RATING: *** 1/2 outta 5
What does one expect form a low-budget movie from Nagesh Kukunoor. Nothingmore than critical acclaim, some accolades from a certain A class audience.Well, what you get from Iqbal is much more. You'll see why..
Iqbal is the story of a young deaf-mute boy (Shreyas) from a village in South India. It is about Iqbal's dreams. Yes, for a change, this is not a hard-hitting and real life cinema. It is fantasy shown in a different light. Unlike big banner fantasies where things seem improbable, this one is fantastically woven in a thread of emotions,hapiness and dreams. Before one jumps into conclusions, Iqbal is not a sad,depressing movie. It is refreshing, feel-good cinema at its best.
Now back to the story. Iqbal stays with his parents and his sister. His dad,Anwar(well portrayed by Anand Bannerjee of Munnabhai fame) is a poor farmer,who has a strong dislike for cricket. He believes that interest in such sports brings about laziness and a lax working environment amongst Indians which affects the economy and the fate of millions of farmers(He's correct,ain't he!!!!!). Her wife(Dunno her name, but still very a very commendableactor), sister(Shweta, brilliant) and son Iqbal,however, are die-hard cricket fans and share Iqbal's dreams of donning the Indian cap as a premier fast bowler.
Iqbal faces a lotta problems both at home and outside. Firstly, he has to deal with the bureaucracy and red-tapism in the form of his coach,Guruji(Girish Karnad) at the academy, resulting in his removal from theacademy. Next, he finds an aging, drunkard Naseerudin Shah, who once played Ranji cricket. He wants Naseer to mentor him and help him in pursuing hisdreams. Naseer rehabilitates, coaches Iqbal and gets him a place in the Andhra team for Ranji, must against the wil of his father. Now, starts his real test. But, as people say, opportunity knocks only once and make thefullest of it, Iqbal takes Andhra team from doldrums to glory and wins himself the Indian cap. A simple yet a very well made movie.
About the characters: Shreyas is the show-stealer. You feel like laughing,crying, celebrating with him. A perfect example of actions being louder than words. The brother sister chemistry between Iqbal and his sis are eye-candy and adorable. Naseer, once again proves his mettle, questioning openly as to why is he ignored/restricted to lesser roles in the Bollywood circuit. This performance by him is of the highest calibre. Also, I think actresses from the industry must take a leaf out of the young Shweta in acting. This child artiste(not exactly achild artiste after you see the way she delivers dialogues) is surely making waves which will take her places. Girish Karnad marks his return on a sober note.
All in all, everyone has played his/her part exceedingly well. ALso, aspecial mention for Suhash Ghai, who has made the wisest decision of hislife in producing Iqbal. But Kukunoor is the man behind this success. His unique style of thinking is purely reflected in this movie. One expects alotta hullaballo and sympathy for a deaf-mute boy(ala BLACK), none of whichis shown in the movie. ALso, the fact that Iqbal comes from a minority community and hence some communism, inclination, partiality could have been exploited. But Kukunoor sticks to the basics and gets his priorities right.As against other arty, small-budget capers, he avoids using the Queen's language and rigtly too, since it would have effaced the pastoral settingsto a large extent. ALso,the versatility of the man is reflected in Iqbal.After a series of light-hearted Hyd Blues and a serious 3 Deewarein, Iqbal brings the best of both worlds.
GO watch Iqbal, enjoy the movie, enjoy the game, get a dream foryourself!!!!