Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: Desi Hangover + Social Message

Just seeing the posters you knew Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola would be different! When was the last time you saw english subtitles for a hindi movie… and belive me, its hard to follow the dialogues without it… why… cause the language is legit haryanvi! It’s been many many years since i’ve seen audiences react the way they did in a theater… there was clapping, whistles and spurts of wholehearted laughter… not something you come across in your everyday bollywood flick. The drunken escapades and the completely random craziness that was littered throughout the movie reminded me of a desi version of the popular english flick… hangover!

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola didn’t just deliver… it did so with a bang! The promotions would tell you the lead actors are Imran and Anushka… but nopes.. far from it, the main character… and he outshone the others by leaps and bounds… was Pankaj kapoor. Many of you youngsters out there might not have seen his brilliance in television in the 90′s… but wow, what a talent. His portrayal of the dual personality Mr. Mandola was just fantastic. It was a very complex role to play… if it was outright hilarious when he tries to light a cigar while crash landing a plane, or sinister when he reveals his plans of duping the farmers off their land, the intensity and reality he brought to his character was something  else. You just dont get that kind of breed of actors anymore. Cheers, Pankaj Kapoor… you were simply brilliant.

Imran Khan grew out a beard, and tried his best to sport a tough guy look.. but alas, if only facial hair made someone a better actor. He was just the same kid who acted in any of his other roles… there was nothing new in what he brought to his role of Matru. There is talent, undoubtedly… but even in such innovative movies, if he continues with his bland face routine of dialogue delivery and ultra rehearsed scenes of trying to act like the responsible one… then he should just limit himself to the chocolate faced romantic comedy hero he is so readily built out for.

Anushka Sharma has once again put in a stellar performance. The ease with which she is able to scale new heights of acting speaks volumes of her growing confidence in her abilities. While she might not look the cute girl next door (like she was in Band Baaja Baraat), Anushka still looked amazing in her long flowing gowns and lehenga’s. What was demanding in Anuhska’s character as Bijlee was the sadness that she tried to cover up by her extrovert and radical ways. There are some scenes where you can feel the pain and anguish she is going through while dealing with her father. Anushka is fast developing into one of the top actresses of Bollywood, and this movie is a feather in her already well endowed cap!

But Matru Ki Bijlee ka Mandola was never about these characters… sure there was comedy, there was drama and there were songs… but behind everything there was one common underlying issue: a message. And  not speaking about this message would be doing injustice to the passion and spirit which the director, Vishal Bharadwaj, made this movie.

There are two India’s… one in the villages, where daily sustenance is governed by the forces of nature and where one is not directly in control of their own destiny… and the second, in the rat race of city life, offices and malls. The average Indian, in reality, lies somewhere between these two polar ends but that is also where the truth is. In a very light, and non-preechy way… so that the youth don’t get turned off… instead try to understand the core issues… the direction team has tried to bring out the lack of a “system” in India. The politicians who are constantly on the lookout for power, money and ego, the collector who doesn’t give a hoot for the people he is meant to take care of, the police officer who believes in sitting on the fence and using his power to exploit the poor, the zamindar who only care for his needs… and also, the idealist… university trained, jhola and kurta weilding, beard grown out… the revolutionary.

There is strong message that in engrained in the movie. One that very often, we city folk overlook. Progress and Development is good, but the issue is it need to be inclusive. Now, i don’t know how well this message will sit with the audience, but fact is what was shown was a reality, and it’ll be for the best if we understand what role each of us have to play as a community.

 

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