Siddharth Koirala as Anwar
Anwar is a quiet, sensitive Muslim youth in his early twenties. He views the world, under tutelage from his mentor, Master Pasha, in a romantic light, far removed from the pace of modern life in India. Inevitably, as he faces a far harsher reality, it creates the conflict that ultimately drives Anwar. It is his journey that the film follows.
Nauheed Cyrusi as Mehru
Mehru is the love of Anwar’s life. Through the film, her constant effort is to battle the status quo placed upon Muslim women- manifested most clearly in her desire to leave India for a better life. She, of all the characters, best represents the generation of middle-class Indians caught between tradition and the irresistible onset of globalization.
Manish Koirala as Anita
Anita is a hard-nosed, principled journalist for one of the leading television channels in the country, reporting on the controversial situation which forms the basis for large parts of the film’s narrative. In addition to the strange situation and even stranger people that she finds herself covering, Anita is also grappling for control over a personal life gone awry- all the while chasing the scoop of her career.
Hiten Tejwani as Udit
Udit is Anwar’s closest friend. He is also the more pragmatic of the two. He understands how the world works and what he must do to get along. But, like most of the other characters in the film, Udit is overwhelmed by Fate, and the strange illogic that governs the other India that lives inside the modern, moderate India.
Vijay Raaz as Master Pasha
Master Pasha is an artist and a theatrical genius who has turned his back on the world after the death of his one true love. As an artist, he has surrendered himself to the world-he now begs for a living, turning it into the highest from of performance. He is also Anwar’s mentor-inculcating in him his deep love of architecture and of classical art; and instructing him on love and life.
Rajpal Yadav as Gopinath
Gopinath is the embodiment of small-town India. Quirky, confused, paranoid, street-smart, a senior journalist for a C-grade newspaper in a sleepy town in North India, he is, above all, constantly looking for the one break that will provide him the escape route out into the big cities. One fine morning, while still in Dholpur, the opportunity falls into his lap.
Yashpal Sharma as S.P Tiwari
S.P. Ashok Tiwari is one of the most balanced portraits of an Indian Police Officer in recent times. On one hand an efficient, ruthlessly hard man in complete control of any situation at hand; on the other, a loving father and husband. Over the course of the film, however, the SP is placed in a situation where the lines between his work and his personal life become increasingly blurred…
Sudhir Pandey as Minister
The Minister completes the entirety of the Indian Experience — the rabble-rousing, schizophrenic Indian Politician. Taking advantage of the situation handed to him, the Minister begins to play the people, the entire town and eventually, the entire country for sympathy that might translate into votes, unleashing a generic wave of casual violence … all the while trying to grapple with a discreetly disintegrating personal life.
Anwar is the story of a young man, an artist, who leaves his home and everything he knows in order to escape a world he no longer recognizes. All he ever wanted was a love story, Instead, his mentor abandons him and his best friend and his one true love betray him. Devastated, emotionally exhausted, he takes refuge in an old building, only to wake up the next morning to find his world turned upside down. Mistaken for a terrorist, Anwar finds himself in the midst of an unusual set of circumstances that resonate deeply with the modern Indian Condition and indeed with the Human Condition in this present-day global village. Surrounded on all sides by a host of characters who try and engineer the situation to their profit, Anwar becomes the central character upon which the others base their hopes and their deepest desires. A rabble-rousing Minister pitching for the popular vote; two journalists; one a nationally renowned TV reporter and the other a small-town scribe, looking to resurrect their careers and, as a consequence, their lives; a priest whose only concern is the maintenance of the status quo; and a senior police officer who only wants to leave, but must first resolve the situation… in any way he can. Through them, and through the other stories weaving in and out of the film, we discover a huge love story, plastered against the canvas that is India. And that, above all, is what Anwar is about. About the simple human need to connect, to love and to be loved, and to believe…
But now remains Faith, Hope, Love, these three…
And the greatest of these is love.