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MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA - Forces me to raise a question that 'Who is the Target Audience here for the makers?' (Review by Bobby Sing)
10 Jan, 2013 | Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / M

Tags like unconventional subjects, interesting casting, melodious music, meaningful lyrics, bold execution and honest attempt have been associated with director Vishal Bhardwaj since his first mainstream attempt MAQBOOL in 2003. The multi-talented man also rightly deserves all these praises as he has never made a film particularly aiming at the box office success and has just followed his inner vision or instinct for his choice of projects.

Following the same passion, this time Vishal comes up with a political satire/comedy MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA, (a genre never tried before by him) with another inviting ensemble of cast delightfully lead by the veteran Pankaj Kapoor from the front. But unfortunately apart from the character of MANDOLA and few entertaining moments in the film, MKBKM frankly remains more of a director’s self indulgence in his own world of visions than a thoroughly entertaining venture for the audience.
Beginning with an electrifying sequence of a Limousine standing in the middle of crop fields, it straight away raises your expectations which soon get washed away by an abrupt song sung by Sukhwinder, picturised on Pankaj Kapoor. And from here onwards you get the clear indication that it’s a more like a Stage-Play or Nautanki kind of style adapted by Vishal here with performances moving into the zone of ‘Being Loud’ (and not over the top) at several places. No doubt, the kind of narration is not everyone’s cup of tea keeping in mind the taste of Indian audience. Yet the occasional hilarious moments, the witty one liners using the cuss words and the key performances might offer you something to cheer for in this experimental attempt by the thoughtful director.
Giving you the few merits of the film, it has the signature touch of Vishal all over as a comedy which works only at certain places. However as a social satire, the team rightly brings forwards many important issues of the country highlighting the sad position of Indian farmers and their problems such as less electricity, land-grabbing by leading businessmen or political big-shots and lack of proper storage facilities which can save them in the time of untimely rough weather. Still all these social elements served with the added humor are not able to serve the purpose strongly and fail to make any solid impact on the viewer as desired. And that is the reason MKBKM keeps hanging in the mid, giving you a mixed kind of feeling in the end which might not be a surprise for many (remembering Vishal’s last 7 KHOON MAAF). As the biggest merit of the film, one can easily name ‘The MANDOLA Act’ superbly played by Pankaj Kapoor, who once again reminds the Industry, the due status deserved by him from long. In fact to make it pretty clear here, this is all about MANDOLA alone and has very less to do with any MATRU or BIJLI as conveyed in its title.
The film works in its initial moments till one is not aware of what is actually there in its storyline or content. But as the things gets revealed and you get to know that its nothing path-breaking as far as the plot is concerned and has got the same old predictable traces of love and revolt (reminding of MACBETH too), then one starts losing his interest and expects the least. Interestingly the basic theme of the film also seems to be the same as in a German Comedy Play “Mr. Puntila and His Man Matti” written by Bertolt Brecht in 1940. And looking at the track record of Vishal Bhardwaj its quite possible that he adapted the famous play for MKBKM, though this was never mentioned anywhere by the team.
Further adding to its weak points, the first half has many long & deliberately added sequences like the “Joy ride in the sky” & “The African dance group” which actually fall flat. Plus in the second half as we very well know what is going to happen next the film becomes pretty heavy and long which can easily be rated as disappointing. Besides the uneven pace lacks focus and its humor may not appeal to the audience not familiar with the Haryanvi lingo. Honestly, at times it is real hard to understand what Pankaj Kapoor is exactly speaking in his dialogues when playing the drunken old man. Moreover, I really didn’t like the secret of MAO revealed in such an uninteresting manner, simply contributing nothing in the overall development of the plot (Ideally it should have been given to a different actor as I felt). Cinematography perfectly provides the rustic feel required by the film & so does its background score. But was really expecting much more from its soundtrack, coming from the talented team of Gulzar and Vishal who have given us many memorable gems in the past.
Taking up the performances, it has an incomparable and towering act by Pankaj Kapoor which surely can be added in the list of his ‘Best Performances Ever”. The veteran drinks, sings, dances, scolds, hits and even jumps into the water, challenging himself as an actor at this old age. Yet, I personally loved him more as a sober man than the drunkard one and wished to see some additional sequences with terror in his eyes as MANDOLA.
Following him is Shabana Azmi, who though hasn’t got much to do in the script but shows the changing colours in her character brilliantly. Imran Khan works hard on his Harayanvi body language and dialogues but still doesn’t portray it perfectly. His original persona of an urban lover boy is easily visible in his villager get up in many scenes. Anushka Sharma looks pretty and acts fine, but here too her given character is nothing different what she has already done in all her previous films. Arya Babbar on the other hands does well in his weird kind of loud role.
Overall MKBKM is a perfect example of a film wherein the director seems to be enjoying his own product a lot more than the viewers watching it. May be Vishal Bhardwaj is in a process of creating his special kind of audience in India who can love or appreciate such films in the coming times. But at present after watching MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA, one big question comes up right away that “What kind of ‘Target Audience’ could have been there in the minds of its makers while executing it?”. Because as a dark humor its really not that easy to reach or impress the people living in the remote areas or smaller centers and as an urban comedy it certainly doesn’t walk on any familiar path moving ahead of all those brainless comedies.
Anyhow in the end, I would just like to ask that once you have watched the film, for a moment think upon this single point mentioned below that:
“What will be the final outcome if we take out just one word out of this film which is “Paincho” resembling the famous cuss word?”
And the answer is that this will take out most of the moments from the film (almost 80%) where you may have laughed out loud in the theater. More precisely even the great performance of Pankaj Kapoor loses most of its charm if you take out this single word from the film completely.
So are we only interested in laughing at some abusive words spoken by an actor on the screen in a funny, careless yet impressive manner or we really are interested in watching something more progressive in our films?
Rating : 2.5 / 5

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10 Jan 2013 / Comment ( 0 )
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