As any avid movie buff would have noticed, our film industry has pretty much dabbled with all sort of genres except for political thrillers which has been far & few. I wouldn't fault the makers for this, coz inevitably most of the time it has courted trouble as in the case of "Vishwaroopam", "Black Friday" etc ; thanks to some whimsical minded individuals & groups. The latest to join this bandwagon is Shoojit Sircar's "Madras Cafe", which has been banned in Tamil Nadu. Hmm... so let's see what's this hungama all about???
Until a couple of years back, Sri Lanka was embroiled in a bitter Civil War between the Government & LTTE (named as LTF in the movie). The film unfolds with the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord to enforce the disarmament of LTF & facilitate the process of regional council. As part of this pact, the Indian Government sent in their Peace Keeping Force but instead of reining in the violence, it gets blown out of proportions. At this juncture, the RAW chief, RD (Siddharth Basu) assigns a covert operation to his trusted military intelligence officer Vikram Singh (John Abraham) which was to weaken the stranglehold of LTF in the region. In the process, Vikram opens a can of worms which eventually culminates in the assassination of our ex-PM.
After having drawn praise from one & all, for his previous venture "Vicky Donor"; Shoojit Sircar has chosen a totally different topic which belongs to the not so oft used genre of political thrillers. There are no two words about it, as he has come up with one of the best ever political thriller made in Bollywood with the filming being kinda reminiscent of the Hollywood style. The best part of the film is that it doesn't take sides & leaves the judgement to the discretion of the audience. The credit also goes to the compelling script & screenplay by Somnath Dey & Shubendu Bhattacharya aided by the crisp editing & visuals by Chadrashekhar Prajapathi and Kamaljeet Negi respectively which keeps the audience hooked throughout.
Frankly speaking, I don't think of John Abraham as much of an actor except for his excellent stunts but over here he was spot on as he gets into the skin of the character quite convincingly. In addition, John also have to be applauded for seeking to produce films which are distinct unlike the usual run of the mill. Siddhartha Basu was quite an interesting choice as the RAW Chief & he has done a good job along with Prakash Belawadi (as Bala). As opposed to her previous venture, Nargis Fakhri has improved which was aided to a certain extent that she had to mouth only English dialogues. The rest of the cast such as Ajay Bhaskaran (as Anna), Kannan Arunachalam (as Shri) etc., has done their parts aptly.
Verdict: With "Chennai Express" bull dozing forward, "Madras Cafe" would find the going tough. It's unlikely to cater to the single screens but thanks to the impressive content & execution it should have a decent run in the multiplexes. In short, delve into this without fail!!!