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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Movie Review
MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA: From Bard to Worse
Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi and Arya Babbar
January 11, 2013 12:11:05 PM IST By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
Mandola is no Mandwa. Named after the rich zamindar or industrialist, this is a place where the peasants are under the thumb of Mandola (Pankaj Kapur). Mandwa is the gaon Vijay Dinanath Chauhan (Amitabh Bachchan) wanted back in honour of his slain father. So what is the similarity, or why am I drawing a parallel between these two? For the answer, read till the end.
Vishal Bhardwaj hammers out a film purely for the pseudo-intellectuals. With MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA, Bhardwaj entertains his alter-ego and he ensures that a reference to Shakespeare shouts out loud and clear. So much for the intellectuals!
But for the ordinary junta, for which the film is made, I guess, (correct me if I am wrong, Mr Bhardwaj), watching MKBKM is like trying to please the host at his party. But excuse me Mr Bhardwaj, the viewers have paid for this party and they have every right to be entertained, not cheated of their hard-earned money.
A visit to the multiplex, if you may want to know (I know you are too busy reading Shakespeare to know the dal-aate ka bhav) is quite taxing on the average middle-class, who ventures for some entertainment. Minimum fare for a single ticket is Rs 280. Add to that popcorn and some light snacks and it comes roughly to around Rs 400. I am not adding the travel cost here. Now if a family of six has entered the theatre, you know what the cost would be. If it is of any solace to you, let me tell you that at the special paid preview which I attended, a couple walked out mid-way, never to return!
Coming back to the movie, there is a Matru (Imran Khan), Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) and Mandola (Pankaj Kapur). Matru, I get to know has been hired by Mandola, an alcoholic, to keep a check on his drinking. But more often than not, they both end up getting punch drunk. Mandola also instigates the peasants to go against him at a public meeting during the night. When he is sober though, he is a different person altogether. But a pink bhais (cow) keeps coming in his line of vision and that is attributed to his craving for the chemical which he has stopped. So he hits the bottle yet again.
Bijlee is Mandola's daughter who is also a good friend of Matru. She is engaged to marry a politician's son Baadal (Arya Babbar). While the politician, Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi) is eyeing the huge farm land, Mandola too wants this open space to turn into an industrial hub. This marriage is of convenience. Bijlee realizes that Baadal is not meant for her. Baadal on the other hand knows what an alliance with Bijlee can do to his mother's coffers. There is also Mao, a gumnaam friend of the peasants, who fights for them.
This is the simple plot, but Bhardwaj confuses you. He serves you a delectable dish and wants you to eat it with your hand going behind your head and the fingers trying to push the food in. It can be quite taxing!
With nothing in the movie for you, you settle then to watch the actors. For me, Pankaj Kapur and Arya Babbar are the pick. Pankaj gets a wide platform to display his acting prowess and he does a swell job. Perfect timing, excellent expressions, never once does he let his guard down - be it as a drunk or sober Mandola.
Arya Babbar strips of whatever roles he has played so far and presents himself afresh. A delight to watch as the 'spoilt-to-the-core' rich brat who has the power of his mother by his side. It could have been easy for a lesser actor to ham all the way. But the Babbar boy makes it look swell!
Anushka Sharma is getting typecast. She is a good actor but watching her play the same roles in films after films is not doing justice to her potential.
The battle to gain Mandwa was interesting. The plot was simple with the late director Mukul Anand executing it with no Shakespearean influence. Bhardwaj too had a simplistic 80s plot. All he needed to do was give it straight on.
This I attribute to overconfidence. Look at it like this. A team needs one run to win. Nine wickets are gone with 6 balls remaining. Bhardwaj is at the crease. All he has to do is tap the ball and run for a single. So what does he do? At the very first ball he jumps down the crease and tries to hoist it out of the ground. Meanwhile, the wicket-keeper has dislodged his bails!