Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tony D'Souza|
|Written by||Rajat Aroraa|
|Distributed by||White Hill Studio|
|Box office||est.₹56.8 crore|
Azhar is a 2016 Indian sports drama film directed by Tony D'Souza. The story is written by Rajat Arora and is inspired from the life of Indian cricketer and former national team captain Mohammad Azharuddin. The film is produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor for Sony Pictures Networks and features Emraan Hashmi in the titular role. Nargis Fakhri, Prachi Desai and Lara Dutta play crucial supporting roles. The sports action was done by Rob Miller of ReelSports. The film released worldwide on 13 May 2016. The film was a moderate success at the Box Office as it collected only 56.8 Crores gross against the budget of 35 Crores. The film also drew critics for its fictionalised interpretation of events.
The movie begins with Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin (Emraan Hashmi) scoring a century in his 99th test match, but he soon faces allegations of match-fixing as his name has been linked with a London based bookie M.K. Sharma aka Shaun (Rajesh Sharma). The Indian cricket board slaps a life-ban on him. Azhar decides to challenge the ban in court with the help of his lawyer friend Reddy (Kunaal Roy Kapoor).
The story shifts to 1963, when Azhar was born to a middle-class family in Hyderabad. His grandfather (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) dreamed of Azhar playing 100 tests for Team India and motivates a soft-spoken young Azhar to answer his rivals with his batting skills. Young Azhar goes for an Indian team selection match to Mumbai, where on the match day he receives the bad news of his grandfather's death. Nonetheless, he participates in the match, in accordance with his grandfather's last wish.
Azhar impresses the selectors, sealing his place in Team India and he soon becomes a national hero by scoring 3 consecutive centuries in his first 3 Test innings. Azhar soon marries Naureen (Prachi Desai) and they both begin a happy married life. After a loss against Pakistan in 1991, the President of Cricket Broad calls Azhar for a one-to-one meeting. Azhar initially fears getting dropped from the team, but is surprised when he is offered the position of team Captain. Some senior players like Manoj, Ravi and Navjot, resent Azhar's appointment as Captain, not wishing to take orders from a younger and less experienced player. But Kapil (Varun Badola) supports and encourages him to focus on his duty.
While playing in an India–Pakistan match, Javed taunts Azhar, telling Azhar his Muslim heritage would be a better fit for the Pakistan team. Azhar leads his team to victory and soon becomes a successful Captain. At the peak of his career, Azhar's personal life takes a twist when he meets a former Miss India, Bollywood actress Sangeeta (Nargis Fakhri) during an ad film shoot and instantaneously falls in love with her. Sangeeta cautions him that he is already married and to stay away from her, but Azhar is infatuated by her beauty and does not listen to her advice. They both begin dating but keep their relationship hidden, until it is exposed by a gossip magazine.
Azhar publicly announces his affair with Sangeeta. Heartbroken, Naureen asks him for a divorce and soon Azhar leaves her to marry Sangeeta. During a cricket match against the West Indies, Azhar gets in a spat with Manoj for a slow run rate in order to complete his century, letting the team lose. Manoj is dropped from the next match and Azhar leads the team to victory. Manoj is humiliated and vows to take revenge. In later years of his career, Azhar, famous for his expensive lifestyle, comes into the eyes of match-fixers. He is soon approached by a London-based bookie M.K Sharma, disguised as a diamond merchant, who later offers him 1 crore rupees to under play in a match against Sri Lanka, which Azhar hesitantly accepts.
In a parallel story, after the match-fixing scandal, Azhar is now facing nationwide criticism and a London-based prosecutor, Meera (Lara Dutta), is building up a strong case against him on the basis of sting operations done by Manoj on Ravi, Navjot and several other cricketers. She also uses the report of the inquiry commission set up by the Cricket Board and secretly meets the bookie M. K. Sharma to gather more evidence. Meera also approaches Naureen, asking her to serve as a witness, but she refuses. Meanwhile, Azhar and his lawyer Reddy are struggling to find any proof of innocence as none of his fellow cricketers are ready to help him out.
Azhar attends a gym-opening ceremony to gain back his old fame in public, but is left insulted by the owner himself. After a long, eight-year legal fight, Reddy finally makes a breakthrough by proving in court that the inquiry commission report is biased, as they were paid by Cricket Board itself. Reddy even challenges the authenticity of sting operation tapes as none of the witness was under oath and hence can not be treated as truth. Later, Azhar also reveals that he took 1 crore rupees from the bookie to keep him away from other team members but later scored a match winning innings and returned all the money to the bookie.
On the final day of judgement, both Naureen and Sangeeta attend the court hearing, showing their support for Azhar. Kapil also states in a television interview that he believes Azhar is innocent. In its final verdict, the court lifts the India cricket board ban imposed on Azhar.
- Emraan Hashmi as Mohammad Azharuddin/Azhar
- Nargis Fakhri as Sangeeta Bijlani, the second wife of Azharuddin
- Prachi Desai as Naureen Azharuddin, the first wife of Azharuddin
- Lara Dutta as Meera Verma, a lawyer
- Kunaal Roy Kapur as Reddy
- Gautam Gulati as Ravi Shastri
- Manjot Singh as Navjot Singh Siddhu
- Karanvir Sharma as Manoj Prabhakar
- Rajesh Sharma as M. K. Sharma aka Shaun
- Varun Badola as Kapil Dev
- Kulbhushan Kharbanda as Azhar's Nanujaan
- Hemant Choudhary as Samar (Ad Film Director)
- Veerendra Saxena as Mohammad Azizuddin
- Jameel Khan as Jay Patil
- Ashok Mandanna as Judge
- Shernaz Patel as Yousuf Sultana
- Ashish Pathode as Ajay Kapur
- Shweta Kawatra as Film Magazine journalist (Cameo)
- Rajit Kapur as Raj Singh Puri (Cameo)
As early as June 2013, producer Ekta Kapoor had spoken of her plans and signed a contract with cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin to make this film based on certain well known and highly talked about incidents and facts of Azharrudin's life. At that time actors Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh were on her wish list. Azharuddin was quizzical over the film until after he had read a copy of the script presented to him by director D'souza. Pakistani actress Urwa Hocane was earlier offered the lead female role of Sangeeta Bijlani, however, she refused saying that she didn't want to do bold scenes. The role was later played by Nargis Fakhri, who herself is of Pakistani ethnicity. Actress Nyra Banerjee worked as an assistant director for this film.
Filming started in May 2015. Various scenes for the film have been shot at cricket grounds including Lord's, The Oval, Edgbaston, St Lawrence Ground and County Ground, Derby, as well as other places in the United Kingdom including Harleyford Manor, Virginia Water, Mayfield Lavender Farm, and Windsor.
The first schedule of the film was completed in October 2015 in London and the second schedule also completed in Hyderabad.
The film has generated controversy prior to its release over a storyline that absolves the protagonist Mohammad Azharuddin from charges of fixing matches in return of money. M A Ganapathy the former Superintendent of Police in CBI who was the chief investigating officer in the match-fixing case has refuted the movie's clean chit to Azharuddin claiming that his confession is on tape with the CBI. Azharuddin's involvement in match fixing was also accepted by Rakesh Maria, the former head of the Crime Branch and Commissioner of Mumbai Police. In a conversation recorded by the news magazine Tehelka, Maria claims that Azhar had "a criminal bent of mind".
|Soundtrack album by Amaal Mallik & Pritam|
|Released||19 April 2016|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Amaal Mallik chronology|
The soundtrack of Azhar has music composed by Amaal Mallik. Pritam and DJ Chetas have composed one song each as guest composers. Lyrics are penned by Kumaar, Manoj Yadav and Rashmi Virag. The background score has been composed by Sandeep Shirodkar. The Album consists of four original songs by Amaal Mallik & Pritam and one recreation by DJ Chetas.
Earlier, Pritam was supposed to compose music for the complete album but due to health issues, he was not able to follow the deadline. Amaal Mallik was then roped in to compose music for the film. T-Series has acquired the music rights of the film. DJ Chetas recreated the song "Oye Oye" originally composed by Kalyanji–Anandji. This song was picturised on Sangeeta Bijlani, who has been portrayed in the film by Nargis Fakhri.
The First single, "Bol Do Na Zara" sung by Armaan Malik was released on 8 April 2016. Following it, the second Single, "Itni Si Baat Hain" sung by Arijit Singh and Antara Mitra with music by Pritam was released on 15 April 2016. The complete Album consisting of 5 tracks was released on 19 April 2016.
|1.||"Bol Do Na Zara"||Rashmi Virag||Amaal Mallik||Armaan Malik||4:53|
|2.||"Itni Si Baat Hain"||Manoj Yadav||Pritam||Arijit Singh, Antara Mitra||4:55|
|3.||"Oye Oye"||Anand Bakshi||Dj Chetas|
|Armaan Malik, Aditi Singh Sharma||3:53|
|4.||"Tu Hi Na Jaane"||Kumaar||Amaal Mallik||Sonu Nigam, Prakriti Kakar||5:33|
|5.||"Jeetne Ke Liye"||Kumaar||Amaal Mallik||KK||4:02|
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