Sunday, July 17, 2011


Bollywood film Iqbal, written by Vipul K Rawal and directed by Ragesh Kukunoor, was showcased this month at the Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver. It was just one event of a 10-day program that offered plenty to please lovers of the arts and health/wellness.

Iqbal (debuting Shreyas Talpade) is a farmer’s son who lives with his parents and younger sister, and who is obsessed with becoming a cricketer. Gifted with the athletic talent and skill of a bowler, Iqbal demonstrates how passions must be pursued despite the odds; in Iqbal’s case, he is not only deaf and mute, his father is dead-set against anything relating to the sport. The theme of the film centred on the Universe’s role as enabler when one works hard at achieving their dreams.

Iqbal’s adorable and wise-beyond-her-years sister Khadija (Shweta Prasad) adds humour and warmth to the set as only a pig-tailed, spectacled girl can. Her relationship with her brother is sincere and her support of his dream is unquestionable. Award-wining Naseerudin Shah plays the unlikely coach, Mohit, whose character adds tremendous depth to the plot with a story of his own.

Iqbal defied every stereotype attached to the words “Bollywood film” beginning with the fact that there was not a single dance number! The theme song and its accompanying training scenes were incredibly powerful; despite the fact that I only understood a few words, its theme of hope and courage transcended this barrier. I do wish that the song had subtitles as I would have loved to understand its full meaning. Unlike other Bollywood films, there were no star-crossed lovers (unless you suggest that Iqbal’s forbidden love of cricket fits the bill) and no major fight scenes – just some rivalry that was bound to arise between a farm boy who trained his game in the fields and a rich student of the cricket academy. However, like the Hindi films I grew up on, my heartstrings were tugged a number of times! How could I forget to bring tissues?

My advice – see the movie with a friend and at least a couple of tissues; prepare to let Iqbal’s story move and inspire you!