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3.5 Star popcorn reviewss

One of the most popular sports(at least in our country) is cricket. Though it is not exactly universal but it has the power to unite people, even a few who are sworn enemies of each other. One of the newest members yet the fastest learners in the game are Afghanistan Cricket. Coming from a war-torn nation, it was rather heartening to see them perform. And they have produced champions like Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi. It must have been so hard for them in their formative years. So based on this theme of cricket and terrorism in Afghanistan, I have just finished watching Torbaaz on Netflix. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.

Torbaaz is the story of a man who rises from a personal tragedy to train a group of children in cricket where the children are introduced to guns first. The story is quite heartfelt though in some way it follows the Chak De India template. The screenplay is a tad patchy. The constant shifts between the portions of cricket and terrorism could have been done better. Also, the pacing could slightly have been faster too. But having said that, there is much to admire here. The world that is introduced to the viewers is breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time. The outside world might have little information about Afghanistan sitting in their cozy homes. The country has really been through a lot and slowly and steadily the nation is rebuilding with competitive cricket at its centre. And that portion of the refugee camps and the divide between the children, only to come together and play as a team is a journey you don’t want to miss out on. The cricket portions in the final act could have been shot better, but the final act is definitely emotional and soul stirring.

The dialogues are good, the BGM and music could have been better. The film is beautifully shot and the single reason why this would have been a visual delight if it had released in a theatre. Cinematography is the strong point here. Director Girish Malik has done a pretty good job with the direction. The movie almost falls prey to the Chak De India template before getting a little dark and murky in the second half. Well handled by the director.

The performances are quite good especially by the kids. Nargis Fakhri as Ayesha was a smart decision to be cast. She fits the role perfectly and shines in a cameo. Kuwaarjeet Chopraa as Habibullah is fantastic and definitely stands his own. Wish to see more of him going forward. Rahul Dev as Qazar is quite good in an underwritten role. The kids really stand out – Baaz, Gulab and most of all the little Sadiq who is so cute. His dialogue delivery is the best of the lot. Sanjay Dutt as Nasser was just enjoying himself here, playing cricket with the kids and having a good time. He is so good, would love to see him more. Hoping he is hail and hearty now after being unwell for sometime.

Despite its shortcomings, Torbaaz is a heartfelt film with a great message and a spectacular delight. Cricket is indeed a sport that unites! Available on Netflix.

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