Azhar is clearly made as an attempt at redemption for the tainted cricketer and India's ex-captain Mohammad Azharuddin. Unfortunately, you walk out of the theatre with no emotions, no sympathy, except for remorse at having wasted another two hours of your life on a strictly mediocre film.
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. 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. The Emraan Hashmi charm mixed with shy Azharuddin mannerism makes it a heady cocktail. You wouldn’t want to put it down without giving it a try.
As a work of fan-fiction, Azhar is a mostly watchable film with a solid lead, but falls far short of being either entertaining, insightful, or worthy of recommendation. Hashmi and D'Souza try hard, and their effort shows. I just wish I could have said the boys played well.
Emraan Hashmi, usually so watchable, is buried under the inept script. This could have been a great cautionary tale about a great sport at a time when it was just becoming the arena it has grown into—full of big money and glamour, bigger endorsements and never-ending temptations : it is, instead, an inept ‘tamasha’, not very different from the stuff Bollywood churns out, the cricket just the superstructure for tired song-and-dance and melodrama, in living rooms and court-rooms. Nope, this ‘Azhar’ doesn’t hit it out of the stadium.
AZHAR is a highly engaging piece of cinema that grips you completely and keeps you guessing. The story telling is objective as it shows both sides of the coin. You are simultaneously treated to the arguments for and against the verdict on Azhar's personal and public upheavals. You are also made to come across a fiercely hungry actor in Emraan Hashmi who simply grabs you by your eyeballs and compels you to witness his masterful knock! AZHAR is a superlative watching experience. Don't miss it for anything!