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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review

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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Banner:Fox Star Studios and VB Pictures Production
Cast:Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Arya Babbar, Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi
Direction:Vishal Bhardwaj
Production:Vishal Bhardwaj, Kumar Mangat Pathak
Music:Vishal Bhardwaj
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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review - 'No Drinking' after 'No Smoking'

  [Saturday, January 12, 2013]
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Starting from the very title, the film ends up giving wrong indications. If this was meant to be funny, it indeed was. However the film isn't, and this is where the core issue lies.

For a film that didn't even hint of anything around land grabbing as it's core subject and instead focused on Anushka Sharma coming out of a pond and Pankaj Kapur interacting with a 'Gulaabi Bhains', the message was around 'Hey look, we are making a quirky film'. Fair enough, as long as you give us that! However, in his endeavour of breaking rules, Vishal Bhardwaj ends up creating a lengthy film which turns out to be pointless within its first 15 minutes!

In terms of inspiration, the film pretty much traverses close to three decades. Whether it was 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron' or 'Shanghai', the core issue was centred on powers-to-be working hand-in-hand with builders and making money out of the construction/land deals. While former was a largely comic affair, latter was dramatic. However 'Matru Ki Bijlee...' is none. It turns out to be a mess which doesn't see any redemption whatsoever.

Guess this wasn't quite detected at the writing stage itself and that could well be the reason why Imran and Anushka found themselves in the middle of this film which was basically entirely about Pankaj Kapur and his character. With a little bit of tweaking, they could well have turned this entire tale around and marketed it as 'Maqbool 2'. Really, it would have been a marketing genius and found the film a much better target audience than it currently does.

In this royal mishmash of affairs, just about everything ends up going entirely wrong. In fact it is tough to start counting them all but the ones that come on the top of the mind are the ones that just cannot be ignored.

(Spoilers ahead) Arya Babbar brings home a bunch of African Zulu tribals as slaves and one can be dead sure that Vishal perhaps wanted to make a statement on Capitalism here, though with not much effect. Pankaj Kapur has hired Imran Khan as a driver and suddenly they are riding a private plane into the skies with no sense or purpose whatsoever. Wait, there is more. Imran is projected as a covert Maoist leader but it is all so haphazardly placed in the film that you wonder if it was meant to be comical or serious!

However the biggest howler of them all has to be the weird characterisation that Shabana Azmi ends up earning in a career lasting four decades! Her speech around why she intends to be in the power has to go down as the most theatrical ever in a film set up. Watch it to believe it. Actually she makes it two on a row when during the 'mehendi' ceremony she dances along with Arya while spilling out the secrets. Come one now, why make it so quirky just because you 'want' to be quirky!

Meanwhile Pankaj Kapur's drinking problems take too much space and time which end up repelling you quite early in the day. His fight with the inner demons, 'ek insaan mein do insaan' syndrome and his many encounters with the 'Gulabi Bhains' are a complete no-show, especially during the dying moments of the film. In the middle of this all, Imran tries to keeps a straight face right through the instructions being meted out to him. Hats off to him just for this very attempt! Anushka keeps herself oblivious of the weirdness around her and does what she has mastered already i.e. play a chirpy girl.

Absurdity of the highest order - That's what you get to evidence in 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' which is easily the weirdest film ever to hit the Indian screens since 'No Smoking'. If that film was about the evils of smoking, this one has the messaging of 'no drinking' being pretty much on the face.

While that film was miles away from reality of any kind, this movie carries a pretence of being set in reality but then yet again gets stuck in it's metaphorical references that are best understood by the filmmaker and his writing team. As for the actors, it would be no wonder if they too actually followed all they were required to do.

Rating: *

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