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Madaari  : A Tiresome Act
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Are you kidding?
Friday, July 22, 2016
Nishikant Kamat
Irrfan Khan • Jimmy Shergill • Tushar Dalvi.

Since it’s about one unnamed man who’s making the authorities dance cluelessly to his beat, one can’t help but compare it with Neeraj Pandey’s A Wednesday. But the comparison stops at the plot.


The home minister’s son Rohan Goswami has been kidnapped from boarding school by a tech-savvy lone wolf. There’s no organisation behind him which makes it all the more difficult to crack who he is or what he seeks. There’s one super cop and the entire state machinery trying to track him down. Exactly like A Wednesday. 


But where the Naseeruddin-Anupam Kher film scored was in its neat tautness. Nishikant Kamat’s Madaari is the opposite. Overlong and over-indulgent, by the time kidnapper Nirmal Kumar’s personal loss is revealed, Kamat has made you so celluloid weary that it just doesn’t evoke the required empathy. The entire first half only establishes the kidnap after loud TV bytes accompany the opening credit titles.


After train, bus and road journeys that take Nirmal and Rohan to different Indian states, the kidnapper finally uploads a video with his demand and it goes viral. Nishikant’s film is ultimately about a bereaved father who wants answers and accountability and aims to bring the corrupt to their knees. Not a bad thought. But turning the intention into a national movement needed nail-biting intrigue and slick storytelling. Those are precisely what go missing, making the effort as effete as the authorities in the film. There are no surprising turning points and just when you think it’s finally over, Kamat takes you into a chawl for the climax. 


There’s overuse of the TV medium which is both villain and savior and sometimes the comedian too. None of which is novel. A social thriller needed a tight screenplay which writer Ritesh Shah doesn’t provide. It thus remains, like its title, an unsophisticated street act.


The only two points in its favour are Irrfan Khan’s performance as Nirmal Kumar which is unfaultable and Vishesh Bansal playing schoolboy Rohan who’s bratty and cuddly in right doses.  Jimmy Sheirgill as the cop has little to do except look earnest and achieve little.


For a film that’s long drawn out and doesn’t make the desired impact, Madaari gets a 2.5* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author


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