Madaari tries to be an outcry against the corrupt and defunct system that is plaguing our worlds today and it succeeds in being one to a great extent. Its dark, its gritty, it has a sarcastic humor associated with it and it has pulsating performances from Irrfan and Jimmy Shergill. The film is a social commentary unfolding from the perspective of a father who has lost his only son to a flyover collapse. While he rots in his misery to have lost the only reason for his survival to a freak accident, a feeling of hatred and anger brews within. He decides to make the system pay for what it has taken away from him. He kidnaps the son of the Home Minister and as ransom asks his dead son back. As the government machinery runs in two directions to uncover the secret of his demand and to nab the man, the minister’s son forms a strange bond with his captor.
Madaari is an honest and skillful retelling of a story that will find takers among the common people of the country. The angst, the frustration and the feeling of loss is brought out beautifully by Irrfan who is always a safe bet as far as performance is concerned. What I further loved about this film was that almost throughout the first half, the film is able to keep a sense of surprise and suspense in the tale. The proceedings are breezy and sans a few spats of boredom of which I will speak later, it remains fairly interesting. It is very easy for a film like this to slip into being an overly dramatic hotch potch, but that is not the case here. It unfolds almost like a “chase-the-kidnapper” thriller. In between the chase and dramatic moments between Irrfan and the kid played by Vishesh Bansal, we get to see how the police under the leadership of Nachiket (Jimmy Shergill) is trying to nab the man.
Even in the second half, the surprise element is sustained when we try to understand what will happen of Irrfan’s character and how will he get even with the people who wronged him terribly. Where the film goes wrong is in the climax. After an almost believebale two hours, the last fifteen minutes or so of the film dwells into bollywoodism. As I mentioned before there are spates of durations in between and here and there where the film gets boring. These are the times, when either Irrfan is shown traveling with the kid with songs in background or he is shown remembering his past. Some dialogs between him and the kid are also overdone.
What works is Irrfan’s performance that really takes the film many paces forward. His mannerisms, his inspirations and his pain are all very real. His brief scenes with his son are refreshing. The scenes that follow after his loss are a tad bit overdone. The fake beard also plays a spoil sport. We have reached a time when fake beard and moustaches don’t invoke respect. For the sake of the character, Irrfan should have grown a beard. Jimmy Shergill is brilliant. I love his acts in every film these days. Here he is not only supremely confident but oozes charisma in very scene that he is a part of. He also has a sense of mystery associated with him that doesn’t let us be sure whose side he is on. This question is brought up in the end by a colleague of his.
As is the case with most Nishikant Kamat films, Madaari is superbly shot. Be it the terrains of Rajasthan, the hills of Uttaranchal or for that matter the chawls of Mumbai. The vitality and beauty of each of the locations is felt and is immersed in the style and feel of the narrative. The editing compliments the cinematography. Take for instance the scene in the bus stop where Irrfan is shot. This is one of the best examples to show how temperamental the editing is. The music however is a different story. Even though well done, the music unnecessarily stalls the narrative and proves to be more of a stickler than an aid.
Overall, Madaari is an earnest attempt at dramatizing a piece of real life pain. It is overdone in certain areas and that leads to some hiccups and yawn moments. However a spirited Irrfan Khan show and a breezy narrative keeps it afloat. It may not be an instant classic like A Wednesday, but it sure is in the same line and deserves a view atleast. Watch Madaari for Irrfan.
Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)