Director Girish Malik is known for his previous outing JAL (2013) with Purab Kohli, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kirti Kulhari. His latest release TORBAAZ with Sanjay Dutt leading the cast, talks of war and terror, and the toll such things may take on children. The film infuses the idea with the power of sports – in this case it is the usual suspect – cricket – to unite & heal.
Nasser Khan (Sanjay Dutt) is an ex-army man (doctor) haunted by his tragic back story. His wife and child were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Nasser visits the war-torn Afghanistan for a felicitation ceremony at the request of a close family friend Ayesha (Nargis Fakhri). On seeing that the terror and violence continues unabated, Nasser decides to make a difference. In a place where innocent young kids are often forcibly taken away to join terror outfits. He decides to instill a sense of joy, purpose and hope and inspires refugee boys to take up cricket.
Instead of turning his back, he sets up a cricket coaching camp inside the refugee camp. Slowly, the kids warm up to each other before tragedy strikes in the form of Qazir (Rahul Dev), the leader of a fundamentalist camp who wants to use the refugee kids as suicide bombers.
Director Girish Malik with co-writer Bharti Jakhar picks up an intriguing topic about child suicide bombers and the effect of terrorism on the children-of-war, to paint a picture of hope in distressing times. His choice of subject is praiseworthy, and has the vision and understanding of subject. There are scenes that may make you emotional, and that is where he succeeds as a director.
Malik’s TORBAAZ tries to do many things; be a statement about the trauma of war and its impact on people, particularly children. It tries to regale as a sporting drama too, dedicating significant time to a game of cricket. The film also tries to be a complete package to let Sanjay Dutt return with a bang.
Sanjay Dutt is commendable in the emotional scenes; the actor has lot of potential to give fine performances and he delivers one here with utmost sincerity. TORBAAZ can be counted as one of his better performances. Nargis Fakhri ends up with yet another ordinary role. Rahul Dev delivers as per director’s requirements as the head of terrorist organization and does commendable job out of what’s offered to him. The kids are also a bright shining package of TORBAAZ including Aishan Jawad Malik as Baaz and Rehan Shaikh, they are natural and give their best.
Cinematography is the high point of the film. The film is brilliantly photographed (Hiroo Keswani), capturing the isolated mountains and the beautiful snowscapes of Afghan landscapes with as much confidence as the gritty sequence of explosion. Dilip Deo’s editing could have been tighter to make TORBAAZ crisper.
TORBAAZ is a sincere effort with an honest intention and deserves a watch. It also aims at being a tribute to Afghan cricketers who triumphed against all odds to shine in the international arena of the sport. Binge it and you may have a feel-good impact on you.