new Delhi: Torbaaz talks about war and terror, and such things can be heavy on children. The film combines this idea with the power of sports – in this case, cricket – to unite and heal. Over the last two decades, these subjects have often scored big for Bollywood. Nevertheless, Torbaaz struggled to attract attention.
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This may be because the film came two decades too late. And it doesn’t help that effort is sluggish in construction and execution. In a crowded OTT home page where you have a problem with spoiled leaves to like, Torbaaz appears as a non-USP product.
Director Girish Malik and co-writer Bharti Jakhar were apparently out to set up the Sanjay Dutt showcase. The actor played the role of Nasir Khan, a military doctor with a sad back story. His wife and child were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Back in a war-torn nation after a war, Nasser decides to make a difference, seeing that terror and violence continue unabated. In a country where innocent young boys are often forcibly taken to join terrorist organizations, he decides to instill a sense of joy, purpose and hope. He inspires refugee boys to cricket.
Torbaz tried to do a lot of things. The film tries to be a statement about the trauma of war and its impact on people, especially children. It tries to recapture as a sports drama, devoting about half an hour to a cricket match that obviously looks very nostalgic because you know how it will end. The film tries to be the complete package for Sanjay Dutt to make a comeback.
At the first count, the writing is too shallow. On the second count, watch Lagaan airing once again if you’re really dying to catch some good cricket action on the fiction screen. And on Sanjay Dutt, although the narrative is completely woven around him, the story is too dull to tell him to leave an impact.
Apart from Dutt, most of the characters suffer from unimaginable imagination. Rahul Dev’s terrorist act is replete with similar acts done by him in the past. Almost every other actor struggled to make rebellious characters interesting.
The film captures the brilliantly photographed (Hiro Keswani), lavish Afghan landscapes with great confidence as the asymmetrical character of the explosion. Editing (Dilip Dev) could have revealed strict accuracy in a film that would never progress at its sluggish pace. By the time all this is over, you are too bored to keep in mind that Nassar as Dutt could succeed in his mission.
Torbaaz aims to pay tribute to the Afghan cricketers, who won against all odds to shine in the international arena of the game. For his sake, the film should have tried a more engaging.
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