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Credited cast:
Sohrab Ardeshir ...
Lawyer
...
Pradhan
...
Neha
Ninad Kamat ...
Ashwin
...
Rasiklal Chaddha
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Mahendra Naik
...
Old Man
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20 November 2006 (India)  »

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The film has played at several film festivals around the world. But as of November 2014, the film has yet to have a official theatrical release. See more »

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A disappointing personal rant
26 July 2007 | by (India) – See all my reviews

I got an opportunity to watch this film at a festival screening very recently, and went in expecting a lot given the high ratings given on this site and other positive comments I had heard about it, but was sorely disappointed. Let me state upfront though that my perspective is somewhat coloured by the fact that I got an opportunity to participate in the Q&A with some of the key crew and cast, and so my opinions are somewhat influenced by a few additional pieces of information which might not be readily available to viewers who haven't had this opportunity.

Firstly, to quickly summarize the story, the movie revolves around the life of a disgraced captain of the Indian cricket team, whose image as been severely tarnished by allegations of match-fixing. The film takes place at a juncture in his life when he has already been banned from cricket by the country's cricket authority, but his guilt has not yet been conclusively established by the legal authorities. The film explores the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by the captain as he debates between setting himself free through a complete confession on the one hand and protecting his family by denying all allegations on the other. Simultaneously, it also displays the reactions of a cricket-crazy nation through the background discussions and actions of four young boys who feel betrayed by the cricketer.

So what went wrong in the film? Above all, I thought the film felt like a plea for sympathy with the director's angry feelings on the subject, rather than any sort of objective assessment of the situation, or even a well-depicted tale of one set of strong emotions. At multiple points in the film the protagonist is chided by other characters for trying to constantly evoke other's sympathy for his feelings, yet the writer and the director seem to do the same throughout, making the film extremely distasteful. In terms of performances, almost the entire lead cast performed below their normally very high standards, and the acting vacillated often between being rather over-the-top and pretentiously subtle. (The only real exception was Seema Biswas, who was given a fringe role and was completely wasted in the film.) The dialogue was exasperating, being littered with completely unnecessary segments, like the multiple phone calls that the CBI Inspector (Biswas) keeps receiving while interrogating the captain and the ridiculous histrionics of the lawyer (which wasted precious time that could have been otherwise used to develop the legal discussion some more). Worse still were pretentious statements at critical junctures like "I am feeding the rain" - what is that all about, especially when it's the only line the protagonist says in his first flashback to his childhood? (Incidentally, this was confirmed by the director to have no meaning other than being just a random statement by a child.) Another severe disappointment was the background score – it's just baffling to hear the supremely talented Indian Ocean compose such unremarkable music.

On the positive side, the one part of the story which worked very well was the depiction of the public reaction through the exchanges between the four boys. Their state of utter distress and feelings of anger and betrayal were very-well scripted and wonderfully portrayed by the four young actors. Another strong positive in the film was the cinematography, with Abhik Mukhopadhyay using some unusual shot angles, lighting, and movements to very good effect.

Overall, I would have no compunctions about giving a complete thumbs-down to this film. And if you really want to learn about the cricket match-fixing scandals and the deluge of emotions they brought about, "Google" will serve you much better.


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