Was one of India’s finest batsmen and successful skippers guilty of throwing matches for money? Or was Mohammad Azharuddin made a scapegoat?
Director Tony D’Souza’s film examines whether justice was served in the dark match fixing saga that exploded in Indian cricket at the turn of the millennium.
Azharuddin’s grandfather had prophesied the cricketer will play 100 Tests – a dream that was thwarted when he was banned after 99 Tests.
But the Azharuddin played by Emraan Hashmi indicates his hundredth Test played out inside the courtroom for eight years.
D’Souza and dialogue writer Rajat Aroraa want you to believe there is much more than the philandering, spendthrift image behind the famously introvert former skipper.
The version is over-dramaticised in stretches but the makers don’t deny any of the allegations, giving the scandal a spin that makes the film an interesting watch.
You meet flamboyant cricketers addressed only by their first names, watch them cracking dressing room jokes and hanky-panky near hotel pools.
The escapades of Ravi (Gautam Gulati), the most ‘colourful’ among them, reach his wife and she calms down only after the trustworthy captain’s assurance. Azhar makes friends but no one turns up when he needs them the most.
The tale of two wives unfolds simultaneously. Naureen (Prachi) never sees it coming and Sangeeta (Nargis) becomes Azhar’s second wife and the man claims to love them equally.
The assertive bookies and gold-laden gangsters spice things up in this 131-minute ride. Going back and forth in time makes the audience overlook the fictional feel of a stadium.