Wazir - Bollywood thriller with chess

by Albert Silver
1/20/2016 – It is always interesting to see a film not simply include a chess board or scene, but use it as a key element. An Indian film was just released, classified by IMDB as “Crime/Thriller” in which a ‘grief-stricken cop and amputee grandmaster are brought together by a peculiar twist of fate as part of a wider conspiracy that has darkened their lives.’ Trailer and review.

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Wazir - Official Trailer

Official poster of the film

The Guardian published a review on the film, highlighting typical Bollywood weaknesses, but also its strengths, concluding that it is 'compelling viewing' and 'fun to watch'

Around the turn of the millennium, the venerable Indian writer-director-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra was set to make his Hollywood debut with Chess – nothing to do with the musical, but a self-penned thriller about a traumatised cop that circled the studios with names such as Dustin Hoffman attached. The vagaries of 21st-century production meant Chopra had to wait until last year’s Broken Horses to take his American bow, but traces of Chess have apparently persisted into Wazir. Delegated to emerging director Bejoy Nambiar, this plan B arrives bearing the Big B: Amitabh Bachchan, who collaborated with Chopra on 2007’s fine Eklavya, assumes the chewy character part Hoffman would surely have been eyeing.

Rookish grandmaster … Amitabh Bachchan in Wazir


And there’s another colourful part for the increasingly prominent Neil Nitin Mukesh (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo) as a cackling sociopath who willingly introduces himself as The Queen. (Any American version would have had to do a lot of explaining around him.)

Click for complete review

Link to IMDB film page

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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ubernomics ubernomics 1/21/2016 12:07
From what I've read of the history of chess, the piece that later became the Queen originated in pre-modern times as minister. Btw, the naming of the piece that is the bishop (Christian religious figure) is obviously a later Westernization.
digupagal digupagal 1/21/2016 08:15
Actually calling it "minister" or "Wazir" is apt since the piece does everything to protect its own king and attack the opponent's. I doubt the actual queen will do so much for the king in real battles.
IranianUser IranianUser 1/21/2016 06:49
Wazir (Arabic: وزير‎) is an official title, meaning minister in several West and South Asian languages. Its equivalent in English is vizier not Queen. And actually in arabic, persian, kurdish, ... we don't have a chess piece called Queen, We Call It Wazir (وزير‎).