Just saw Iqbal today. And loved it. Just loved it.
I walked in slightly skeptical – simply because NO Bollywood movie based on a sport has come even close to being impressive. (The last Hollywood flick involving a sport I’d seen was The Longest Yard and I thought it was really good).
The emotions, the dreams of a simple village boy are captured very beautifully indeed. Each character (there are very few of them, thus ensuring that the story doesn’t stray one bit) is very consistent, the acting is just appropriate. The relationships of the protagonist with his family and coach are depicted each with a distinctiveness of its own. Once again this year after Black, we have a winner where the central character doesn’t speak a word in the entire movie (okay, granted that Rani M did have a background narrative going in Black).
And the visuals. Ah, what pleasure. The cricket seems real, Iqbal’s bowling action is a visual treat (move over Shane Bond!) and the Ranji selections and matches seem really…well…real. The final scene with our hero walking out in Indian colours is one helluva heart-warmer.
Naseeruddin Shah’s performance makes you wonder why is this actor not seen more on the screen. Or maybe he gets offered a lot of stuff but turns it down – yep, that seems to make more sense. While on Naseer, it was in one of his earlier movies that I really enjoyed watching some cricket action. Way back in the 80s, he and Satish Shah had everyone in splits in Malamaal (Sunil Gavaskar actually descended to the ground in a chopper – would you believe it??)
Now I’m feeling like a real big loser – I can’t believe I haven’t seen any of Nagesh Kukunoor’s earlier movies. (Not only Kukunoor, I am pretty much a loser in this department – more on that later)!!