25 August, 2013

Madras Cafe : Scintillating Menu

If Vicky donor was the entre’ course, then Madras Cafe is a fitting main served by the master-chef Shoojit Sircar. 
His is the Cafe I shall like to visit again and again.

Hindi Cinema has the sole distinction of being largely just an entertaining medium, very rarely does it takes one down the thinking road with serious cinema and finally revisiting a chapter in history or the recent past has never been its forte ever.

It has been attempted earlier but consistently has degenerated into flamboyant fiction, jingoism or a plain twisting the facts exercise to suit the market. I won’t take names here as this is the crime one cannot accuse this director of. He has walked across one of the darkest chapters in the history of India and Sri Lanka ( one that unfolded for India in 1987 and climaxed on May 21, 1991 at Sri Perumbudur ) boldly and faithfully; without making any comment of his own, a judgement call or taking sides. It is masterfully done. The story is the star of the show. Somnath Dey and Shubhendu Bhattacharya can take a bow. This is the kind of cinema where it does not truly matter who plays the characters because the script is that powerful and written that way.

  It begins with the Sri Lankan Tamils seeking their freedom under the aegis of Anna Bhaskaran (Ajay Rathnam, perfectly cast and on the ball) and his army of revolutionaries called the LTF. The India – Sri Lanka peace accord signed between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the wily Sri Lankan President Junius Jayewardene makes the backdrop for the Indian Peace Keeping Force to enter the scene and spoil the pudding further. Overt war fails and in steps the Indian RAW ( Research & Analysis Wing ) who have their men in place and to understand and exploit the situation better begin a covert operation under Major Vikram Singh ( John Abraham, understated and credible ). He lands in Jaffna the epicentre of the war and encounters a London based Indian journalist covering the war (Nargis Fakri, doing a Jennifer Connelly from Blood Diamond. and does a much better job than her previous film with Ranbir Kapoor). Siddarth Basu is the head of RAW and is a pleasure to watch, he deftly underplays his role to maximum impact. The movie moves at a brisk pace with plots within plots and hurtling towards an eventual end congruently. The actors depicting the men on the field, the Jaffna based RAW men or the Sri Lankan Tamils are all first rate and look completely believable in their roles. This movie enables one to see totally different realities that have credible frames of references when viewed from either side. John’s character mouths a terrible truth “One man’s revolutionary is another man’s terrorist”.

This movie has to be recognized for the path it charts and kudos to John Abraham the producer for the just use of star power. The whole behind the scenes team should feel proud for a job superbly executed be it Shantanu Moitra and the entire Sound Design team headed by Bishwadeep Chatterjee, or Kamaljeet Negi whose lens creates the depth in a frame that draws a viewer into the plot and location. Any cinema that blends the cerebral and the aesthetic becomes a thoroughly engrossing experience. The Indian audience may not yet be ready to handle history in a manner where the names don’t have to be changed and till that day dawns an over-laid “story over reality” format is the best employable golden mean to walk this route. 

2 comments:

Soul Images said...

Very well captured Kau. Loved the review as much as I loved the film. The story is the hero of the film, indeed. And Shoojit Sircar serves up a dish worth spending time and money on.
Kudos to John Abraham, who seems to be doing the off beat and better job with production. His films are surely deeper than the ones he starred in as a hero.

Bashir Ahmad said...

Watch Madras CAFE HD Quality