Director: Shoojit Sircar
What’s Good: An engrossing tale of Indian History which has been dumped in the pages of history, a tightly edited screenplay and some brilliant performances.
What’s Bad: There is no commercialism, the story is very dark; so the movie is not for the masses, it is for selected class of people who want to have a beautiful cinematic experience. Others will feel bored.
Loo break: None
Review: Seriously, it's time now to get off the "Chennai Express" and get into "Madras Cafe" for a cup of the entertainment. We need a reality check. And we need to regain a sense of history in Bollywood cinema which seems lost in the hustle-bustle of commercialism.
Films like Madras Cafe, Udaan, Lootera, Gangs Of Wasseypur, Dev D, Chak de, MNIK etc come rarely in our Bollywood cinema as these movies are not meant for all types of audiences and they are not counted under main stream cinema. But now it is time to shift the focus to main stream and wonderful cinematic piece of art called Madras cafe.
Heightened realism is a means to achieve a synthesis of fantasy and history in this deftly scripted semi-fictional account of the processes leading to Rajiv Gandhi's tragic assassination in 1991.
The tight script, co-written by Somnath Dey and Shubendu Bhattacharya, attempts and succeeds in building the beautiful piece of cinema '. I feel Indian politics is far more complex than other countires. Our cinema tends to dilute, simplify and trivialize history because we are much too wary of and lazy about getting involved.
John plays a RAW agent , Vikram with much ease. I would not hesitate to say that this would be perhaps John's career defining performance and he will be nominated for many awards this year for sure.
To understand the enormity of the story told in "Madras Cafe", the audience should be familiar with the violent history of the Sri Lankan civil war. But even if you don't know that thousands of Tamilians died in the war of separatism, it is no sweat off the screenplay's back.
Tucked away in the compelling creases of the plot is a terrific thriller about the assassination of a prime minister, who, let it be known, is not named in the film. Nor are the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), Prabakaran and the other key players.
But you can't escape the clutches of history. We know as we watch with helpless astonishment, that the 'Prime Minister' will die, that the hero in this case won't be able to save him.
Nargis plays the character of a corrospondent 'Jaya' and I must say that Nargis has improved her acting a lot after 'Rockstar'. As we all know 'Rockstar' was solely dependent on ranbir for its success, here it is not the case.
Nargis has a radiant presence on screen , I would not compare her to kareena or Priyanka but yes, she has a long way to go. One thing I found akward was ''Why does Jaya speak in English while Vikram answers in Hindi''?.
I mean I have seen some English channels also, when the host is speaking English and the person is answering in Hindi, the host begins to speak in hindi at once for two reasons- One , the person on the other side will not feel embarrassed and secondly, the hindi understanding people will get to hear their conversation a lot clearer.
Plenty of the credit for narration must go to Kamaljeet Negi's brilliantly unadorned cinematography, which locks in on stunning visuals of violence and espionage-related action without falling into the mistake of making the frames look prettier than the grim situation that they are meant to capture.
Sircar's editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati gives a documentary style mood to the movie. But the sense of cinematic expansiveness is retained as large frame cinema.
When a key character dies in the second-half, the tragedy is handled without fuss. John's power-packed performance gives the film a sense of tragic grandeur.
Shantanu Moitra's background music is exceptionally honest and is well versed with every scene specially in the violence capturing frames.
"Madras Cafe" is a dark deep and satisfying film about the politics of separatism. The film doesn't take anyone's side be it Sri Lanka or India. It is against the culture of violence that nations often feed into neighboring countries for their own gains. The overall morale which this film gives us is that violence is not the way to solve every problem, it only results in bitterness and loss of humanity from our society.
I would wonder that how can a director shift to movie like 'madras cafe' when he made a commercially viable film 'Vicky Donor'. I have to take a bow to Sirojit for this. Although Vicky donor was also based on a completely different subject but still it was meant for everyone and was a commercial movie.
Madras cafe is a completely different genre and is not meant for everyone. I would request the critics not to rate the movie according to commercial factors, these types of movies are rare to find in today's world where we only talk about 100 crs and 200 crs. Today even a non sense movie with a bigger star cast is earning 100 crs but we have to understand that earning 100 cr is not a parameter of a film's success.
Watch or not:- Madras Cafe is a film with a gritty, convincing and engrossing plot that will revel in its ability to leave you with an uneasy and helpless feeling!..GO WATCH IT NOW!!
Last word:- This is cinema signifying a coming-of-age with unforgettable visuals and drama and a rousing mature career-defining performance by its leading man.
So, Get off the train, baby. This is arguably the best political thriller that Bollywood has so far given us.
I would recommend everyone to go to your nearest theater to watch this movie and appreciate the India cinema in a true sense and feel proud to say that Bollywood is also growing to world class standards in terms of wonderful cinematic experience.
Final Verdict:- Its a masterpiece!!