Madaari

madaari-poster

Madaari
Release date: July 22, 2016
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Vishesh Bansal, Jimmy Shergill, Tushar Dalvi, Nitesh Pandey

In a world filled with corruption, and its consequences on the creatures inhabiting it; Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan Khan) decides to ask the questions which no one can or hasn’t bothered asking yet. The incident which stemmed a major plot point of the film was a sad one, and yet it passed by unnoticeably. A slab of the then under construction Mumbai metro bridge had collapsed and caused the death of at least one immigrant site worker.

Home minister Prashant Goswami (Tushar Dalvi) finds that his son Rohan (Vishesh Bansal) is kidnapped from his boarding school in Dehradun. With no direct clues to give away any answers, he hires Nachiket Verma (Jimmy Shergill) to solve the case. Nachiket decides that the whole operation should be carried out in a covert manner, so that the general public wouldn’t feel unsafe and uphold the sanctity of the government by not letting the news out to the TV audiences.

Nirmal is a mystical figure for a long part, often slipping in and out of costumes to keep up with his act of vigilantism. More details about his origins are carefully strewn around the screenplay to build up a sympathetic backstory for him. He wishes to bring the system to answer the questions which often remain unanswered.

Much like the film’s poster, Irrfan Khan towers above the rest of the film’s cast and other departments. He overshadows the campy background score, the caricaturish depiction of politicians, the tiredness induced by the tardy pace of the film towards the last act and an apparent overall substandard production value. He refuses to revel in a Hollywood afterglow, unlike quite a few other compatriots who fail to ground themselves back to the Indian-ness of their characters in Hindi films after tasting the Californian waters.

Jimmy Shergill is a dependable hand as the narrowly confusing top cop Nachiket. He becomes sidelined when the film ceases to be a cat-and-mouse chase between the two sides of the fence in the post interval half. The abductee Rohan, played Vishesh Bansal is a very (generally) savvy seven year old, who is, like many other kids of the same age, well aware of things beyond his years. It’s charming to see that certain amount of smart alecky display, but grating when he talks of Stockholm Syndrome, only to break the fourth wall in an implicit way to make the viewers feel, “Yeah, hey, look! Shades of Stockholm! The kid said it himself!”

With his very diverse film repertoire, Nishikant Kamat’s attempt at a desi V for Vendetta, sans the Guy Fawkes masks and a deep politically philosophical commentary, is an entertaining watch but not without its flaws. Who needs a mask when you’ve got Irrfan in such fine form though?

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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