Lifestyle

Lahore (Web Desk) – In a country that survives on religion, films and cricket in that order, it is surprising that Emraan Hashmi-starrer Azhar will be the first biopic on a cricketer. The first trailer of Azhar, based on the life of former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, was launched late on Friday and is already a hit with more than a lac views on YouTube within 12 hours.

The first trailer of the film, starring Emraan Hashmi as Azhar is out, and as expected, the film will touch upon the various shocking aspects of Azhar life. The match fixing scandal is here, with Lara Dutta as angry lawyer hell-bent on labeling Azhar as a fixer. Secondly, his colorful love life is also touched upon – how his first marriage with Naureen (Prachi Desai) broke up because of his affair (and later, marriage to) with actress Sangeeta Bijlani (Nargis Fakhri), who is welcomed in the trailer with the iconic Oye Oye from Tridev (Sangeeta was in that song, remember?).

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The two-and-a-half minute video opens with Lara Dutta’s voice (who plays a public prosecutor in the movie) as she accuses Azhar (played by Emraan) of resorting to match-fixing when he realised his days in the game were almost over. For nearly 30 seconds all we hear are allegations against the cricketer who was implicated in a match fixing scandal in 2000 and was banned for life even as a montage of images from both on and off the field is thrown at the viewer. This builds up the pace for what’s in store – perhaps an honest take on what happened and how Azhar tackled the controversy, from his perspective. The well-paced rhythm of the voices and montage gives it a thriller like treatment, making the video edgy.

The trailer soon progresses from cricket to Azhar’s private life. Nargis Fakhri plays Sangeeta Bijlani while Prachi Desai plays Azhar’s first wife Naureen. While both actresses have perfected their respective looks for their roles, this part in the trailer is slightly off-the-mark with a confused mix of romantic walks and weird dialogue like ‘mehengi girlfriend, mehenge shauk, paisa to chahiye’.

However, the trailer ends with a master-stroke – Emraan’s voice says, “Logo ko pata chalna chahiye is desh mein cricket ke naam pe kya kya hota hai.” Perhaps Azharuddin’s thoughts when he decided to go all out and help Emraan train for the biopic. The film has had full support of the cricketer who even helped Emraan prepare for the role. That is also what increases our hopes.

You all must be aware of Azhar match fixing scandal but for those who have are unaware, here is a slight insight of the scandal. Mohammed Azharuddin was one of the most successful Indian cricket captains and had leaded Indian Cricket team for many tours. He was also one of the best known batsmen for his wrist-play. However, the first major betting and match fixing scandal that struck and spoilt the sanctity of the game in the mid-’90s (and also losing many fans, including my father, in the process) implicated him and a few others. Soon he was banned from playing cricket along with Hansie Cronje, Ajay Jadeja and others. So a film on him was definitely going to raise a lot of eyebrows.

Azharuddin led the Indian cricket team for most of the 1990s. He was implicated in a match-fixing scandal in 2000, and banned for life. But later in 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the ban.

Directed by Tony D’Souza and produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and MSM Motion Pictures, Azhar is slated for a worldwide release on May 13, 2016.