The tagline was “Love Him. Hate Him. Judge Him”. And I do all those things! Except the first one. I judge Azhar to be a truly terrible move in every single possible way, and also I hate it.
How did you fail me, let me count the ways!
- Historical accuracy
- Any form of entertainment at all
Historical Accuracy: I think my favorite/least favorite factual error was when iPhones played a pivotal part in a love song that was explicitly taking place in the mid-to-late 90s.
Acting: Oh Emraan! Post-Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai and Shanghai, we were all ready to believe in you as a real grown up actor! And then this. Nargis, of course, has never done anything onscreen that could be termed “acting” in even the loosest sense of the word. But then there’s Lara Dutta and Prachi Desai. They are decent people, why are they in this? And why are they being so incredibly terrible in it?
Make-Up: As I said at the time, WHAT DID THEY DO TO HIS FACE!?!?! HIS BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL FACE!
Oh, and Nargis is there too, with a bouffant and sunglasses that just accentuates her duck lips.
(Maybe there was some terrible miss-understanding? A dyslexic production assistant read “Remember to make Emraan’s lips look fuller and Nargis’ smaller” and flipped it around?)
Costumes: The 90s in India were not a beautiful time. Why would you feel the need to recreate them? And to do it in such a boring boring manner? If you are going to go 90s, go big!
(His sweater needs to be big, and so does her hat-bow. Or, go the other way and don’t be 90s at all and have him actually wear the sweater and her have no hat-bow at all. Or no hat! Or earrings. Or lipstick. Or really, just remove Nargis entirely from my screen.)
Dialogue: No one has ever talked like this. If they did, and they had ears, they would kill themselves.
Narrative: WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?!?!? For the brief period that I actually cared about the characters and plot (I think it was the bit around when Prachi Desai was on screen), I found it impossible to understand what they were doing or why in any given scene. And how that scene fit together with the scene that came immediately before it.
Songs: Well, this is the best of the bad. They are kind of half-enjoyable almost. Until you see the videos that go along with them. HIS FACE! HIS BEAUTIFUL FACE!
Editing: This movie is only 2 HOURS AND TEN MINUTES LONG?!?!?!? Why did it feel like I was in that movie theater for A MILLION YEARS?!?!?!?
Sets: This was supposedly a hugely expensive movie. Like, so expensive it helped get Balaji Films out of the movie business, and Sony out of the India business. But where did all the money go? Everything looked cheap! Everything! From hotel hallways to ad film sets to family apartments to Cricket stadiums, it had that distinctive look of “all the actors are crunched into one tiny corner of the frame because that’s all the backdrop we could afford to paint.”
Directing: Oh, there was a director? I thought everyone just sort of wandered onto the tiny little sets and recited their terrible dialogue while a random 6 year old held the camera.
Characters: This is based on real people, right? So it wasn’t even like they had to invent characters! They just had to accurately portray real people. But, noooooooo. I had more sympathy and felt a deeper connection to my least favorite Barbie doll when I was 9 than I did to anybody onscreen here. And again, Emraan actually CAN act! It’s not that they were all just Nargis-plastic type actors who could never create a character. It’s this film. This terrible terrible film.
Emotions: Related to above, I don’t think I ever felt any emotion while watching this movie. Sure now, later, I am feeling emotions. Predominantly “anger”. But at the time, I just remember this creeping boredom and vague concern over whether I had remembered to turn off my headlights. But the songs, the characters, the everything onscreen, that had no effect on me.
Any form of entertainment at all: Now Rustom, for instance, that had a lot of the similar problems to this movie. Or, Mohenjo Daro. Or Mirzya. Or of course, Fitoor. But at least with those films I got a kind of “so bad it’s good” sort of glee out of it. If nothing else, we could all think about Hrithik playing a teenage boy at age 42 and laugh and laugh. Or the mechanics of how exactly Akshay was always in a spotlessly white Navy Uniform. Or what kind of crazy homemade self-waxing technology Aditya Roy Kapoor had put together in his remote Kashmir village to make his chest look like that.
(Seriously, how does a poor blacksmith look like this? Was he just born completely hairless from the neck down?)
With this movie, all I can say is thank goodness for my car headlights! If I hadn’t had them to worry over, I wouldn’t have had anything to help make that interminable 2 hours and ten minutes pass by.