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REVIEW:Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola

you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 9:52am | IP Logged

Bollywood movie review: 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' is fantabulous

Vishal Bharadwaj's madcap, political satire is outstanding in narrative and performances

  • Sneha May Francis
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013

A scene from the Bollywood movie 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'.

A limousine, bang in the middle of a flourishing wheat field, crashes into a liquor store few feet away. The reason, takes us back 10 minutes into the past, where a drunken boss and his equally smashed driver are rejected at the counter because it's a "dry day". Even an attempt at bribery is foiled after the shopkeeper condemns the men's drunken stupor.

The punishment, thus, comes 10 minutes later.

From there on, 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' takes us into a whirlwind journey that's incredibly crafted, brilliantly textured, and lusciously witted.

The narrative never loses focus, and plods along with effortless ease and impeccable finesse. Each situation is created with utmost sincerity and each line is written with tremendous delight.

Very rarely in Bollywood does political satire get a chance to play out, mostly because it's a stage that predominately glorifies the boisterous action heroes and mushy lover boys, and never the underdog or the corrupt system. And, even if it does, it's often treated grim.

But, master-storyteller Vishal Bharadwaj steps in to alter that. He uses his quirky sense of humour to turn the politics of an unjust society, and probably Hindi cinema, around. And, he's got an aged, double-layered landlord, a light-eyed Communist and a gorgeous wild child to help him in the exercise.

His satire remains what it sets out to do, without ever shifting into a full-fledged reform movement. And, therein lies his brilliance.

Mandola is introduced cheerfully inebriated and prodding the poverty-stricken farmers to start a revolution against his own unjust practices as an ambitious landlord. He even tunes the warring slogans and takes the villagers' procession to his own majestic palace, only to slink off to the back-door with promises of re-appearing with a just solution.

But, when he re-emerges, Mandola shifts in temperament, walking into the crowd with a loaded gun and chasing off the protestors.

There emerges his distressed personality. He's an emotional fool when intoxicated, and a ruthless, miserly landlord when sober.

And this shift in character is what his driver Matru manipulates to help the ill-fated villagers from losing their land and walking out of a debt trap.

His game plan is, however, stalled when Mandola announces his decision to quit drinking.

His only hope reappears in the form of a 'pink buffalo', which haunts, and tempts, a clear-headed Mandola.

That's not all. Matru must also break the marriage alliance where Mandola carelessly offers his daughter Bijlee to wed politician Chaudhari Devi's son Baadal.

What ensues is a power struggle that's often comical, yet thought-provoking and insightful.

Vishal's comic genius is evident in the scene where the drunk Mandola and Matru struggle to move a well from one corner of the village to another, only because they are unhappy with its current position.

Pankaj Kapur gives the wrinkled Mandola an incredible edge. He's warm and childish at one moment, and fiercely guarded at another, yet he never hams it up. He's exceptionally pitch-perfect. His addiction to the pink-coloured poison 'Gulabo' is as endearing to watch as his dreams of turning into a big industrialist.

Kohl-smeared Anushka Sharma breathes fire into the feisty Bijlee. She's at her finest, dealing with her romantic insecurities and desires with aplomb.

Shabana Azmi's conniving act as greedy legislator and Arya Babbar's dim-witted take on her obedient son is remarkable.

If there's one casting miscalculation, it's the bearded Imran Khan, who unfortunately is unable to match up. He tries, but a bit too hard. There are rare glances of an ideal Matru, but those are far too few to be remembered.

With a bucolic soundtrack, a simple story, wickedly funny lines and astounding performances, Vishal has surely outdone himself this time.

Edited by you2 - 10 January 2013 at 9:50am

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:00am | IP Logged

MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA movie review: Vishal Bhardwaj disappoints with this predictable tale

Latika Payak10.05 PM IST 01.10.2013
MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA movie review: Vishal Bhardwaj disappoints with this predictable tale
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Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma, Imran Khan and a bottle of Gulabo swirl impeccably to the steps choreographed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Yet, they fail to take your breath away…

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a movie set in the rustic locales of Mandola (a village in Haryana). And same is a part of Haripool aka Harry Mandola's (Pankaj Kapur) name, who turns into Hariya after four pegs of Gulabo – a (local) brand of alcohol. Gulabo – either in the form of a bottle or a cow – keeps appearing in the movie every 15 minutes. But try to keep your mind off this (obvious) detail or the movie will become as predictable as a Monday morning.

The movie roughly revolves around the fertile land owned by the dwellers of Mandola that Madam Politician (Shabana Azmi) and Mr Mandola are eyeing for their personal gain. So how does Matru (Imran Khan) figure into all this, you may ask. Matru is Mandola's rugged man Friday, who tries his best to save the villagers from Mandola's evil intentions.

Anushka Sharma aka Bijlee plays the role of Mandola's daughter and is her usual chirpy self who does a great job of prancing around with an ear-to-ear grin pasted on her lovely face.

Then there's Baadal (Arya Babbar), who is Madam Politician's son – a dumb, rich kid whose sole purpose in life is to get married to Bijlee so that he and his Mommy can enjoy Mandola's wealth thereafter.

The movie moves at an easy pace as all the characters get sketched at leisure. Vishal Bhardwaj has taken enough care to incorporate ample songs that allow tiny loo breaks throughout the movie. So, don't fret if you missed out on popcorn during the interval; you always stand a chance to buy it during one of the numbers where nothing actually gets added to the storyline.

While the pace or twists are nothing to boast of, we appreciate the way Bhardwaj has kept the rustic flavour intact all through the movie. And adding to it all is Pankaj Kapur's flawless performance that makes us fall in love with him right from the opening scene.

Imran has done a good job at looking rugged, though he did slip into his usual guy-next-door persona a couple of times. But on the whole, commendable.

So if you have an option of watching the movie at a theatre or waiting for it to premiere on television, we suggest you choose the second. Trust us, you won't be missing out on anything.

And one message for Vishal Bhardwaj as we sign off – you can do better!

Rating: 2.5 /5 2.5 Star Rating

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:31am | IP Logged
Watch: Deleted scenes from 'Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola'
Making: Anushka's pond scene in 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'

Rating 3/5

Story: Haryanvi feudal Harry Mandola wants to sell village lands for malls - can Matru, Bijlee and 'Mao' stop him?
Movie Review: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (MKBKM) mirrors the dangers of self-indulgence - of texting and ghee, alcohol and directorial profligacy. The film is based on a little gem of a story - a drunken Haryanvi feudal Harry Mandola (Kapur) wants to sell villagers' lands but is challenged by daughter Bijlee (Sharma), assistant Matru (Khan) and surprisingly, his own drunken self that turns softly socialist at the pour of a peg.

Some lines are dazzlers - "Bachpan se dekh raha hoon, tum dono ki jodi jaise Mukesh aur Nita Ambani!", Matru growling at Bijlee, "Apne andar ke jaali saaf karle - haunted house lagne lagi hai,", sinister CM Choudhary Devi (Azmi) chiding brainless beta Badal (Babbar), "Yahi farak hai tum mein aur Rahul, Sachin aur Jyotiraditya mein!" Indeed, lines like gulabi bhains, sapnon ka Lokpal and the say-no-more pancho-pancho tickle you outside the theatre too. Quite like Kapur's performance, as comfortingly elegant as a velvet dressing gown, his comedy silken as mumbling, drunken Harry, his anger tight like a cord as sober Mandola who dreams of money and won't let reality stand in his way - even if that means pledging his darling Bijlee to a loveless life with baba-log brute Badal (Babbar, delivering to the dot).

But here's my angst - this movie could have been so much more. Like champagne gone flat, the film's left lying about for too late, its plot meandering everywhere (including a plane ride through moon-lit clouds, ending in a Maoist meeting), the director so determined to have fun that often, the viewer doesn't. Sure, there are hilarious moments involving pink buffaloes and deep wells, Shakespeare and Sheila Dixit, even a laal rang ka kachcha, and it's all very clever - but where's the self-control? With its intellectual foundation and dramatic potential, MKBKM needed disciplined direction, not wandering shots, predictable banter or dull crudity.

On the upside, Azmi's performance is effortlessly evil until the last swig. Anushka plays her now-familiar loud-spunky-sexy babe, unconvincing but attractive as an eccentric rustic. But despite her Pond-girl entry in see-through top and teeny shorts, Mandola's heart-throb is Imran Khan who's red-hot (literally), stubble and a sardonic air pumping his sex-appeal. With its Trilbys and tractors, malls and Maoism, its stretch limo and smart-boy! lines, MKBKM could have been such a fun ride. But sadly, director ka bhi man dola, rather too often.

Edited by you2 - 10 January 2013 at 10:29am

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YusBee IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:44am | IP Logged

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EvilR Senior Member

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:51am | IP Logged
Nikhil Arora ?@nikhil_arora

Joker + Aiyyaa = Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Shocked

This guy write rewiews for Desi Martini.

Karan. IF-Dazzler

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:52am | IP Logged

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abby_girl30 IF-Rockerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:53am | IP Logged
Awww looks like poor Imran isn't able to carry the role well

Pankaj is taking away all the compliments...yay for him Big smile

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 11:10am | IP Logged
Thursday, 10 January, 2013
Movie review: Matru Ki bijli Ka Mandola, Pankaj Kapoor shines
New Delhi Jan 10: Star-Cast: Anushka Sharma, Imran Khan, Shabana Azmi, Pankaj Kapur

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Genre: Comedy
Stars- **/5

The intoxicated industrialist Harry Mandola, played by Pankaj Kapoor, wants industrialization in his village titled with his name and therefore he would do everything which makes his dream comes true. He takes his daughter's name Bijli, played by Anoushka Sharma, and swears "Main Bijli ki Kasam Khata Hoon, main sharab chhod doonga" (I swear on my daughter Bijli, I'll quit alcohol)

But every time he tries to quit alcohol he is haunted by a pink buffalo who laughs out at him. Sometimes he perceives the animal on a bed, sometimes in the backyard. No matter what but he is trapped and again pleads for a drink. You feel so impressed with Pankaj Kapoor's performance that you wouldn't imagine any better drunkard than him.

Vishal Bhardwaj defines an intoxicated person with humor in the form of Pankaj to portray how addiction to alcohol can make one go haywire. This one thing we thought would be dealt with as an issue in the flick but it doesn't.

The Haryanvi Harry has hired a driver Matru, portrayed by Imran Khan, to stop him from this addiction. But Harry wants the drunkard to remain addicted as he knows that it is his weakness and a way to save the farmers' land from being ruined. Yes, Matru is not just a driver but an educated advocate and is back from Delhi to save his farmers' earnings from Chaudhari Devi, depicted by Shabana Azmi, a powerful politician.

Chaudhary Devi has a stack of dirty games in her mind to acquire farmers' land. Harry is enslaved to Chaudhari's beauty and also finalizes Bijli's wedding with her son Baadal, played by Arya Babbar. Will they all succeed in their motives? Vishal Bhardwaj brings you with a mix of predictable answers.

The show opens with a Landrover car demolishing a beer shop. Recalling 10 min before this act, drunkard Harry offers a Rs. 1000 note to the tender for a single bottle of beer which he in his traditional abusive language rejects. After the demolition, they cheer out with bottles in their hands. Just when I expect a pure Haryanvi comic-riot throughout the run time, the other unrequited occasions added with too many aspects mismatch with the concept.

Vishal Bhardwaj takes a satire on big politicians and their motives of money making. I still hold and hoped that this may be Bhardawaj's main issue to deal with by portraying socialism versus capitalism. But the issue is not practically dealt with. Looking at some more loopholes, an aircraft crashing in a ploughed field is considered a UFO landing. It may be Bhardwaj's intention to reveal how uneducated farmers perceive such acts. But it proves to be non-essential. You wouldn't stop to compare with Akshay Kumar's 'Tees Maar Khan' and 'Joker' the way the things are dealt with.

The other scene where Bijli feels attracted to Matru since her childhood and finally falls in love with him dumping Baadal seems ordinary. Baadal realizes that the duo is in love and gives a supporting smile. You feel he'll support him but nothing relates further.

Farmers' hard work and their struggle are portrayed in a common and ordinary way. Imran's encouraging words to farmers needed more energy. Though he learnt the Haryanvi dialect yet he doesn't deliver with the same local attitude, o should we call, swagger? We recall his last year's release "Ek Main Aur Ek Tu" and we recommend him to do similar roles.

Vishal Bhardwaj is one such maverick who has managed to dish out movies, without ingratiating to the market forces, which had tremendous aesthetic value to enamor an expert of cinema. He mastered the art of adapting the Shakespeare's plays into top-flight movies, such as Maqbool (Macbeth) and Omkara (Othello), and in "Matri.." he even gives a mention to the great dramatist but sadly he doesn't comes out somewhere with a perfect drama. Yet, he will be among the greatest filmmakers.

I'll go with a modest 2 stars just for the outstanding performance of Pankaj Kapoor. While the flick disappoints, his Haryanvi dialect tickles your bone like "Gala sookh raha hai mara, tu gaddi chala, peechhe baithke peeta hoon","Tu chalayega nahi toh main rokunga kaise?" "Main parson se peeni chhodriyau". Go for him and don't expect too much once you enter the theatres.

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