Let me remind at the very outset that if you are not an ardent follower of international politics or history then you are in the wrong cinema hall to watch a movie where you would either keep gaping at the scenic locales of Sri Lanka or doze off to sleep by interval. Madras Cafe, Shoojit Sircar’s third outing after a terrific Yahaan and enjoyable Vicky Donor, speaks about one of the most talked about conspiracy theories of Indian political history. The Sri Lankan civil war and assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
Vikram(John Abraham) is sent to Sri Lanka on a covert operation where he is entrusted with a responsibility of splitting the LTF(read LTTE) so that the Indian Govt’s decision to deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Sri Lanka does not turn out to be a wrong one. As Vikram goes deeper into the land torn by civil war, he starts realizing that the whole war, peace keeping operation and infact his very own operation is just a part of a conspiracy. The rest of the story is about how Vikram’s life gets entangled and his battle to expose the conspiracy.
According to me there are 2 clear winners in Madras Cafe. The story and the dialogues. Story written by Somnath Dey and Shubendu Bhattacharya is simply fantastic. Add to it the acidic dialogues written by Juhi Chaturvedi make the movie an intelligent movie-goers choice. Coming down to performances, I must admit that John Abraham(who is also the producer of the movie), gives his heart to the role of Vikram. His expressions, body language and his screen presence is simply top notch. Nargis Fakhri who plays the role of a British journo has limited scope. Siddhartha Basu as RAW chief springs a surprise with his restrained performance. Praveen Belawadi as a RAW officer is superb. Watch out for his scenes with John where he simply steals the scene with his dialogues. Shoojit Sircar has done a brilliant job in doing justice to a highly sensitive subject and you can definitely see the glimpses of his brilliance in many scenes. Minor hiccups of the movie include multiple voice-overs which might confuse the viewers and also the length of the movie.
I would say Madras Cafe is a must watch for all the cine goers who thought Bollywood was incapable of producing a espionage thriller. Never has Hindi cinema seen such a suave handling of a political subject that too at a feverish pace. I do not know if Madras Cafe will be a box office success or not, but it would surely go down as one of Indian cinema’s much appreciated works.