Iqbal bowls you over
Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Naseeruddin Shah, Shweta Prasad, Girish Karnad.
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor.
Genre: Feel-good drama
Storyline: An 18-year old speech and hearing impaired finds an unlikely coach in an alcoholic ex-cricketer to chase his dream of finding a seat in the Indian dressing room.
Bottomline: They don’t make films like this these days.
A movie must move. And this one not just moves you, it transports you right into the canvas.
You can’t help but admire Nagesh Kukunoor.
Like all his other films, ‘Iqbal’ is all heart. But this one packs enough spirit to set the world on fire.
There’s a certain honesty about Kukunoor’s films that makes them instantly likeable.
‘Iqbal’ has to be Kukunoor’s best work till date and one of the best films of all times, and in some departments of storytelling, even superior than ‘Lagaan’ or ‘Black.’
Every frame oozes inspiration, every scene comes alive with candid ingenuity and every character seems to breathe the same air as we do.
‘Iqbal’ is the story of an 18-year old boy who dreams of making it to the Indian cricket team. The fact that he cannot speak or hear is just a matter of academic interest. It’s that attitude with which Kukunoor handles disability without ever making you feel sorry for Iqbal, is where the director goes beyond all set boundaries of filmmaking.
It’s probably the first film that sets an example for an inclusive society, a world where there is no distinction made between the disabled and the abled. It’s with that no-special-treatment sensitivity where Kukunoor scores over Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
And, it’s in the plausibility of the tale about the triumph of human spirit where he scores over Ashutosh Gowarikar.
Right from the very first frame, ‘Iqbal’ is an authentic film about the true-blue son of the soil who never says die.
Shreyas Talpade as ‘Iqbal’ is the find of the year. The young man epitomises innocence, his face speaks volumes, even when he’s not talking at all — from enthusiasm to learn the game to the grit to not give up and the determination to keep going, Shreyas portrays it all with conviction and credibility, with the ease of a veteran.
Shweta Prasad as his bespectacled sister Khadija is super-endearing, as she holds her own against first-rate performers such as Shreyas and Naseeruddin Shah. When she hugs her mother and cries after Iqbal is thrown out of the cricket academy, you have a lump in your heart.
Naseer comes up with yet another brilliant portrayal as Mohit, a disillusioned alcoholic, who transforms into a spirited coach, hesitantly. He provides the laughs with his wry sense of humour as he brings to life a promising bowler now living in anonymity, victimised by the politics of the sport.
It is simply impossible to say which of these is better than the other and their interactions together create magic. Even the supporting cast of Iqbal’s adorable mother (Prateeksha Lonkar) and disapproving, struggling farmer father Anwar (Yatin Karyekar) come up with incredibly credible performances. Only Girish Karnad as Guruji seems a little rigid and unfit for a cricket coach, and the character too remains a little ambiguous as you are left wondering if he’s Mohit’s coach or team-mate or both (given that Mohit and Kapil Dev too calls him Guruji but Iqbal finds both of them in a team photograph).
The lingering moments in the film are one too many. The way the mother, son and daughter hide their passion for the game from the cricket-hating father is adorable just like the bond between Khadija and Mohit after she initially disapproves of his ways.
Technically too, ‘Iqbal’ is well-framed with a pretty neat background score. The KK number ‘Aashayien’ tugs at the heart-strings.
‘Iqbal’ is heart-warming, refreshingly spirited and endearingly inspiring.
Bowls you over.
Iqbal bowls you over
Yes i saw iqbal as soon as it was released just ‘cos of nagesh and he didnt disappoint! For me it is shwetha prasad who stole the show…she was amazing! But i feel the entire cast performed well from iqbal himself, iqbal’s parents, nasserudin and girish karnad! It is good to see some films where people actually act(which is what all actors are supposed to do in films..but err..) with a very realistic story line rather some slapstick romance which comes day in day out with actors who cant act…! Iqbal is a must watch and kudos 2 everyone involved in it for giving such a wonderful movie!
waitn 2 seeeee de movie…
macha try sometin cool nxt time da….
otta try innovativ thingys da…
Yes, its a beautiful movie. You might feel its a combination of Lagaan and Black, but the message is on a completely different plane. A totally feel-good movie and kudos to the cast and crew of the movie
Hey sudhish, hope you had a nice time at er..Australia..(was it?) anyway i was persistent in watching ‘Iqbal’ after reading your review…watched it..how could you ever compare it with ‘Black’?! I mean, its a whole different level…every bit of the movie makes u wanna snivel..atleast i felt that way..whatever said and done..it is about disability…it is about what you have and the other person doesnt..black did make me cry cos she was darn disabled and nothing came to her easy..black did make me smile cos she did have all the desires that you and i would have..i mean its a whole lotta love and emotion that predominantly gives ur life a shape.. im not saying u dont think black is a good movie..yet dont u think you are doing a lil injustice to it by comparing it with ‘iqbal’ which is certainly a neat movie too? you tell me..what is the whole point in making a movie that centers around the fact that he or she is ‘disabled’?:)
Just wanted to say- nice blog! Discovered it in my trawls of the web. Great review of Iqbal, as well. I absolutely loved the movie, to the extent that I was the only fool who clapped when he hit that nasty dravid lookalike on the head with a ball. But did you get the feeling that the part where iqbal’s father apologises was a little too easy?
Mother: You have been blaming Iqbal for your own failure.
Father: Yes, I have. Let us go and apologise to him.
It felt to me like the director was snatching at straws to get daddy to go to the match. A tiny flaw in an otherwise near-perfect film. What did you guys think?
I’m quite happy to find a person who has the same views and reviews to films as me. I have read most of ur reviews and they seem to capture exacty wht i felt while seeing the film.
Iqbal is a truly well made film. My favourties characters are Khalidja & Iqbal’s mother. The scene in which they act as if they were working when Iqbal’s father comes back home from work is truly beautiful & well executed.