This one belongs to Iqbal. The movie, that is. So I finally saw it this past weekend after much persuasion by family and friends. Shame on me for not having seen it earlier.
A remarkable movie from 2005, Iqbal was recently recommended by a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show (I want to say it was Phylicia Rashad - can someone verify this please? Is she a Bollywood movie watcher?).
Iqbal is one of the more technically correct movies you will see. Its cast might not be studded primarily with established stars, but is equally (if not more) effective in enlightening and awakening an audience. In fact, more on the lines of making it feel alive.
All right, so given that I am Indian, one might argue that I am inherently a cricket fan which makes me like this one even more than usual. While that might be true to an extent, one must watch Iqbal with an open mind and heart to truly understand its significance and its intimate relationship with the real rural India and the state of the sport in the country today. Cricket politics aside, watch this to feel the passion that is embodied by the average Indian cricket fan or the kid down the gully who aspires to represent his country at the national stage -- an honor that has always been extremely difficult to earn.
Naseeruddin Shah shows yet again why he is easily one of the classiest performers in Bollywood. This movie reminded me of him and Sunny Gavaskar playing cricket in the old school movie Malamaal. Good stuff. Shah pulls this one off effortlessly and with tremendous impact. This time, it is cricket legend Kapil Dev making a guest appearance.
But the real stars of this one are the brother-sister duo of Iqbal and Khadeeja (played by Shreyas Talpade and Shweta Prasad respectively). Excellent performances, especially when you consider that this is probably the first time any of us saw them on screen or even heard about them. Kudos all the way!
Lastly, honorable mention to Kay Kay and Salim Merchant for the song 'Aashayen'. For ye who need inspiring, look no further.
तेरी वो रफ्तार हो रोकेय से भी तू ना रुकेय
हासिल कर ऐसा शिखर पर्बत की भी नज़रें उठें
आशाएं खिलें दिल की, उम्मीदें हँसें दिल की
अब मुश्किल नहीं कुछ भी, नहीं कुछ भी
Beautiful stuff. Congrats, Team Iqbal. You won me over!
Classification: Suitable for all ages
Watch it if: you want to be inspired, enjoy sport, want to watch superb performances, or simply want to enjoy honest portrayals of reality in Bollywood cinema