Film Review: Madras Cafe

Shoojit Sircar’s film is a political thriller that takes itself seriously and allows you to take it seriously. This movie review doesn’t contain spoilers

bollywood-madras-cafe-posterMadras Cafe is a Hindi movie that has nothing to do with Eid, Diwali, Ganpati, star power. It is a political thriller that isn’t adulterated with romance, and it doesn’t have songs for the masses to hum. Madras Cafe is that rare Hindi film which has nothing in common with the Bollywood fare that is thrown at you every week.

Madras Cafe is about the LTTE (LTF in the movie), why they plotted the assassination of Indian ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, how they executed their plan, and how a few men unsuccessfully tried to stop it.

A peace force is dispatched from India to Sri Lanka to restore calm before the upcoming elections, but the Senalese, who have been wiping out ethnic Tamils, are now constantly being attacked by the LTF – a Tamilian militant outfit created by Anna Bhaskaran (remember LTTE chief Prabhakaran?), and John Abraham, RAW’s most efficient agent, finds himself in Jaffna.

nargis-fakhri-in-madras-cafe-movieIt’s hard to get over how unlike everything else in Bollywood this film is. Shoojit Sircar is an excellent director, and I came out of my hiatus to watch Madras Cafe only because I loved Vicky Donor (read my review of that movie here), and I’m happy to tell you Madras Cafe has no songs, no heroes flexing their biceps and thrashing twenty goons at a time, no flying cars… you get it, but let me go on… nobody’s trying to be witty or macho, and there isn’t even a hint of the possibility of a love angle. Nargis Fakhri (read my review of her film Rockstar here) is a journalist, and nothing happens between her and John Abraham… they don’t even seem remotely interested in flirting or even smiling at each other. Madras Cafe is all about the story, and because of the way it has been told, written, edited and directed, is what you should watch if you’re interested in seeing a Hindi movie that doesn’t embarrass you in any way. It’s a fictional story that takes place in a dark chapter of Indian history.

john-abraham-madras-cafeI tip my hat to John Abraham for, despite being very much a part of Bollywood, having the balls to not make Madras Cafe “salable” at the box office. This is his second triumph as a producer and perhaps his first as an actor (read my review of his action flick Force here). Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Cafe is a film that takes itself seriously and allows you to take it seriously.

RATING: 3.5/5

READ: An update about my band Solar Deity’s new album Devil Worship on Eight Octaves

6 Responses to “Film Review: Madras Cafe”

  1. August 24, 2013 at 06:22

    Did you see Yahaan? It was a brilliant movie. Sircar’s first as a director.


  2. 4 Sourav Das
    August 26, 2013 at 09:20

    Madras Cafe leads you towards the exit of the hall with a sad face and in a dolorous mood. Yes, Shoojit Sircar has directed in a way that makes you believe that our Ex-PM was assassinated meanwhile you were watching and not years back but neither John (R & A.W agent) nor you would be able to stop that and both left restless and then helpless.
    Kamaljeet Negi’s cinematography involves you too in the war scenario ; willingly or unwillingly you became a part of the ongoing civil war i.e the very plot; Indian intervention in the Sri Lanka’s civil war between the Sinhalese, the ethnic army and the LTF.

    Do your homework before stepping into 130 minutes of your job as a RAW Agent as gathering some knowledge on the facts is a must for watching this never before attempted approach in bollywood of portraying a real war story on reel.

    Shantanu Moitra’s music was befitting and at times also accelerates your heart’s beat rate.

    Though there are new faces but the complete team has done justice to the roles they were given.
    With all so positive about, one could ignore the FAQ about the HINGLISH conversation between our agent and the war correspondent(Nargis Fakhri).
    This is a no Hindi Masala Movie and is a must watch for everyone.
    I will let go Madras Cafe with no less than 41/2 on 5.


  3. August 31, 2013 at 18:47

    What a shit movie this was. I have to disagree with you Aditya; different topic as far as Bollywood originality but delivered in an extremely childish manner. Why all the English words for even simple expressions? Dumbing it down for the masses, huh? What need for that Fakhri babe? Couldn’t you have slotted in any desi journo chick in her place..of course you’d miss out on the white factor then. And did you see the playboy bunny-like costumes in the journo’s UK office?

    Horrible dialogue, non existent character development and just terrible, terrible pacing. John Abraham may look rough and tough but he has fuckall for body language and punch in delivery. Fuck Bollywood and everything it craps out of its gangrenous asshole.


  4. September 3, 2013 at 14:01

    Gangrenous asshole?
    That’s a new one.


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