Director: Girish Malik
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Nargis Fakhri, Rahul Dev
Writer-director Girish Malik's Torbaaz has been made for Sanjay Dutt – who is a messiah of sorts out to transform children in an Afghanistan refugee camp. As he, Naseer, says time and again that these “masoom” souls are not terrorists, but are unlucky to be living in camps that are the breeding grounds for violence and mayhem.
While this core idea may have some relevance in the distressing world we find ourselves in today, the film is so poorly structured and scripted that one can fall off to sleep. But for the last 20 minutes or so out of the two-hour-plus run time, Torbaaz drags its feet over inanity.
Naseer, a former Indian Army doctor returns to Kabul, where he had lost his wife and child in a terror bomb attack. He arrives there to try and help – along with Ayesha (Nargis Fakhri) – kids in camps, and when he discovers their passion for cricket, he hits upon an idea. Why not teach them to pick up the ball, not the bomb. Resisted by the Army and the Taliban, headed by Qazar (Rahul Dev), who is hell-bent on turning every child into a suicide bomber, promising him 'jannat” as a reward, Naseer fights on and forms a cricket team with refugee kids and calls it Torbaaz. Which will challenge the more provisional under-16 Kabul Cricket Academy players.
We all know how the match will go, and we also know what Qazar and his band of gun-toting terrorists will do.
Torbaaz is peppered with unnecessary footage and characters. I cannot understand what Fakhri was doing there; she comes off as a mere ornamental vase on the mantlepiece. As for Dutt, he is a huge disappointment, a man who appears to have lost all his energy. With his face drawn – and not sparkle in his eyes – he limps through the entire movie. If Malik and his producers had thought of putting Dutt on a pedestal in order to boost his almost non-existent career, they just failed. Somewhere, Sanjay seems to have lost his passion for performance.
Torbaaz on Netflix is eminently unwatchable.