Madaari, a Social-Thriller film by Nishikant Kamath, is one more attempt by a filmmaker to take head-on with the corrupt systems existing in our country. It is very much inevitable to draw parrallels with Neeraj Pandey’s 2008 film ‘A Wednesday’. A Wednesday was an engaging thriller with an unimaginable and unpredictable dramatic twist, which was set on the premise of terrorism. The underlying concept of Madaari is also the same, i.e. when a common man decides to raise his voice against the powerful, it does make a difference. I would admit that Madaari might lack the action-packed thrilling sequences as that of Wednesday, but Madaari has its own strengths and it also very successfully conveys the message. Although as a viewer, I did feel disillusioned. Not because the film is not good, but because, the subject of the film is so relevant. We are aware of these shortcomings of our society, system, government, hardly doing anything to change the system, still unable to bring any changes. But atleast an effort to convey a pertinent point through such films generate hopes of changes in the outlook towards world and also making world a better place to live.
Madaari begins with Irrfan’s voiceover, which in fact is the essence of the whole film:
बाज (hawk) चूजे (chick) पर झपटा, उठा ले गया, कहानी सच्ची लगती है लेकिन अच्छी नहीं लगती,
बाज (hawk) पे पलटवार हुआ, कहानी सच्ची नहीं लगती है, खुदा कसम बहुत अच्छी लगती है I
Yes, it means that when the powerful crashes the weaker segment, the story does sound true but does not sound good. But when the weaker segment attacks the powerful one, the story does not sound true but does sound good. That is what happens in Madaari.
Soon after the voiceover, we see the back profile of Irrfan Khan with a child at a railway station. Simultaneously various news flashes in regard to the various contemporary incidents happening in various corners of the country, right from the collapse of a bridge to increase in the vegetable prices to farmers’ suicides, inflation, unemployment, water crisis etc. The frames move to the breaking news of kidnapping of Home Minister Prashant Goswami’s (Tushar Dalvi) son Rohan Goswami (Vishesh Bansal). Then we get to see bearded Irrfan Khan in a moving train. Frames move to the flashback of how Irrfan manages to kidnap Rohan from a school hostel in Dehradoon. In Delhi, Rohan’s parents Prashant and Jaya are worried due to Rohan’s kidnapping. Prashant and the Chief Minister Nimbadkar deputes Nachiket Varma (Jimi Shergill), a cop, to find out the what, why and how of Rohan’s kidnapping and also to rescue him. The biggest challenge before Nachiket is that the face / whereabouts of the kidnapper are unknown. Meanwhile Irrfan continues his journey along with Rohan in different hideouts with different makeovers. Slowly a bond develops between Rohan and Irrfan. Irrfan’s story slowly unveils through various scenes. The film does evoke strong emotions. Irrfan, who is a distraught father, describes himself as an ideal voter, who is just busy bringing up his son as a single parent. His whole world is his 7-year old son Apoorva. What happens to him, when his whole world itself crashes and he loses the very meaning of life ?
How the story develops further? How Irrfan handles the high profile kidnapping? How does Nachiket gather various clues, and interconnects various leads ? Is Nachiket able to crack the kidnapping case and rescue Rohan? How does Irrfan save himself from the world’s eyes? How and when does his identity from a Anam Kumar (a person who does not have any name) to Nirmal Kumar is revealed ? What was Nirmal’s motive behind Rohan’s kidnap ? How the movie ends? Who wins in this hide and seek game?
I could not stop myself from comparing this film with A Wednesday. Certain commonalities between both the films: The very underlying concept of the common man rising against the system. The technical set up preparations done by Irrfan Khan gives the same feel as that of Naseeruddin Shah’s set up in Wednesday. Jimmy as an actor is another common factor in both the films.
Irrfan Khan as Nirmal Kumar is just fabulous. He brings so much depth to his character. His role as a happy father to a distraught father, an ordinary voter to be a man to challenge the system / powerful etc is so nicely projected by him. His eyes speak a lot. Jimmy Shergill does his cop act with finesse. It is just that, we have seen him in such roles / mannerisms earlier too. Vishesh Bansal as Rohan also has given a very heart-felt performance. Rest of the cast are also nice. Rajeev Gupta as Cheeku’s father does generate humour through his act. Nitesh Pandey as Sanjay Jagtap, a loud news anchor of Swantatra TV, is also very nice.
Music is also good and lyrics are thought-provoking. The song Masoom Sa is very nice.
Certain dialogues are very much thought provoking. Pros and cons of social media are also shown, how people’s perception changes in minutes under the influence of social media. The dialogues in regard to the rivalry of ruling party – opposition party fights being just political gimmicks, and either parties having win-win scenario whether they have the chair with them or not.
My only concern with the screenplay is that it is a very much predictable film and could it have ended in a different manner?
The film’s credits in the end are shown with voiceover of Irrfan Khan reciting the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Do stay back to listen to this.
Madaari is a thought-provoking film, and it does evoke strong emotions. Irrfan is brilliant as a distraught father who dares to fight the system. On one side, the film hits the bull-eye by exposing the powerful, on the other hand, it also conveys an underlying fact that we are responsible for the mess we are in. Madaari prompts us to enhance our power of discretion and be change agents.
Madaari That ‘brashtachaar’ is ingrained in every pore of our ‘system’ is a theme so often explored in the movies that unless it is done with some amount of verve, the word tends to sink into the woodwork. Madaari presents Irrfan in a role that he aces with such ease that it’s hard to see he’s ‘acting’. But he’s placed at the centre of a film which is so patchy and contrived that even he cannot rescue it.
Madaari is a good movie that is going on in society. He is shown in the film
Corruption has become part of life in India. I hope that people will know that we really do not take it as a serious issue by getting lost. Forget about the enemy or insurgents - to keep us safe from this dangerous enemy within our country has to act fast.