Friday, 11 January 2013

Review Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola : Yeh Khamakha Nahin

Director Vishal Bhardwaj

Starring Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi, Arya Babbar

The name kept us guessing for long. Then the promos came. And I was expecting a mad ride, gulabi bhains et al.

Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) is a drunkard industrialist with a mansion in a village somewhere in Haryana. Limousine, Mercedes and even a Bentley are the cars he has to traverse through the dusty village roads of Mandola, named after him. His man friday Matru (Imran Khan) is there to drive him, and also make sure Harry doesn't drink beyond 4 pegs of his favorite Gulabo. Harry has a daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) who emerges out of a village pond wearing the skimpiest of "chaddi Baniyaan" while the crowd whistles. She is tattooed and wears her rebel attitude on errrmm her sleeve.

Harry is colluding with the corrupt as rusty nails CM (Shabana Azmi) to take the land from the farmers and "Develop" it in to a SEZ. There is then, the impending marriage of Bijlee with Badal, the dolt of a son of the CM played by Arya Babbar.

There is one small problem though. Harry is Haria. Haria comes out when Harry gets drunk. Harry the English speaking cunning business brain and Haria who leads a revolution against himself up to his doorsteps. This is known to Matru, who exploits his weakness to try and turn the tables on the evil plans of the CM.

Pankaj Kapur, my favorite actor who can change the dynamics of a scene with a blink of his eye, a soft word thrown in... who has time and again proven what a pleasure he is to watch. This film will go down as an ode to Pankaj Kapur's acting genius. He plays Mandola with so much honesty, you can not but love every scene he is part of. From a cruel businessman who celebrates the juggernaut of development and end of the green fields, to a drunk Haria who takes a glider out on a "night walk", he is an act to relish.

Shabana Azmi as the corrupt politician is in form too. Imran and Anushka play their parts with much enthusiasm though sometimes they are feeling out of place and it shows. Arya Babbar actually pulls off a convincing act and is fun to watch in some scenes.

The film has a trippy and theatrical feel to it. The best scenes are set up as stage pieces and the sur is perfect. Vishal has taken an extremely relevant subject and given it a spin that is delicious when he gets it right. But the whole film doesn't become one smooth ride. Lot of bumps on the way.

Vishal seems to be having a lot of indulgent fun as he goes from one situation to another. Some shine with genuine mirth spouting out of the strong satirical statement he is trying to make. Last year, there was Shanghai dealing with a similar subject which I did not like much. My favorite film in this genre of dark humor and acidic satire remains Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

I saw a bit of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron in this, which is a great thing, specially the climax where the Mahabharat scene kind of madness is there. But where JBDY won, MKBKM fails. Maintaining the "Sur". You lose the sur of your story, it all falls down. The mix of crazy flights of satirical fancy and almost a documentary like feel at times, made it a bit of struggle to love this film as a whole.

The love story of Matru and Bijlee is what could have been a perfect foil to the corrupt alliance between Mandola and the power hungry CM, sadly it is not explored fully. Bijlee's character is so confused, that you do not feel anything for her. Which is a big problem over all in this film. Despite the intention, the farcical treatment at times leaves you unmoved.

There are many gaping loopholes in the film and some of them can not be overlooked just because everything is so whimsical.

The film picks up pace in the last act, by then you have really strained your patience.

I would say watch it for Pankaj Kapur if you are a die hard fan, and some moments of Vishal's ingenuity as a director.

My Rating 2.5/5

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