Torbaaz movie cast: Sanjay Dutt, Rahul Dev, Nargis Fakhri
Torbaaz movie director: Girish Malik
Torbaaz movie rating: One and a half stars

A refugee camp is the unlikely site for the formation of a rag-tag cricket team. To use the healthy competition sports engenders, in order to vanquish hatred, is a great idea. But consistently sloppy execution mars Torbaaz, slinging it into the category of films-that-could-have-been-something.

Reeling under personal trauma, Nasser (Dutt) fetches up at a picturesque yet ragged spot somewhere in the hilly reaches of Afghanistan. He is in search of a healing touch. And he discovers the very thing that can help, not just him, but a bunch of refugee children, hurting from physical and emotional wounds.

The film uses the real-life fact of children used as suicide bombers as a crucial plot point. We see mujahideen outfits hiding out in the wilderness, headed by fanatical leaders, training these kids. The bearded leader (Dev, who must be tired of playing similar parts) of one such gang, using the sing-song style we are used to hearing in the movies, talks up the joys of ‘shaheedi’ and ‘jannat’, as we see blasts going off in cities, smoke billowing out, and bloody limbs strewn on streets.

Global conflict and its fall-out has long been the subject of powerful cinema. And when innocent children are involved, it is easy to create stories that tug at your heart-strings. There are a few uplifting moments when you see the kids just being kids, running and leaping with joy on the make-shift pitch. One particular bright young fellow stands out, as he has formed a special bond with the grizzly Nasser, as the latter goes about bashing his team into shape: who will win, and what will that win mean for these kids?

The film’s end credits tell us that many members of the Afghanistan cricket team have emerged from similar tough circumstances. This could have been such an inspiring tale, but the loose plot, chock full of colourless characters, meanders minus focus.

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