Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Iqbal

I wish there was a way to make sport-centered movies less predictable. That is probably the only flaw in this simple, rural, heart warming tale of a deaf & dumb boy who dreams of making it to the Indian cricket team.

Nagesh Kukonoor, (he later on made Dor), once again weaves his magic and transports us to a small village in south india, where Iqbal spends his time amongst his buffaloes, all named after his favourite bowlers, practising cricket and trying to find his guruji. Girish Karnad takes him under his wing for a while but later caves in to star-power / deal making / richer students and throws him out. Iqbal now turns to the village drunk, Naseerudin Shah, an ex-cricketeer and finally persuades him to become his coach. What happens next ? Will he make it, will he fulfil his dreams ? What do you think ?

There are only two sports movies I can recall which gripped me from start to end – one was Tara Rum Pum and the other was Chain Kulli ki.

No…just kidding of course, they’re both disasters….one was Lagaan and the other was Remember the Titans (starring Denzel Washington, I seriously recommend this relatively unknown film). Both revolved around sport (cricket and American Football respectively) but dealt with much bigger issues (the British Rule and the Black-White racial relations respectively). The sport, while important and central, becomes a means and not an end – it therefore keeps the suspense going as there is a plot bigger than the sport itself.

Iqbal features two brilliant performances – one by Shreyas Talpade in the lead role. He has a blank face that becomes the perfect canvas for the array of emotions and feelings that pass through his character’s mind. He is endearing, spontaneous, persistent, frustrated, kiddish, mature all almost at once. The other is by Shweta Joshi, who plays his sister and main source of communication to the outside world. She doesn’t have that much screen time but is outstanding in her matter–of–fact, yet emotive delivery. Prateeksha Lonkar and Yatin Karyekar deliver very solid, real performances as the parents, often at war amongst themsleves, Naseeruddin Shah plays a nice cameo as the drunk/coach, while Girish Karnad makes us hate him as the wheeling dealing coach – proof of his good performance.

There is a beauty in the movie, there is a lesson, there is emotion and simplicity. In some ways, I think this is more inspiring than Guru – you can see the effort that goes into making his dreams a reality, the disappointments, the frustrations that have to be taken in one’s stride. I only wish there was a way to make it less predictable – I have no ideas, no suggestions to offer, but that would have truly been the icing on this otherwise very lovely cake !

8 comments:

Monica Teredesai said...

Loved Iqbal. Acting was superb all around.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favourite movies and loved your review...but bhaiya i think the ending would be 99% the same and predictable for most of the movies based on this concept, what i think is that the treatment matters and the treatment given to a movie like iqbal was amazing. Now you are going to see one more sport based movie soon.... just that it deals with the Women hockey team....... i am talking about Chak De india and we hope the treatment given to it turns out to be good.... although it would have a predictable ending.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favourite movies and loved your review...but bhaiya i think the ending would be 99% the same and predictable for most of the movies based on this concept, what i think is that the treatment matters and the treatment given to a movie like iqbal was amazing. Now you are going to see one more sport based movie soon.... just that it deals with the Women hockey team....... i am talking about Chak De india and we hope the treatment given to it turns out to be good.... although it would have a predictable ending.

Karan

Abhijit said...

iqbal- the movie was great, the music was nice too, no unnecessary dhing-chak.. yea i thought the sisters role was well performed. Predictable- yes, but i dont mind, as long as its made well. The lead guy (im pathetic with names) did well in dor as well as tht behroopia. so,hes a good actor, it isnt some fluke. naseerudin shah ws pretty good.. hmm but yea u have raised a good question...how does one avoid making it predictable..i have no clue... if i think of something ill mail...lol..nice review.

Arun said...

Loved this movie.... Acting in the lead role was superb and the part where he hides and watches the rich kids train brought happy-sad tears to my eyes.

Motivates you to do something for the intelligent and talented people in our country.

Rohit said...

This was like all small town/rags to fame story. Dunno why people liked it. The matches were kind of insipid but at least this was not a typical Bollywood movie. The acting was good but it does test your patience with a long forgotten big cricketer who is a drunk/bum now and is still a really good coach.

Too much feel good stuff.

ravi said...

Hi

I loved the movie specifically for its simplicity...and hope.Rare to find in indian cinema till sometime ago. Wud recommend that a couple of sports centric movies - "Any given sunday"&"Tin Cup".

Ravi

ravi said...

Hi

I loved the movie specifically for its simplicity...and hope.Rare to find in indian cinema till sometime ago. Wud recommend that a couple of sports centric movies - "Any given sunday"&"Tin Cup".

Ravi