As I was watching Madras Cafe` (which was initially titled 'Jaffna' which is the better title for the film if you ask me), I was dreading the moment to which the film was leading to and when the moment finally came it still hits you as hard as if you didn't know what was going to happen. Madras Cafe` is one of the best movies to come out of India ever. (Someone said that it looks like 'Body of Lies' based on Trailers, I would watch that movie and confirm that myself)
I am slightly ashamed of being Indian, as its only here that the director goes to make a political thriller on actual events. But can't use the real names or there would be such an uproar that you and me can't even imagine so. They couldn't use Rajiv Gandhi's name just calling him PM or Ex-PM throughout the movie. Yes Rajiv Gandhi as the movie builds up to the assassination of our one of the most loved PMs ever.
I still remember the morning when I went to the market and found everyone reading the newspaper with the assassination news and the shock and disbelief in my father's voice when I told him the news.
The movie tells the story from 1980's when the Sri Lankan civil war started to RG's assassination. The actual story is told in flashback from the year 1994 by John Abraham to a Priest in Church. John plays a RAW agent in the movie and that too very convincingly I must say. The story deals with India's involvement in the Sri Lankan civil war in response to the killing of the Tamil population there. John Abraham as RAW agent Vikram Singh goes to Sri Lanka (Jaffna) to find and weaken Anna the LTF (LTTE) leader. The First half of the movie deals with setting up the background story and detailing the characters.
Second half is the better half of the movie and tensions run sky high as the RAW team works to identify and neutralize the threat to the Ex-PM. You see each frame and realize that you would have to witness the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. You notice the smile, the focus on the Nike Sports shoes and nervous faces of the assassins. And then the boom.
I almost didn't see this movie but thanks to a FB friend and his short review, I went to watch the movie and wasn't disappointed even a bit. OK yes a bit. There were few mistakes in the subtitles shown. I also thought that few vehicles on the road were out of place as the story was being played in 1990ish. And the performances were excellent. Movie was co-produced by John Abraham and Directed by Shoojit Sircar and he shows his versatility and doesn't disappoint after another excellent movie 'Vicky Donor'. This is a Director's movie and a very serious one at that. For once we didn't get flamboyant RAW or Agents for general. Things happened almost they should happen. John's wife didn't know that he was RAW agent. When five guys came to capture him they easily captured John which actually happens when five people attack you. Now to the performances.
John Abraham as the RAW agent is excellent, Nargis Fakhri as an UK journalist is Good, newcomer Rashi Khanna was very good as John's wife, Siddhartha Basu as RAW chief Robin Dutt is Great too, Ajay Ratnam as Anna is Good too. Every actor has done a wonderful job making the movie what it is. Every scene is wonderful.
Everyone who's like me who complains that Bollywood doesn't make good movies should watch this film. Another plus there are no songs barring a background song in the end, which is a huge plus. This is a milestone movie and no one should miss it. Do yourself a favor and go watch this wonderful movie. This is way better than crap movies which are earning 100 Cr. now a days.
My rating is 9/10.