Newest Review: ... a tough time financially, he does not like cricket & wants iqbal to come and join him in farming. But his mother stands between h... more
Bowl It Like Iqbal!
Member Name: thedevilinme
Date: 12/11/07, updated on 12/11/07 (85 review reads)
Advantages: I like Indian movies!
Disadvantages: Unsophisticated film
When I bungled my recording of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Channel 4 again sticking their slick HBO drama on in the middle of the night, I was greeted with the worse case scenario of recording the wrong channelóan Indian film! Iqbal, the tale of a deaf mute peasant boy who dreams of playing cricket for India, would be my evening entertainment. As a huge cricket fan I thought why not. How bad can it be? As long as the fielders dot start dancing with bells I knew I could get through it.
Bollywood gets a bad rap in the United Kingdom, even though their films feature regularly in the billboard charts here. In fact the Indian film industry is bigger than the British film industry here now, most Bollywood productions having some connection with our Asian community. But for some supercilious reasons the white British film press wonít touch Indian film with a barge pole, even when its number one in the movie charts, which has been twice in the last three years. Because of the that malaise the Indian movie people rarely do screenings for the journalists here to have a look at, or at least thatís what the British hacks say.
Deaf and mute lower caste peasant boy Iqbal (Shreyas Talpade) lives with his younger sister Khadija (Shweta Prasad) and parents in rural India, his job to tend the family Buffalo heard. But Iqbal only dreams of playing cricket for India, spending his days watching the local pros play at the regional academy, looking for tips to fore fill his ambition, rather than tend the heard. He has named all the buffalo after great Indian cricketers.
Sis, feeling his pain, is quickly on the case and gets her beloved brother a trial, where Iqbal comes up against star batsmen Kamal (Aadarsh Balakrishna) and revered academy director in Guruji (Girish Karnad).
Dad (Yatin Karyekar) has tired of Iqbals laziness and wants him to help on the land from now on, his cricket dreams never in the equation, Iqbals shrine to his favorite game having to be hidden in a haystack; such is pops dislike of the sport. But Iqbal is determined to make it and with his stumps and bat strung over his shoulder like a quiver of arrows heís determined to practice all hours.
After putting the star batsmenís nose out of shape, literally, Iqbals bouncer hitting him on the head, our deaf mute is thrown out of the academy, Kamals dad unfortunately the rich benefactor of the Kalipad facility. With Iqbals dreams in tatters he will have to toil in the fields and forget about cricket, now he has defied his father. So enter the villages washed up silver haired drunk and ex star player in Mohit (Naseeruddin Shah ), who also had similar dreams of playing for India when he was Iqbals age. The two strike a pact to keep training, Mohit passing on all his knowledge, training the boy at night when father will never know. Maybe this episode in his life will be is his salvation for all that went before, living his dream vicariously through Iqbal. But if dad finds out it will be big trouble, especially for mum Sadita (Prateeksha Lonkar), helping her son ignore the fields and secretly practice cricket as the debt piles up.
Naseeruddin Shah ... Mohit
Girish Karnad ... Guruji
Shreyas Talpade ... Iqbal
Shweta Prasad ... Khadija
Yatin Karyekar ... Anwar
Prateeksha Lonkar ... Saida
Dilip Salgaonkar ... Bipin
Jyoti Joshi ... Farida
Aadarsh Balakrishna ... Kamal
Gururaj Manepalli ... Akash
Rajita Joshi ... Doctor
Srikanth Chitrao ... Sunil Mitra, the Selector
Vikram Inamdar ... DeSouza, the Team Manager
Elahe Hiptoola ... TV Reporter
Balaji Manohar ... Mohammed, the Team Cap
For my first experience of real Indian film making of late I quite enjoyed this. Yes Bollywood is very simplistic in its approached and aimed at the more rural population of Indian. The soundtrack is cheesy and the wobbly head writing and acting sign posted to say the least ,but thereís still something sweet about all those happy faces in that abject poverty, very much no your place cinema. It reminds me of the early Ealing Comedies where the working class were a jolly bunch and they could live their dreams is they prayed ad worked hard enough.
Cricket is massive in India, ten times bigger than football is here, and on screen worked pretty well, although the country cricket crowds were familiarly low, even in India. With corruption, politics and religion weaved into the story it was surprisingly contemporary when it needed to be. And with a guest appearance from the great Kapil Dev it feels like a cricket movie. This would not work in England.
Am I converting to Indian film? Probably not. Itís deliberately aimed at a certain audience to be uplifting and happy, the lower caste always having a chance to make it when it reality that couldnít be further from the truth. But for 90 minutes I was with Iqbal and his cricketing dreams, hoping he would be the next opening bowler alongside Kapil and Madan Lal. The question now is will Channel Four show any clever Indian movies at this hour, greedy Indian nigh watchman spoilt for choice these days. But with no kissing and cuddling allowed, even at this hour, I still want to be corrupted by western film.
Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor
Imdb.com rating 8.8
Summary: Keep it simple, your audience demands it!