Drunken men, cuss words, a hamlet with problems aplenty - Vishal Bhardwaj brings back many old tricks in 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'. However, sadly for moviegoers, this isn't his boastful best. Thundering performances still manage to make the film work, but just about.
What’s it about?
'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' is a political-comedy that has Matru (Imran Khan), Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) and Harry/Harish Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) in the lead roles. The story unfolds in a small village (also called Mandola) situated somewhere in Haryana, where a corrupt politician (Shabana Azmi) along with Mandola tries to sell farmer land to the government by including them in the Special Economic Zone. The village is on construction magnet Mandola's radar and he hopes to build factories and shopping malls there to make millions. A monkey wrench is thrown into their scheming plans when an unknown person, Mao, comes to rescue the villagers. In the midst of it all, a high-profile wedding, a clouded love story and a pink buffalo (Gulabo) add flavor to the narrative.
Kapur as Mandola gets two thumbs up from us. From the first scene itself, the actor shines. His drunken madness, that includes flying a plane to organizing a revolt against the industrialist, are some of the best moments of the film.
We don’t entirely blame Bhardwaj for Imran. He might have suceeded in turning Nawab Saif into Langda Tyagi in ‘Omkara’, but history always doesn’t repeat itself. Imran isn't entirely to blame (he definitely looks the part of a Haryanvi jat) as Matru’s character isn't convincing enough. For most of the film, his agenda remains unclear and when it does present itself, it isn’t strong enough. Anushka stays true to her character's name in the film and creates a spark on screen with her presence. Like in all her earlier films, she is loud, looks good and sways her hips enough, and adds glamour to the proceedings.
Shabana Azmi is funny and it is a treat to watch her doing something entirely new. Some of her scenes with Kapur will put a grin on your face that will stay there long after the film's ended. Arya Babbar as Badal is also a part of the ensemble, but only for comedy's sake and he serves the purpose. As for Gulabo, both the beverage and the buffalo add the much-needed liveliness to the story.
An array of remarkable characters seem to go unnoticed because of a shoddy screenplay. It seems Bhardwaj got so busy developing his characters that he forgot to pay more attention to the story. The yarn is dull and the second half feels stretched. A crucial character like Mao isn't given enough screentime, and while Bhardwaj strives to make a political statement, the lunacy of the proceedings dumbs the message down.
What to do?
‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ isn’t one of Bhardwaj’s best works. Watch the film for a brilliant performance by Pankaj Kapur and your love for all that's pink!
in.com rating- 2/5
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