Will Iqbal prove a dark horse?

IqbalPut your hands together for this one. In a line, Iqbal deserves all the accolades. By any yardstick, this is Nagesh Kukunoor’s best yet — and that’s Hyderabad Blues, Rockford, Bollywood Calling and Teen Deewarein put together.
But that’s not the only reason why Iqbal is special. By way of Shreyas Talpade, the film marks the birth of an actor to watch out for. As the deaf-mute village boy who dreams of making it to the Indian cricket team, Talpade achieves what many seasoned actors often fail to do — he makes you forget it’s actually an act.
Kukunoor’s film draws out a simplistic narrative effortlessly. The mood is subtly etched in the very first frame, as a pregnant woman watches Kapil Dev bowl a decisive over for India on a black and white TV set along with the rest of the village. Eighteen years after Iqbal is born, his mother still cherishes cricketing dreams — now for her hearing impaired, verbally-challenged son who can bowl the cherry real fast. Iqbal’s peasant father would rather that his son worked in the fields, to sustain the family’s hand-to-mouth existence.

In essence, the film is more than a documentation of the game and its inherent politics. Rather, like Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black, it touches the emotional chord by succinctly portraying the tale of a challenged individual who defies all odds to achieve a dream.

If Talpade is first-rate as the protagonist, his act finds a perfect foil by way of Naseeruddin Shah, the alcoholic fallen cricket hero who helps Iqbal rise to the heights. It’s a pleasure to see the doyen of histrionics back on the big screen after a hiatus. Kukunoor’s handpicked prop cast is just right too — Yatin Karyekar and Pratiksha Lonkar as Iqbal’s parents breathe easy realism into their roles.

At a time when the offbeat Page 3 and Black have scored at the box office, Iqbal could just be a dark horse winner. Here’s hoping it is.

Courtesy: HT City

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