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Sep 19, 2008


If I do a two way comparison of Iqbal it'll be like this, (IMHO) Iqbal is better than Lagaan in showcasing the spirit of cricket in Indians(I hope no Lagaan lovers are listening) but cinematic qualities of Kukonoor (the director) improves in his later films like Dor.Iqbal gave us Shreyas Talpade, who mentions in one of his recent interviews that how after Iqbal he was flooded with offers to portray sport-stars, but he held off. And that has paid off for Shreyas who has finally become the leading man in Shyam Benegal's Welcome to Sajjanpur, after playing Sharukh's sidekick in the mega hit Om Shanti Om.

Iqbal is about a mute village teen who is obsessed with cricket. Not only is he obsessed with it, it turns out that he bowls pretty well too.It is a story of the triumphant under-dog which'll appeal to the masses, although it is toned down to the everyday level of reality compared to the Bollywood fare. The film has Naseeruddin Shah and Girish Karnad, two of the stalwarts of Indian cinema as cricket coaches who come across the talent of Iqbal(Shreyas Talpade.) Agreed that Shreyas has given an above average performance in the movie but then again he is the central character. The person who struck me was the girl who played Iqbal's sister Khadija in the movie - Shweta Prasad. Although I've not seen her national award winning performance in Makdee, she is a natural actor who acts as literally the 'mouthpiece' for her mute brother in this movie.

I do not know how well it did at the box-office. Nagesh Kukonoor movies all start off with no fanfare, then it is usually the mouth to mouth publicity that drives them forward. Although Kukonoor of the 2005 or 2008 is not the no-namer US returned engineer trying his hand at directing movies with no-name actors, he has grown to become a force to reckon in Indian Parallel Cinema.