Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: Review [3/5]

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Directed by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Actors: Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Aarya Babbar
Rating: 3/5

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola [MKBKM] is a shock when you consider the movie in a Vishal Bhardwaj frame. But then, widening the angle will give you the man’s perspective on the issues of a small hinterland. MKBKM has been in Bollywood news ever since Bhardwaj expressed his interest in directing a comedy. And this is comedy served in his flavor, with a wacky “anti-smoking” message at the start on the lines of the one we saw in Barfi!

MKBKM has its basic plot circuited around land-mafia operations by filthy rich-politicians-bureaucrats nexus which is very rustic in its approach. Pankaj Kapoor, plays the role of Mr. Harry Mandola to perfection. Imran Khan is Matru, and above the average he usually does and Anushka  is Bijlee, who again gets her type of role of playing a chirpy, casual girl, which she indeed portrays brilliantly. Shabana Azmi plays the role of a Devi ji, a minister in the govt. of Haryana and Aarya Babbar plays her son, Baadal.

Mr. Mandola is a rich landlord of a village in Haryana that is named after him. The villagers are angry at his land acquisition plan and demand their land to be free. Matru wants to free his villagers of all their debts and protect his village from all the pressure-tactics of the banks and bureaucrats to give away the village farms at throw-away prices.  Bijlee is betrothed to Baadal and this alliance is done by Devi ji – Mr. Mandola to satisfy each other’s need of power and money. Mr. Mandola wants the minister to pass the villagers land as barren and hence he would be able to develop it as a Special Economic Zone. Ms. Devi wants the money which Mr. Mandola preserves in the shape of a huge castle, a private aircraft and airbase among other luxuriant possession. The villagers keep receiving anonymous letters to guide them through the situation, all signed ‘Mao’. Eventually it is discovered that Matru is playing Mao to save the village from the oncoming crisis. Meanwhile, Bijlee discovers her love for Matru and the plot gets a love story. The situation would have kept going messier and the movie darker if Mr. Mandola would not have been there. Mr. Mandola suffers from Dual-personality, one which he is and the other he becomes after drinking. Mr. Mandola starts to see Pink Buffalos whenever he’s not drunk, which is most probably a symbol of his constant greed and lust for more wealth and power, which will come at the cost of the villagers. And this dual-persona gives the movie its lift and a climax with an end which gets a bit predictable somehow.

MKBKM has its moments which tickle you and certain satires that make you think. Sample this: A heavily drunk Mr. Mandola takes Matru on a ‘night walk’ in his aircraft and manages to crash it. Media gathers to cover the big news of a ‘UFO crash’ and the reporters ‘sensationalize’ their voice to convey their seriousness. They interview a blind boy, who’s the sole ‘eye-witness’ of the crash in his village and the reporter asks him how the UFO looked, while the boy keeps complaining about his indigestion and a lost underwear.

Pankaj Kapoor deserves every word of the praise for the class of work he has pulled off. Clinton Cerejo-Simaab Sen’s music, Vishal Bhardwaj’s research and Gulzar’s lyrics successfully give the movie its required authenticity and compliments the pace and plot of the movie.

Overall the movie manages to do okay, sometimes feeling too long in its 2 hours 20 minutes of runtime. But then, the director’s name is Vishal!