Madras Café is Simply Superb!
Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna, Siddhartha Basu, Ajay Ratnam, Prakash Belawadi
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Looking at the promos, I realised that the film was about Sri Lanka, India and the LTTE. I was not too keen on watching it as I thought it would be full of violence. I wondered why they wanted to dig up the past and irritate the world.
But when Venkat said he was going, Vignesh joined in and I decided to go with them. I am glad that I did. We went for the 11 pm show at Cinemax on Saturday night.
Major Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is in the Indian Army. When the Indian Peacekeeping Force is compelled to withdraw from Sri Lanka during the civil war, RAW Chief Robin Dutt (Siddhartha Basu) appoints Vikram as a special officer for RAW. Vikram is to go to Sri Lanka on a secret operation to find out what’s going on. Vikram’s wife (Rashi Khanna) is terribly upset and scared about her husband’s mission. Jaya (Nargis Fakhri) is an Indian-born journalist based in London. She is also at Jaffna to get information on the civil war. Anna Bhaskaran (Ajay Ratnam) is the leader of LTF (read LTTE) rebels. He’s ruthless and determined.
The spy thriller goes on to show a plot to assassinate the ex-Prime Minister of India. While the film is fictional, it is obviously based on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
I was worried that the film will be very violent considering that it’s based on the LTTE and Sri Lankan civil war. While there were a few scenes depicting this – they were absolutely necessary – the film has been too well made.
John Abraham as Major Vikram Singh is good. While John is not a great actor, he has done his best in this one. This role did not require much acting and hence did not tax the actor too much.
The role of a London based journalist suited Nargis Fakhri perfectly. She did not have to undergo a gamut of expressions and had to predominantly speak in only English - just perfect for the actress.
So, I suppose it was a casting coup as well as Shoojit Sircar’s directorial skills that made a success of these two characters.
Rashi Khanna is tearful in the few scenes that she appears in. Not too bad, I suppose.
I have seen Ajay Ratnam play the villain in a few Tamil films. In this one, he plays the role of the stony-faced LTF leader Anna Bhaskaran. He was good.
Siddhartha Basu is known best as a quiz master. He is also the producer of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Basu has turned towards acting for the first time in Madras Café. He plays the role of RAW Chief Robin Dutt. He has done an excellent job of his role and has proved that he can turn his hand at just about anything - something commendable for one who has begun his acting career at 59. Congratulations Siddhartha Basu!
Prakash Belawadi is another actor who definitely deserves a mention. He plays the role of Balakrishnan who is Vikram’s senior at Jaffna. He was very good.
The film itself has been tightly scripted and keeps one hooked throughout. Running for 2 hours and 10 minutes without a single song, the movie has been edited precisely without any part of it dragging unnecessarily. One has to congratulate Chandrashekhar Prajapati for editing the film so well.
A final Congratulations to Director Shoojit Sircar for delivering an interesting spy thriller after the hilarious and thought-provoking Vicky Donor.
VERDICT: The film was simply superb!