By Shevaal Singh [@being_shevaal ]
In the middle of a lot of disputes and protests ‘Madras Cafe’ hits our screen with a lot of speculation. This film is Bollywood’s endeavour in creating a political thriller and director Shoojit Sircar has not disappointed his audience yet again. In this riveting action thriller John Abraham plays an Indian Army special officer named Vikram Singh, appointed as a RAW agent who is posted into a civil war stricken Sri Lanka in the late 80s and early 90s. While Nargis Fakhri is an overseas war correspondent from Britain, Rashi Khanna plays Vikram’s wife who struggles with her emotions and tremendously fears about the safely of Vikram. The first thing that strikes you about ‘Madras Cafe’ is it’s expert cinematography and tight storyline. In an age of loud action sequences from the Rohit Shetty genre- the enormously subtle sequences have been shot with vivacity by Kamaljeet Negi. He has made sure that the movie does not lose focus from the persistent and stern attitude that it has been shot with from the first scene. The visuals are attractively solidified. You will however get the feel of Blood Diamond while watching Madras Café
The action shots are aggressive enough to show the devastation that Sri Lanka faced during those years of struggle between the states but they never become exhausting or gross. The dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi are fresh , to the point and steering clear of the idea that serious cinema in India needs foul language to be accepted just so. The movie has no filmi aspects within the story .The narration of the movie could have also been done away with as the screenplay was self-explanatory. John Abraham was the powerhouse of Madras Café and he was perfectly casted, Nargis was out of her comfort zone, as she made her debut as a much more subtle character in Rockstar , 2011. Rashi Khanna’s role as Vikram Singh’s wife is direct and superficial, and does not allow any heartrending space for the young actress to prove her ability. The background score is not overwhelming and the only song in the movie is towards the end, which does not weaken the cinema experience. Shantanu Moitra has done a good job by providing the right kind of soundtracks for the drama as well as action sequences of the film. The stylist of the movie has also played down the glamour bit B -Town is associated with.
The second half of the movie moves unpredictably faster and the plot that was just set in the first half disentangles swiftly. The research is impeccably done about the events but it lacks in the army, intelligence and political etiquettes. Despite small flaws, ‘Madras Cafe’ confidently steps forward as a film in a genre that has not been worked with before in Bollywood. The movie works in various ways portraying human sorrow for the lack of political compassion. It also paces ahead in terms of serious drama without the melodrama that Indian audiences are always so used to. ‘Madras Cafe’ is a must watch for those tired of clichéd plots and over the top senseless dialogues and want more of powerful and impactful cinema on screen. Madras Café gets an 8/10 for its brilliant Cinematography, great editing and it’s no nonsense approach to action thrillers of Indian Cinema.