight to watch in this movie. Her performance has beautifully mirrored the changing phases of Azhar and Naureen’s marriage. Though, she has been repeatedly casted as the lover or the docile wife without opportunities to explore other facets of her as an actor. Well, I am hopeful that after this movie, Prachi will get more challenging offers. Lara Dutta is splendid as the defense lawyer. Though it is not a meaty role, she manages to play beautifully with what is laden out to her. Kunaal Roy Kapur is infuses humour through his character’s antics and personality. The weakest link in the movie is Nargis Fakri. There are times, when it’s virtually impossible to make out her expressions.

The first half of the movie is its high point; the second half keeps sliding down till the climax which is the only high in the second half. The portion around Azhar’s affair with Sangeeta is shot clumsily possibly to avoid controversy, but in effect it ruins the second half. The constant true and fro to flash backs is also a little tiring considering the movie’s running time is nearly 3 hours. Songs by Amaal Malik and Pritam is soulful and beautiful.

Azhar is a decent watch! For all Azhruddin fans, this movie will be an answer to many unanswered questions.

My verdict: ***



First Look: Trailer For ‘Ek Thi Dayan’

day12The first trailer of Ek Thi Daayan has been released online by Balaji Motion Pictures. Directed by Kannan Iyer, the film has an impressive star cast including actors like Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi in the leads.

Playing the role of some kind of magic artist actor Emraan Hashmi is shown drawing sketches on his board and it appears that it has some connection with the witches depicted in the film. Produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj this movie scheduled for release in April later this year.

Movie Review : ‘Raaz 3’ (*One Star)

(By Akshat Sharma) ‘Raaz 3’ is the third instalment of  Vikram Bhatt’s  fear factory called ‘Raaz Series’. As usual you have apna ‘Serial Kisser’ Emraan Hashmi who knows what it takes to be a star in Bhatt films.  To give him company there are two dusky sirens Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta. Cast complete. For screenplay the producer-director outline a series of skin show, some steamy kisses and sprinkle it with songs in between. They also have a not so friendly ‘Aatma’ who seems to have taken classes from Hollywood’s professional zombies.

It is a kind of a movie where to have a brain in your head becomes a sin. The movie opens with an award function where Shanaya (played by Bipasha Basu) expects the best female actor award to come her way but surprise ! The award goes to a newbie Sanjana (played by Esha Gupta ) and the award is given by director  Aditya (played by Emraan Hashmi). The effect of  this rude shock is almost immediate. Shanaya suddenly finds one of her old hands waiting at the end of the red carpet. He takes her to someone who is a living evil Aatma! Yes you are right an ‘Aatma’ trapped in a corpse like human body. He introduces her to ‘Kaali Vidya’ and lo she gets some kind of ‘water’ which Aditya is supposed to inject into Esha’s body.

Aditya  is a poor Bollywood director who wants to have the best of both the worlds. Shanaya knows him too well and one sex session in bed he becomes docile. He starts doing exactly what Shanaya wants him to do. Bechara Hashmi is caught in eternal dilemma. On the one hand he wants to be honest to Sanjana but on the other hand he also cannot forget Shanaya’s contribution in pushing his career graph higher.

After consuming few shots of that ‘water’ which was discreetly given to her by Aditya, Sanjana loses her sanity and starts behaving like what you call in Haryanwi, a ‘Baawali Gaend’. Aditya is full of remorse when he sees her mental condition. One fine evening when Sanjana was scared and crying, Aditya in true Hashmi style silenced her with a lip smacking smooch! Phir kya tha, Kahani me twist and the tables are turned. Aditya stops playing into the hands of Shanaya and the drama  in the story enters into ‘Aatmoan Ki Duniya’.

Dialogues in the movie also turn irrational to keep up with the feverish pitch of the movie. Sample some of them: “If you love me you can be stupid” and “You are fucking, aren’t you! Ab jab tum chahe use paani de sakte ho!” The subsequent events lead the movie to a morgue where Aditya fights with ‘Buri Aaatma’ for Sanjana. Shanya knows she has lost everything in this battle so no point living a failed life. She commits suicide, khanai khatam..

Coming to the performance department I must admit Bipasha Basu has played her part with conviction. She knew her role was silly but even then she has managed to put up a good show. Esha Gupta looks wooden. The only thing she is comfortable doing is stripping out of her clothes and flaunting her assets. Emraan Hashmi is the king of erotic thrillers and the role is simply a cakewalk for him.

As a horror movie ‘Raaz 3’ is not even your average stuff. Directed by Vikram Bhatt, ‘ Raaz 3’  fails to send shivers down your spine. The director did not even match his own standards set in ‘Haunted’ last year. ‘Haunted’ was a much better movie than ‘Raaz 3’. His latest offering lacks in almost all department. The only bright spot in the movie is Bipasha Basu  and if we leave her aside the film is nothing but a farce in the name of fear.

(Akshat Sharma can be followed on Twitter. His twitter handle is @akshatsharma101)

Movie Review: ‘Shanghai’ (**** Four Star)

 (By Akshat Sharma) Rarely do we find Bollywood taking a plunge into complex issues like politics. Dibakar Bannerjee with his latest offering ‘Shanghai’ shows the guts, instincts and skill as he decides to venture into the world of politics. ‘Shanghai’ is not a mellowed down depiction of  some political event that happens in the background but it is a hard hitting gut wrenching political thriller. Supported well by a battery of fine actors ‘Shanghai’ has catapulted Dibakar Bannerjee into a league of his own.

The story begins with Dr. Ahmadi (Prosenjit Chatterji) who meets an accident and the events that follow whip up emotions and passion in a town aptly named ‘Bharatnagar’  The residents this town are living in a promised land which has presence of the IBP (India Bane Pardes/ International Business Park) project that provide hope to people. The real face of this town is scarred by ‘Dengue and Malaria’ which represents the grotesque reality.

When Shalini played by Kalki Koechlin makes an entry on screen she dazzles audiences with her performance. She looks real as passionate person who can kiss and fight in the same vein.  Kalki is matched by Emraan Hashmi who plays the character named Jogi. He looks so convincing in this role that we refuse to believe that only thing to his credit till date is the tag of ‘Serial Kisser.

But the best performance comes from Abhay Deol who plays the role of an IAS Officer. Like a man character he stands firm on his ground and even in the politically charged world of Bharatnagar he is not willing to succumb to pressures and pulls. Abhay Deol’s stellar performance is the high point of this movie.

‘Shanghai’ is not a totally dark movie as it offers a glimmer of hope. The world may be corrupt and harsh realities may dampen the spirits of most enthusiastic people but in the end what matters is the strength of your character. It is amazing to find mainstream actors showing confidence in movies like this and they have certainly come up with a fantastic film.

Do not miss the movie if you believe that cinema is not only about dancing and silly entertainment.

Movie Review: ‘Jannat 2’ (**Two Star)

‘Jannat 2’ is a movie seems to be inspired from the Nicolas Cage’s ‘Lord of War’. A typical Bollywood masala story ‘Jannat 2’ does not evoke much response among the audience.  Based on the issue of arms trafficking the movie revolves around Emraan Hashmi who is a small time gun dealer.

He takes pride in being called Sonu Dilli KKC (Kutti Kamini Cheez!) and his only objective in life is to make the life of killers easy. He had it easy unless he finds ACP Pratap (Randeep Hooda) who is passionate to fight the arm dealers operating in his area. Sonu becomes a police informer after a close encounter with the ACP.

When pushed into the inner circles of the arms trafficking Sonu is asked by the Police to uncover the real faces behind the illicit trade. While doing all this  Sonu finds Jahnvi (Esha Gupta), a doctor who works at a government hospital.  The plot then takes a turn and Sonu strikes a deal with the police which could be mutually beneficiary to both the parties.

The narrative of the movie is predictable but thanks to some good work by the director and his team the movie does not fall apart. It would have been better if  director Kunal Dehsmukh had paid greater attention to spice up the thrilling moments in the movie rather than working aimlessly on elaborating the romantic content in the script

Emraan Hashmi has successfully addressed his constituency by doing what he is expected to do. He plays the role of a brat in his own style but he does not sound like a typical Dilli da Munda. The surprise package in the movie is actor Randeep Hooda’s commendable performance. He is one actor who is growing with his every single release. He has immense potential as an actor and very few directors in Tinsel Town have realised it.

Esha Gupta has not much to do in the movie. She looks glamorous on screen and that is the end of her contribution in the movie. The music in the movie has been highly appreciated by the critics and fans but its the background score which needs a special mention.

In short  Jannat 2 is not a bad film but it is also not a movie which you cannot afford to miss. Watch it only if you do not have anything else to do.

When Emraan went incognito on ‘Shanghai’ sets

Mumbai: (IANS) Actor Emraan Hashmi underwent complete makeover for Dibakar Banerjee`s `Shanghai` and the impact was such that actor went unrecognised. “Emraan has a huge fan following. Whenever he comes, people call out his name. Surprisingly no one recognised him (during the shoot of `Shanghai`) because Emraan sported a small paunch and buck tooth too,” Banerjee said in a statement.

“Shanghai” is a political thriller, which also features Abhay Deol and Kalki Koechlin. Of Emraan`s character, Banerjee said: “Emraan plays a small town guy, a street smart character.” “He is always on the lookout to make money and once in a while does sidey night shoots. If he sees a girl, he will sweet talk her into getting a photo shoot done. Actually, he is a very lovable character with tremendous depth.”

The film will release June 8.Check out Emraan Hashmi’s new look in ‘Shanghai’

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