Torbaaz is a well-intended movie, but suffers from step-fatherly treatment that doesn't quite let you feel the emotions, notes Moumita Bhattacharjee.
Children of war are some of the most tormented and traumatised human beings on earth, who see devastation at an early age.
There are many movies and documentaries which depict the adverse effect of such incidents on these children.
Torbaaz attempts to tell the same story but with possible redemption for those who are trained to be child suicide bombers.
It has good intentions but is shoddily executed.
Naseer Khan (Sanjay Dutt) lands in Kabul as a doctor and find the children of refugee camps playing cricket.
Initially reluctant, Naseer soon finds himself coaching the kids and providing them with equipment to make their game better.
Meanwhile, Abdul Qazar (Rahul Dev) is busy looking for the child recruits who fled his training camps after a US raid.
One of the children is part of Torbaaz, the team Naseer builds with refugee kids.
Nasser wants to get them admitted to Kabul's cricket academy but the head coach is reluctant as he thinks the children may explode themselves any day.
Nasser challenges the academy's U-16 team for a match with his team, but it doesn't work out well when three of his children disappear suddenly.
Like I said before, Torbaaz has its heart in the right place.
The tale of Afghanistan's cricket team becoming a great force to reckon with on the world stage is inspiring.
The team mostly has players who were a part of refugee camps along the Pakistan border. It is obviously a story of triumph over all odds, so the narrative has enough masala to become a moving film.
To be fair, the children add a lot of innocence and derailed pride to the story but unfortunately, it gets a sketchy treatment.
The first 10 minutes are all about establishing the functioning of the Taliban or terrorist organisations in Afghanistan who employ children to do their dirty work.
But it's neither novel nor effective.
It is a task to tide over those 10 minutes if you are willing to watch the film.
What's worse is the movie never picks up pace.
Writer-Director Girish Malik does not give the treatment or momentum much thought, which is extremely lazy.
Melancholic background music is not enough to make people feel the pain.
Sanjay Dutt, as Nasser was either forced to do this movie or he was just whiling away his time in the beautiful locales.
He looks disinterested in many scenes and even his acting skills are nothing to write about.
Rahul Dev's JD slowly speaks in the Afghan language and belts out dialogues. As a mastermind, he needs more villainy for anybody to feel scared of him.
Nargis Fakhri hardly has anything substantial to add to the narrative.
The children are obviously the best part of the film as they keep you interested in a few sequences.
Torbaaz is a well-intended movie, but suffers from step-fatherly treatment that doesn't quite let you feel the emotions.
Torbaaz is streaming on Netflix.