Movie Review: IQBAL (2006)

Published by Shah Shahid on

Man was I long winded back in the day. A cool review of another cricket movie. We’re almost done the old timey posts so this’ll be one of the last ones. Enjoy…

Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

When the greats of any industry come together for collaboration, it’s a much anticipated occurrence. Such was the case for me, personally, when it comes to IQBAL. Granted they would not be called ‘greats’ by the commercial cinema goer, as, not a lot of people within the main stream audience know of them too much, but incredibly talented they all are, and IQBAL was the perfect work of art, through which their true colors shone.

Not a lot of people would recognize the name of Nagesh Kukunoor. Not even his films would ring a bell within the commercial audience. But people in the industry, know him and they have applauded and appreciated almost all of his films, starting with his debut film, HYDERABAD BLUES in 1998. Showing the plight of NRIs returning to India and the pressure they face when it comes to marriage from their parents and society, HYDERABAD BLUES was an instant cult hit in the festival circuits and made Nagesh Kukunoor a director to be aware of, having not only directed the film, but also acted, written and produced it himself.

After which the critical hits just kept coming with films like ROCKFORD, TEEN DEEWAREIN and the sequel to his debut, HYDERABAD BLUES 2. Having acted, written and directed most of these films himself, Nagesh quickly became an acclaimed director, despite the fact that he was only in the industry for 7 years. Despite commercial success eluding him, he was still considered a force to be reckoned with when it came to art films and films that toured the festival circuits. That is, until IQBAL bowled into theatres.

Through the film, the music plays an integral part, as it does with any other film. But the music of IQBAL is especially important with the uplifting message and inspiring moral of the story. With composers such as Himesh Reshammiya, the contemporary duo of Salim-Sulaiman and Sukhwinder Singh, the soundtrack of IQBAL is as inspiring as the film itself. One of the tracks has also been rendered by the almost underground band known as Om. Providing a mix of carnatic folk music with new age rock and classical Bharat Natyam, Om has one track in IQBAL’s soundtrack which is more along the lines of a sad melody. The track Maula is a sad yet classic fusion of ghazal with the typical Indian film track. The rest of the tracks are beautiful in their own right, and have been incorporated within the film just as beautifully.

Newcomer Shreyas Talpade shows potential beyond belief in the title role of Iqbal himself. Without uttering a word, Talpade gives a performance which can be as great of a first performance as anyone can ever hope for. The way he conveys the emotions of a frustrated young man with dreams beyond that of his family’s capabilities is extraordinary to watch on screen, and credit must go to director Nagesh Kukunoor for not only discovering, but also allowing Talpade to come across the screen as the most fresh and honest face that has debuted in years. The manner in which Talpade’s mute Iqbal communicates with the rest of the characters while still upholding the awesome chemistry between his mother, sister and his guru, Mohit is a thing of wonder. With an incredibly emotional and inspiring performance, Shreyas Talpade might just be hailed as the best debut in 2005.

IQBAL works best with the characters and their relationships with each other. The story is nothing original when it comes to a sport based film as seen a lot in Hollywood. It is agreeably the first Indian film of its kind, and quite possibly the second Cricket movie in India, after the Oscar nominated LAGAAN. The way the characters react to each other is the delight in this film. Be it the familial close-ness exhibited by Iqbal and his sister and mother and their hopes intertwined with his dreams, or how Iqbal’s persistence allows the village drunk to regain control of his life and allow him to fight for something he had given up years ago. Aptly named, IQBAL becomes a subtly inspiring film, that does not preach to one about following their dreams and does not become cliché at any point, but remains honest and sincere in its attempts to truly inspire and encourage the ability to dream.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


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