Any week with an Irrfan Khan release is a cause for celebration. Not only because he is one of the best actors in Hindi cinema today but, if his last few films such as Qissa, Talvar and Piku are any indication, that’s also usually an indication for unique and engrossing cinema. Khan’s Madaari is no different.
Madaari at its heart is not a story of vigilantism, but is instead the story of a father who lost his son in a tragedy caused by callous civic corruption. It is a story about the pursuit of justice where the father, Nirmal Kumar played by Khan turns to kidnapping the son of the country’s top minister.
Indian cinema, perhaps Hindi cinema more than any other industry has seen a glut of poppycock masquerading as cinema over the past few months and years. This is precisely why it is refreshing to watch that rare film that respects your sensibilities and intelligence as an audience. Well-directed by Nishikant Kamat (Best known for his remake of the terrific Malayalam original, Drishyam but, who also directed the very underrated and haunting Mumbai Meri Jaan), Madaari makes for a compelling watch.
Right from that opening voice-over from Khan to its final moments, it is one film that not only makes you empathize with the protagonist but, also makes you go through the myriad of emotions the character himself is going through.
That, in my opinion, is what makes a great movie. Madaari makes you see it from the protagonist’s perspective, adding to the empathy we already felt for him. And in such empathy, we find ourselves cheering inwardly for the film’s worn protagonist. It is such filmmaking that I believe, makes Madaari an intriguing watch for the whole family.
The editing too is well done and so is the background score. The song, ‘Masoom Sa’ is bound to stay with me for a long time. A word for the well-rounded cast too, including Jimmy Shergill, a brilliant actor who I still can’t believe I first saw in Yash Raj’s Mohabbatein.
However, no review is complete without a few words of praise for Irrfan Khan, one of our greatest actors today. As good as the film is, Khan’s performance towers over everyone else’s and elevates the film to another level. Even when he has no lines to speak and is simply staring into emptiness, his eyes and body language do well more than reflecting the angst of a father grieving for his dead son. It is a performance for the ages and in a career full of them, this one might just stand out to be one of his best.
On the surface of it, Madaari may seem to be a simple game of catch-me-if-you-can but, this film is so much more. It’s evocative and provocative in equal measure, with an idea and message which transcends beliefs and ideologies. Grief especially that of losing a son is a denominator all people can empathize with. And yet, director Kamat uses it to also shed light on the system we place our trust in everyday, only to have it fail us every so often. It’s a powerful film, one which deserves to be watched by you, me and by everyone. It’ll stay with you for a long time after.
I give it 4/5.