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REVIEW:Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola (Page 5)

Elvis12 Goldie

Joined: 30 August 2009
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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 8:03pm | IP Logged
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
By  Taran Adarsh, 11 Jan 2013, 08:17 hrs IST
One looks forward to a Vishal Bhardwaj film for varied reasons. For this supremely talented storyteller/music composer, stories have preceded stars, which, to be brutally honest, is a rarity in Bollywood. Though he has worked with A-list names, he's *not* made it a compulsion or regularity. Additionally, one cannot accuse him of peddling saccharine sweet romances, brain-dead comedies or fancy family dramas to his spectators. Experimenting with varied genres, pushing the envelope vis--vis the subject matter of the film and often focusing on small-town stories has been his forte. Also, the soundtrack remains fresh in your memory, even after his movies make an exit from cinema halls.

With MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA, Vishal goes to the Indian hinterland yet again to narrate a brand new story. This film, like some of his past works, reflects the rustic flavor of villages/small towns. The supremely talented film-maker is often accused of making 'dark films', but MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA is an exception. Vishal tackles a serious issue, but makes sure he injects dollops of humor this time. Be forewarned, the humor is not the leave-your-brains-at-home kind of stuff that we get served in most films. It's quirky and unconventional.

MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA is definitely not Vishal's best work, though the master touch is evident in several sequences. The story barely moves in the first hour; there are stretches when the account begins to blur. Thankfully, the sequence of events and some exceptional moments in the post-interval portions save the film from tripping. At the same time, I wish to add that the film could've done with some judicious trimming for a stronger impact. It's way too lengthy!

Set in the rustic surroundings of a village in Haryana, MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA is about Harry Mandola [Pankaj Kapur], a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee [Anushka Sharma] and the unusual bond they both share with Harry's man Friday, Matru [Imran Khan]. Much to her father's delight, Bijlee is all set to marry Baadal [Aarya Babbar], the son of a powerful politician Chaudhari Devi [Shabana Aami]. This alliance, which is far from just being a simple union of two young people, becomes the seed for a story that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

One has come to expect genuinely hatke stuff from Vishal Bhardwaj and MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA is no exception. Right from the casting to the setting, the plotline and the twists, even the music... you can't draw parallels with any movie you may have watched. That's one of the significant reasons why this motion picture thrives. But there're shortcomings galore... The erratic writing [screenplay: Abhishek Chaubey, Vishal Bhardwaj; script consultant: Sabrina Dhawan], a few sequences are stretched for no reason, the uneven pacing distracts you from staying focused. In addition, like I pointed at the very outset, the humor is quirky and may not appeal to the hoi polloi. The Haryanvi dialect is another deterrent. The lingo remains faithful to the flavor of the region it chooses to depict, but a section of viewers will find it difficult to comprehend what the on-screen characters are expressing at times.

Having said that, it's tricky to find any slipup in Vishal's implementation of the material. The handling of a number of sequences is exemplary, especially the dramatic ones. Also, a few lines [dialogue: Vishal Bhardwaj] are truly side-splitting, not distasteful, although a few words ['Paincho'] may appear offensive. In fact, there are several gems in the narrative, making it difficult to pick just one and highlight here.

Vishal teams up with ace wordsmith Gulzar yet again. The duo has always believed in experimentation and MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA is no exception. He amalgamates folk and western rhythms to create tunes that sound so distinct, but are ear-pleasing nonetheless. The soundtrack may not be mainstream [like 'Dhan-Te-Nan' or 'Darling'], but is pleasant nonetheless, with two standout tracks -- the title number and 'Oye Boy Charlie'. Cinematography [Kartik Vijay Thyagarajan] is top notch.

Each and every actor fits in delightfully in the structure of the tale. After DELHI BELLY, Imran faces the biggest challenge of his career as he attempts to portray a Haryanvi in MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA. By transforming his looks and working hard on his dialect and body language, Imran shuns the chocolate boy image with this performance. The act takes him to another level, in a different league altogether. Anushka has emerged one of the finest actresses of her generation. Her character is truly complex: She's confident and mischievous, yet vulnerable and nave. Her smoldering looks coupled with a nuanced performance will win her praise. Her styling too catches your eye.

Pankaj Kapur enacts the flamboyant and boisterous part with gusto. The veteran goes all out for this role -- singing, dancing, jumping into a pool -- and it is this enthusiasm, besides a splendid performance, that merits the highest praise. Shabana Azmi is magnificent, as always. Her character changes colors constantly, an act only a powerful actress could've essayed with expertise, and Shabana takes to it like a fish takes to water.

Aarya Babbar is a complete revelation. He gets a meatier role this time and he handles it exceedingly well. Navneet Nishan is alright.

On the whole, MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA holds your attention in parts, but that's not enough. The first half is lackluster, while the post-interval part catches some steam. However, the excessive length plays a spoilsport. Below expectations!

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IHeartDeepika. IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 8:15pm | IP Logged

TOI REVIEW: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: uninspiring and disappointing

Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma

Vishal Bhardwaj has often served us with offbeat and interesting cinema. So even with a title like Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola which doesn't make much of semantic sense, you expect an eccentric and entertaining film. Unfortunately, the film is as contrived and manipulated as its title.

Having its roots in the age-old seed of peasant versus capitalism conflict, while the problem might still be pertinent today, the satirical treatment and ridiculous resolution that the film opts for is far from influential or exciting. And somewhere between this Maoist movement, the director suddenly realizes that the heroine remains underutilized and so a languid love story is inserted intermittently. A bride running away from her wedding pheras (rather making the groom run this time) is the last thing you expect from the climax of a Vishal Bharadwaj film!

Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) is a capitalist when sober and socialist when drunk. Matru (Imran Khan) is Mandola's sidekick by the day and a Maoist Robin Hood for the poverty-struck peasants by the night. Mandola's daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) is engaged to Badal (Arya Babbar) whose politician mother (Shabana Azmi) is eyeing Madola's assets for her party funds. This fragile framework pretty much forms the plotline of the film.

Right from the opening sequence where an inebriated Mandola ludicrously leads a village rally against himself, Vishal Bharadwaj attempts to impart a deliberately different shade to the film. A stunningAnushka Sharma surfacing from a murky village pool might make for a gimmicky entry scene but it adds no value to her characterization or the chronicle. Also she is certainly not a big fish in a small pond here. Moreover the tone of humour, though largely different from usual Bollywood fare, tries too hard to make an impact. However the dry wit falls flat at most instances. There is no drollness in watching African Zulu tribe members dancing in the background. And hallucinations of a pink buffalo are only occasionally amusing.

Pretty much nothing happens in the stagnant first half and by interval the viewer seems quite uncertain as to where the film is leading. A farmer revolution takes precedence in the second half as Matru's alter-ego, Mao guides the villagers. But their methods are so convenient and unintelligent that you wonder what's going on! And when the writers realize there is practically no way out of industrialization issues that the film primarily tackles, they expediently change tracks to culminate the narrative into a love story.

The pace is intentionally slow and scenes are purposely protracted, adding to the synthetic shade of the film. Beyond his grungy look, there is nothing rustic about Imran Khan who also often switches accents. While Bharadwaj often comes up with original and attention-grabbing dialogues in accordance with the countryside setting of his films, here he remains in comfort zone and the Haryanvi flavour is restricted to the formulaic bawdi to bhootni ke nuances. And with the love story resorting to cliches galore, the chemistry between Imran and Anushka is palpably missing. Even the mandatory smooch scene doesn't help.

The immensely talented Pankaj Kapur seems over-prepared for his character here and adds extra intensity that often goes in theatrical zone. Yet he is far more dependable than the other two title characters. Imran Khan is one-dimensional and his character, too, is clearly half-baked. Anushka Sharma doesn't get much scope here and is often over-expressive. Arya Babbar is supposed to act like a buffoon and is awfully irritating. Even Shabana Azmi can't save the sinking ship.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola comes across as a wannabe attempt by Vishal Bharadwaj. His most disappointing and uninspiring work!

Verdict: Poor

Really negative review...Shocked

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 8:58pm | IP Logged
Movie Review: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
(Comedy/ Drama)
Saibal Chatterjee
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Movie Review: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Cast:Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapur
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj


A stationary stretch limo parked on a desolate farmland revs up and drives right through a ramshackle liquor kiosk, bringing the structure down in a mangled heap. The owner flees and two men – the car driver and his inebriated master – ransack the shop and make off with as many bottles of a local brew as the vehicle can hold.

That – the opening sequence of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola – sets the tone for the rest of the film. It is a wild, wacky, wicked satire that carries the unmistakable Vishal Bhardwaj signature. But it leaves you with mixed feelings.

It isn't a big, bloated blockbuster wannabe. It has its daring share of moments that defy popular expectations.

It is a spirited comedy that has its heart in the right place. It has something to say about what is going on in this country in the guise of a skewed development model in which farmers thirst for electricity to irrigate their land while humongous shopping malls a few kilometers away glitter all day long.

Unfortunately, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a bit like the micro light two-seater that one of the three eponymous characters, driven by drunken bravado, decides to pilot. Sure enough, it crash lands because his flying wherewithal is limited to getting the aircraft airborne – he has no idea how to bring it back to terra firma.

Bhardwaj's first all-out comedy faces pretty much the same plight. It soars and hits the high gears with aplomb, but does so only occasionally. The eventual landing resembles a nosedive more than anything else. If not an outright wreck, the result isn't always a pretty sight.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is Bhardwaj's most political film to date. It tackles the sombre theme of political corruption and capitalist greed against the backdrop of a small Haryana village fighting to save its arable land from being acquired for a proposed special economic zone.

But much of the political posturing that the script is built around is at best superficial and unsurprising. The humour is laboured at times and the potshots the film aims at a system that thrives on unbridled abuse of power and pelf is often rather feeble.

Despite the uneven quality of the ambitious narrative, Bhardwaj packs in just about enough quirky energy to make Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola generally watchable.

The film blends the freewheeling air of a nukkad natak with structured elements of Shakespearean drama and epic Greek theatre to deliver a surreal tale that borders on burlesque.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is marked by an adventurous streak that is commendable: Bhardwaj pushes the goofy storytelling style all the way through to the bitter end. It is another matter that the strategy boomerangs frequently.

The characters and their wayward ways are only mildly interesting. A pink buffalo haunts Harry 'Moneybag' Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) when he is sober. It strays into his bedroom, plonks itself beside him and flashes a grin.

The cranky old man turns into a socialist with a bleeding heart when he is high. Mandola even leads a protest march against himself only to suffer an abrupt change of heart when dawn breaks and his hangover subsides.

Set up against him is a rustic incarnation of Mao, a man the villagers have never seen. In apparent absentia, he spearheads the agitation against the conspiracy to forcibly acquire fertile agricultural land.

Mandola's sidekick, Hukum Singh Matru (Imran Khan), is a JNU-educated son of the soil who takes up cudgels on behalf of the long-suffering peasants when he is allowed a long enough rope by his crotchety employer.

Mandola's daughter, Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) – we see her for the first time emerging suggestively from a pond as hordes of villagers sit around watching the spectacle – is a bit of a temperamental termagant given to mood swings.

Bijlee is engaged to the buffoon-like son (Arya Babbar) of a Chaudhary Devi (Shabana Azmi), a powerful politician who is desperate to make a fast buck by fast tracking Mandola's plans to set up a factory in the village. And Bijlee's hemming and hawing is a pretext for a love triangle that ends with a messy wedding.

The red rag on which the shadowy Mao writes his agitprop edicts is contrasted with the colour pink that suffuses the film. The desi daru that Mandola consumes is called Gulabo and is sold in a pink bottle. Sadly, the splash of colours does not seep deep enough to make a lasting impact.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is hurt the most by the erratic performances of the lead actors. Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma, playing villagers who have been educated in the big city, are anything but consistent with the Haryanvi patois and accent.

Pankaj Kapur is the pivot of the film. However, his character is over-wrought, if not over the top.

The actor pushes himself as far as he can within the limitations imposed on him by the screenplay, but this performance of his is unlikely to rank among his best.

There are moments when Kapur is delightfully droll, but he often lapses into the unintelligible, especially when Mandola sinks into a drunken stupor.

Shabana Azmi is saddled with what is almost a walk-on part. There isn't much she can do to add value to the mix.

Be that as it may, I would still recommend Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.

Few filmmakers in Mumbai engage with ideas and issues of contemporary relevance as felicitously as Bhardwaj. He might have fallen short this time around, but even when he is not at his best, he is infinitely better than most in the business. A director who does not fear failure merits our support.

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 9:17pm | IP Logged

Film Review: 'Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola' is the new 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron'

by Vivek Kaul14 mins ago

#Anushka Sharma #Gulzar #Imran Khan #Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola #MovieReview #Pankaj Kapoor #Vishal Bhardwaj

Spoiler Alert: While I have tried to reveal as little as possible about the movie, but then its four in the morning as I write this, and I am sleepy and there might be some spoilers that may have slipped in.

When Zee TV was launched in the early 1990s, I loved it for the fact that it ran interviews with film stars almost on a daily basis. For a generation who had grown up watching krishi darshan for entertainment, star interviews were fascinating. But the interviews soon got very boring. Most of the answers were dull, boring and repetitive, like the Hindi cinema of the 1990s.

The one answer that really got me irritated during those days was "It's a very different kind of film." In the annals of Hindi cinema a different movie is a movie which has already been made before. I still cringe when directors or actors say "bahut hatke picture hai", or anything along those lines.

Directors who do make hatke pictures do not need to go around telling the world that their movie is a little hatke. Vishal Bhardwaj is one such director and his latest movie Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola (MKBKM) falls into that category. It is genuinely hatke. The only fair comparison I can make is with the 1983 comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (JBDY).

In a country which has basically two genres of film making, one being the boy finally meets girl genre, and the other being the angry young man who beats up the villain and finally gets the girl genre, it takes a lot of courage, commitment and knowledge to come up with what Bhardwaj and his team have been able to do with MKBKM. It is much easier to make a Rs 100 crore movie.

Both Pankaj Kapoor and Imran Khan turn in stellar performances. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Cinema in India is not expected to tackle serious issues. And when it does it is not supposed to be entertaining. MKBKM beats that myth. The movie is full of contemporary issues that plague India. From politicians and industrialists conniving to take over the land of farmers to build special economic zones (SEZs), farmers under debt to the agri procurement system being in a mess, bureaucrats who have sold out to honour killings and to the oft asked question of when will the revolution come?

It also has an aggressive ambitious female politician and her useless son, on whom all the hope rests. And then there is also a gulabi bhains, a real first in the history of Hindi cinema, where a pink buffalo has a pivotal role in taking the story forward. Despite its serious undertones, MKBKM is a political satire which is a two and a half hour laugh riot like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was before it. Released in 1983, JBDY started slow and found its audience over the years and is now one of the biggest hits on DVD. I hope MKBKM finds it audience much more quickly. It really deserves it.

Pankaj Kapoor gives the finest performance of his life in what is his first mainstream lead role. How many actors in their sixties (other than Bachchan and Naseeruddin Shan once in a while) get a lead role in the first place? Kapoor pulls off his dual faced performance with absolute panache.

The Bandra boy Imran Khan looks the rustic Haryanvi that he plays and does enough to take over the crown of the thinking woman's sex symbol from the actor who now calls himself just Irrfan. And Anushka Sharma adds glamour to the entire equation. She also most probably becomes the first mainstream Hindi film heroine to mouth everybody's favourite cuss word "b******d" and does it several times (Okay now don't tell me Seema Biswas did that first in Bandit Queen. I know; I saw that movie, first day first show at Welfare Cinema in Ranchi. Two days later it was banned. And I saw it once again after the ban was lifted).

Shabana Azmi stands out in a small but a pivotal role. And she also has the scene which has the crux of the film and at the same time explains in a couple of minutes all that has been wrong with India since Independence. That scene on its own is a total paisa vasool for the movie.

The writing of the film is what makes it the classic that it will eventually become. To be able to deal with so many 'serious' issues plaguing India today and do it in a funny way, takes some doing. So take a bow Abhishek Chaubey and Vishal Bhardwaj. The dialogues by Vishal Bhardwaj are fantastic and there is a particular one in reference to a certain industrialist that you guys need to definitely watch out for (Okay sorry about this spoiler, but I just couldn't help it).

Gulzar as always is in fine form writing the lyrics for the movie. Some of Gulzar's best lines get written for the movies that Vishal Bhardwaj makes. The 2009 release Kaminey had the line "masoom sa kabootar naacha to mor nikla". In MKBKM he matches that with "Jo nahi kiya, kar ke dekhna, saans rok ke, mar ke dekhna, yeh bewajah, be sabab, khamkha nahi."

On the flip side the movie has too many cuss words (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and thus is likely to keep the family audiences away. They can obviously let their sons watch Kareena Kapoor singing "Main to tandoori murgi hoon yaar, gatak le mujhe alcohol se". And they can let their daughters enjoy the misogynistic jokes in Khiladi 786 (or was it Rowdy Rathore, all Akshay Kumar movies look the same these days). The cuss words though are definitely not good for the children.

As for me as I leave the theatre I find myself humming "gulbai bhains jo teri dekhi'". I see pink buffaloes everywhere. The Worli Seaface is full of them.

(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He can be reached at vivek.kaul@

Edited by you2 - 10 January 2013 at 9:15pm

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 9:20pm | IP Logged
January 11, 2013 9:30 am

Review: Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Without warning, there is an accident. Then, a flashback: to ten minutes earlier. A flashback which explains, nearly in realtime, how the accident comes to be. Why, then, did we not directly start from the flashback? Because Vishal said so.

Vishal Bhardwaj's latest film delights in its own impish, impromptu absurdity. There is much daftness in this oddly titled Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, a cock-and-pink-buffalo story that stays surreal even at its most satirical. It's theatrical, insightful, wickedly clever and, often, too funny to even laugh at, if you know what I mean. It is also, as may be apparent, an utterly random movie, sometimes jarringly uneven and frequently meandering. And yet it works, because it is, at every single step, unexpected and surprising.

Even the most seemingly slapdash of scenes appears magical when the work of a master is evident. This film swings with two sultans, each spurring the other on toward a sillier spectacle, a sight of grand lunacy. Bhardwaj more than handles his end — heaping on wordplay and quirk and texture — but the Quixote in the other corner is even wilder: Pankaj Kapur, who carries the film with smiles and slurs. Together, this jesting juggalbandi provides a rare treat: a legendary actor rolling up his sleeves and a director giving him miles of room in which to conjure. Forget Matru and Bijlee, in Mandola lies the magic.

Technically, though, the whole film lies in Mandola. It's set in a fictive Haryana village of the same name, a name it shares with its only wealthy resident, a land-hungry tyrant played by Kapur. And while he squeezes farmers dry by day, a few stiff drinks invariably bring out his inner socialist: it's a regular Dr Jekyll and Comrade Hyde. A drunken Mandola even leads the oppressed masses to revolt against himself, but isn't at all amused once he regains his wits.

It is a peculiar universe populated by many a weirdo, and akes a while to settle in. One on hand is Mandola's canny driver, Matru, (Imran Khan) who indulgently leads his master toward drink, clearly fond of the sloshed socialist within. On the other is Bijli, (Anushka Sharma) the tyrant's daughter, an over-kohl'd drama queen eager enough to marry into money. There are farmers hunting for Mao to guide them, and sycophantic policemen who collude gladly with a scheming politician (Shabana Azmi). And being set in the laconic state of Haryana, the humour is dryer and flatter than usually seen in a farce: the laughs may not come easy, but it's hard not to keep grinning.

But it's not all snorts and chortles. Behind the beguiling buffoonery and unrestrained slapstick lie deeper points, about how barren fields can be more profitable than lush ones, about how politicos justify self-interest by hailing it as another form of altruism, about the way even rain can be co-opted as a farmer's greatest foe. Why, in one unforgettable moment, glasses are raised and, instead of the often-mispronounced 'chairs' for 'cheers,' the politician raises her drink with a cry for actual seats of power. 'Kursiyaan!'

There is much this film says, about Special Economic Zones and the development myth, and with that subject it — with a diametrically different approach — treads on some ground covered by last year's finest film. When the most important filmmakers of our time concentrate on the same issues, we should be paying attention, too.

We must also heed the language, for there is no Indian filmmaker who uses words as deliberately, pointedly and skilfully as Bhardwaj. An accidental revolutionary, when jeered at, snaps back "ghar mein Mao-Lenin naa hai ke?" instead of bringing up mothers and sisters. Mandola's profanity sounds coarse but is technically innocent, his most colourful bit of cussing — "uski toh Ma ka papad sadega" — merely sounding dirty. And in one exceptional scene, when Mandola evocatively outlines his vision of farms turning into shopping malls, he kicks things off with brutal lyricism, by saying this dream has been clawing at the back of his eyelids.

There is much detail to cherish, crammed lovingly between the lines. The flighty Bijli, unsure of herself — alternating one minute and direct the next, if I may — is told she has cobwebs inside her. Her father, meanwhile, is a feudal oppressor with his greatest weakness inside him, his moat literally inside his castle. Fateful rain comes from the sky soon after people from an African tribe dance exuberantly around a fire, perhaps inadvertently willing it. And a father shoves his errant daughter ahead of him, as if making her walk the plank.

Bhardwaj's influence is clear, and, as always, saluted. The brass band in the film is called the Kusturi-ca Brass Band, and while the Serbian master Emir Kusturica is known for his chimerical surrealism, Matru appears simpler and less fluid, perhaps due to its need to adhere to a familiar dramatic narrative. In that Bhardwaj's film appears closer to one of the loonier Coen Brothers films, or even, ah yes, a PG Wodehouse plot by way of Jim Jarmusch. It would be depressingly bleak if it wasn't as spontaneously fun.

Imran isn't ideal but looks the part and manages to get by, and Anushka — while stumbling on some of the stranger lines — is great in a couple of scenes near the climax. Arya Babbar, in a Reggie Mantle like clean-shaven idiot role, is pretty decent and Azmi's reliably good, especially when armed with a scary soliloquy.

But make no mistake, this is a one-actor show, giving the greatest thespian in our country another delightfully odd space. Pankaj Kapur is the best we've had, and — as he hallucinates, as he rouses the people, as he steels himself — this is all a reminder of that. Even the way he gigglingly insists on giving a man who calls himself Mao the bottle with his Left hand.

Laced with both acid and arsenic, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola isn't everyone's cup of tea. It takes a while to get into its groove, but changes gears with spectacular finesse after that. And no matter the slight niggles: this is a film that goes far out on a limb, and gives us both bedlam and nuances, enough to warrant repeated viewings. And more than enough to love. Oh boy oh boy indeed.

Rating: 4 stars


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gilmores IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 30 June 2005
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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 9:50pm | IP Logged
Masand enjoyed it too!

Rajeev Masand ?@RajeevMasand

Thoroughly enjoyed 'Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola'. Mad and clever and relevant all rolled into one. And such a joy to watch delicious acting!

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you2 IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 10 January 2013 at 10:51pm | IP Logged

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review

January 11th, 2013 by Roshni Devi
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review (Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Movie Poster)

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Movie Poster

Rating: 3/5 stars (Three stars)

Star cast: Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Arya Babbar, Shabana Azmi.

What's Good: The funny bits; the Haryanvi setting; Gulabo's appearances; Pankaj Kapur's act.

What's Bad: The slow first half; the undecipherable parts of Pankaj Kapur's speech; Imran Khan's lack of rustic charm.

Loo break: A few before the interval.

Watch or Not?: Watch it for a nice dose of rustic comedy!

User Rating:
8 Votes


What would you do if you were cornered by a pink buffalo that grins at you? When you're tipsy? At your daughter's wedding? Our man here – Harry Mandola – is expected to take the bull by the horns, quite literally!

Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) is a wealthy businessman who's looking forward to getting the villagers of Mandola to hand over their land to the government so that he can, in turn, buy the land from them and build a car factory. But Harry's weakness is his drinking habit. Once he downs some juice, he does a Mr-Hyde-to-Dr-Jekyll transforming from a ruthless industrialist to a Robinhood type figure who incites the villagers against himself! To prevent himself from doing so, he has hired Matru (Imran Khan), who's indebted to Harry after his (Matru's) grandfather took a loan for his education.

Goading Harry on his quite unsuccessful road to sobriety is the greedy politician Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi). Devi prays for untimely rains to destroy the farmers' crops while planning to get her dim son Baadal (Arya Babbar) hitched to Harry's daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma). A wild child, Bijlee is more than happy to marry Baadal, considering he can take care of all her luxuries with utmost ease.

While he tries to kick the bottle, Harry's withdrawal symptoms include seeing a pink buffalo, Gulabo. To add to his troubles, there's a faceless rebel 'Mao' who is guiding the villagers to stand up to Harry and the politicians very tacitly. And Bijlee realizes that Baadal just isn't cut out to be her husband.

How the entire troupe get to the bottom of this problem plays out next.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review (Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Movie Stills)

Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma and Imran Khan (Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Movie Stills)

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review: Script Analysis

Abhishek Chaubey and Vishal Bhardwaj handle a tricky script. SEZs have caused a lot of debate in India, and the writers tread a careful line. They've shown how various forces come together to spell the doom of a village so that it can be forcibly converted into a Special Economic Zone, even if the land is far from arid and futile (which is supposed to be one of the pre-conditions for a SEZ). It's assuring to see that VB's Harry isn't all horns and tail; in one of his rare moments, he speaks of his dream of seeing his village industrialized with huge factories, machines, and the people getting more than what they ever imagined.

Baadal is a curious character; though he's shown to be hollow in the head, his bright moments are kind of an aberration. Harry's character is wonderfully written and enacted. The movie takes some time to gather pace and you might find your attention wandering in the first half. But the well-timed humour, drama and romance keep your interest later. The part of selling their wheat to a huge company also seems unnecessary while Matru-Bijlee-Baadal's love triangle looks haphazard. Some of the parts – Matru and Harry pulling a well, Devi's "beta" speech – will have you in peals.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review: Star Performances

A veteran like Pankaj Kapur does not need words of praise anymore, but here goes nothing. Whether it's the slurring Robinhood urging a torch-wielding mob against himself or the stiff, whip-cracking snob, Pankaj Kapur is brilliant as Harry. His mood shifts are inimitable. The only hiccup is that some of his dialogues in his drunken moods are quite indecipherable. Imran Khan just doesn't get it right, apart from the looks (which are precise), his mannerisms and dialogue delivery fall short from what's expected. Anushka Sharma continues her spree of tomboyish roles as the wild-child Bijlee; she aces it with her tipsy act in the climax.

Again, Arya Babbar gets to play the IQ deficient chap, and he gets his comic timing right. Villainous and seductive, Shabana Azmi shows the right amount of restraint and malice as the wily Chaudhari Devi. Navneet Nishan gives a nice comic relief and maybe could have done with a longer role (wishful thinking).

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects

Vishal Bhardwaj dons many hats for Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. As director, he manages to rope in the different threads and makes it an enjoyable (albeit long) journey. He falls a bit short of the mark with the story. There are parts – like the Shakespeare one – that should have been done more subtly. As music director, he uses a captivating medley of African folk, jazz trumpets, folk songs, and their energy is infectious. Gulzar's lyrics are very good. Kartik Vijay's cinematography is smooth. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is good.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Review: The Last Word

If you're a Vishal Bhardwaj fan, be prepared for a fare that's different from his dark, moody style. The fun and songs should keep you going though.

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Posted: 11 January 2013 at 1:28am | IP Logged

Review: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

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Shubhra Gupta : Fri Jan 11 2013, 13:22 hrs
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

rating 2/5
Cast:Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi, Arya BabbarDirector: Vishal
 BharadwajIndian express rating: ** In the run-up to its release, I was quizzed on 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'. A lot. What kind of name is that? What does it mean? And I put on a quizzical expression and shrugged. With Vishal Bharadwaj, you never know. Anything is possible, particularly when the film has a most unusual, triple- barreled monicker, constructed to intrigue.
Half-way into the film, I was still trying to figure, because nothing about it till then suggested a signature Bharadwaj film. The setting is very him : small town, North India, shifting for this one from his favorite hot-spots in western UP to a Haryana small-town. But the tone is new for him: he's gone folksy-serio-bizarre here with seriously mixed results. Pre-interval, it is a meander, with a bunch of characters wandering around in search of a story, and situations meant to induce hilarity which fall flat. Post which, fortunately for him, and us, he discovers the 'sur' he's been aiming for, and 'Matru', wherein you can actually see some of the theatre turning appropriately absurd.
Come, meet his characters. Matru (Khan) is a strapping Jat lad, handlebar mooch, aviator glasses , fat Bullet fatfati between his thighs. Mandola (Kapur) is a heavyweight land-cum-haveli owner, who loves the bottle more than anything else, and whose blood-shot eyes lead him to oddly- coloured four-legged animals . And Bijlee (Sharma) is his pretty daughter, about to be affianced to a power-hungry female politician's (Azmi) hanger-on-of-a-son (Babbar).
This bunch is at odds with each other, but they find themselves arrayed on the sides they ought be finally (that's about the time when the parts start coming together). Till then we get the strangest mish-mash of villagers-under-attack whose only savior is a fellow-in-a-red-mask calling himself Mao (yes, the Big Chief Commie revolutionary), who helps launch Operation Mao Mao (or Mow, Mow : you choose). This is meant to stave off a takeover of the fields, and prevent the fertile patches from turning into industrial wastelands. And from turning a young girl into barter between two greedy individuals. By the time we twig on, much dead time has elapsed.
Once the director gets to the point, we realize it's a very meat-and-potatoes kind of story, the most meat-and-potatoes Bharadwaj has been, despite the weird contrivances he includes in the telling of it. The conflict is the familiar poor 'kisaan' vs rapacious overlords, and true love vs forced alliances, and how education save our souls, shot through in some parts with the sort of VB flourish that make his films such delights. But he makes us wait for the good bits, does Bharadwaj, and by then we've nearly fallen asleep.
So here's what I did like. Shabana Azmi as the neta-with-nuts outshines everyone else, as she goes about charming the old, constantly-sauced widower Mandola, and then showing her claws. She knows what she wants, and will not stop at anything. The other younger woman also has a couple of nice moments : Sharma's sassy young girl is sassier in a slightly manic manner (the last time we saw her, she was this bikinied-babe diving into icy lake waters to entice a bearded army man into rescuing her, wanting us to believe that she was just a journalist doing her job; here she emerges from a dirty pond surrounded by bovine creatures). Pankaj Kapur comes into his own only after mumbling his way through the first half, and gets to have the last word. Actually two.
Those words are a joke you will have to work to decipher. As also the Haryanvi accents which are decidedly and uniformly faux. And the mystery of the pink buffaloes. What was that again? Is the revolution really upon us? The film passed me by in the first hour. It enticed me back again in the second half. But not enough to make me forget the inert prologue, which is minus drama, which is Bhardawaj's true forte.
 Iss Matru aur uski Bijlee se mann kam dola.

Edited by you2 - 11 January 2013 at 1:28am

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