Film: “My Father Iqbal”; Director: Suzad Iqbal Khan; Cast: Narendra Jha, Komal Thackar, Paresh Mehta, Raj Sharma, Amit Lekhwani, Sagar Nath Jha, Sudam Aftab Khan, Kumar Vaibhav; Rating: *1/2

Set in Bani, a small town on the border of Himanchal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, “My Father Iqbal” is based on a true incident. It is the story of a conscientious engineer, Iqbal Khan, who sacrifices his life for his family, country and his own integrity.

Directed by Suzad I. Khan, and with a personalised title, one expects the tale to be narrated from Iqbal’s son, Sajid’s point of view. But unfortunately, this is not so…

The prologue defines, the tone of the narrative and predicts the turn of events. What follows is, how a happy family is tormented by some anti-social and selfishly motived people.

Catering to philanthropic activities and his family needs, Iqbal leads a comfortable life within his means. When his son, Sajid passes his eighth standard with flying colours, advised by his principal, he sends his son to a boarding school in Pathankot.

He puts up a brave front, when he misses his son, and continues harping on having a good life when his son is settled. But unfortunately his life is interrupted by his close associates.

The plot credited to Jha, Khan and Chib, lacks the maturity and punch of a well-designed film. The tale along with the poorly etched characters seems contrived and exaggerated.

Jha as Iqbal gives a heart-warming performance. He is natural and displays the undercurrents of tension and his frustrations with ease and aplomb. Unfortunately you do not empathise with him as the script lacks the intensity of a powerful drama.

Thackar as Iqbal’s wife has her moments to shine. She exhibits sparks of brilliance especially in the romantic scenes. As the mother of a grown up lad, she is unconvincing.

Of the remaining cast, every actor is perfunctory and deliver an over-the-top performance.

Mounted on a tight budget the initial hand painted water-colour frames raise the expectations. But the mediocre production values give the feel of a manufactured setting. Also, though the location is well-captured, Cinematographer Anant Gille’s frames are unimpressive.

Music by Biswajeet Bhattacharjee (Bibo) and Varun Agarwal integrate seamlessly in the narrative and the song, ace Rang gul, rang gul,a stands out, in an otherwise staid account.

Overall, “My Father Iqbal” does not rise up to your expectations.

By Troy Ribeiro

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