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Madras Cafe

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Critic Rating


20 Reviews
18 Ratings
in favor

Audience Rating

5 Reviews
19 Ratings

Movie Info


Running Time




Madras Cafe is a Indian political thriller directed by Shoojit Sircar. The main role of an Indian intelligence agent in the film is played by John Abraham , while Nargis Fakhri, who is the female lead plays an international reporter. The film also deals with the subject of terrorism, and will be shot in Sri Lanka, South India and Delhi. Wikipedia

Madras Cafe Reviews


Solidly directed by Sircar, who steers clear of typical Bollywood machismo and avoids oversimplifying characters or their motives, the film - at a little over two hours - is a compelling watch. I'm going with three-and-a-half out of five for 'Madras Café'. Until the climate is more conducive for filmmakers to boldly make real-life stories without fear of controversy or censorship, this may be the best way to approach important stories that must be told.

Shubhra Gupta
Indian Express


In trying to keep it fast-moving, the film turns choppy and confusing in parts. Also, a few of the characters are a tad comic book-y, matching the ludicrousness of some dialogues. The high-flying journalist helping the hero bit feels contrived.

Khalid Mohamed
Deccan Chronicle


Bottomline: Well-intentioned, but monotonous.

Anupama Chopra


Madras Cafe is flawed but also ambitious and brave. I’m going with three stars and recommending that you see it.

After experiencing back-to-back idiocy on big screen, it’s refreshing to return to the theatres for a film that expects you to be educated, informed and attentive. Give it a chance, Madras Cafe deserves an audience.

Madras Cafe is not your average Bollywood thriller. It crackles with genuine energy and is marked by true empathy for humanity. It is an unqualified triumph.

Srijana Mitra Das
Times Of India


Straight up, Madras Cafe couldn't be more different to director Shoojit Sircar's Vicky Donor. Political, tense, finally explosive, Madras Cafe is no picnic in the neighborhood park.

The film bristles with the raw, unnerving textures of a battlefield documentary. What is impressive is the film's cool restraint. Not once does it attempt to sensationalize, sermonize or take sides. It merely states facts and tackles the subject head-on.The imagery is so effective and powerful that, you are transported back in time when the incidents actually takes pace.


Madras Café is a hypnotically created masterpiece which thrives in the freshness of its conception. Using history with drama to build a persuasive tapestry of enthralling action, energetic plot and skillful narration of the grim phase of Lankan War, Shoojit Sircar astonishes with this fascinating docu style dramatic movie. I am going flatly with a 4/5 this triumphed work of passionate and compelling cinema.


The film tells a story we already knew. Yet it scores because of the way Sircar maintains intrigue, teasing viewers with regular twists.Irresistible stuff if you love brain work in your movies.

Taran Adarsh
Bollywood Hungama


On the whole, MADRAS CAFE is an earnest and honest effort, a terrific thriller, with several poignant moments and episodes that leave a stunning impact. It's a film that you should watch because it gives you an insight into an exceptionally pertinent episode of history. If you are in the frame of mind to watch superior quality, sensible cinema, I would strongly recommend MADRAS CAFE to you. Try not to miss it!

Sachin Chatte
The Navhind Times


To put it plainly, Madras Cafe raises the bar for commercial Hindi cinema. Firstly, films that mix fiction and reality are an extreme rarity in Bollywood and equally rare is a no nonsense approach in making it. There are no item numbers (heck there are no songs either), no juvenile gags and no melodrama, yet Madras Cafe grabs your attention right from the word go.

Rummana Ahmed
Yahoo! India


...undoubtedly makes for an engrossing watch, a little more attention to detail and the film would have been brilliant.

Subhash K Jha
Deccan Herald


This is arguably the best political thriller that Bollywood has so far given us.

Watch this one as it takes you back to a horrid chapter of our political history and makes you think.


‘Madras Café’ rewards us with a story that refuses to bow-down to Bollywood stereotypes and traditional narrative, and remains true to what it promises to capture.Truly a first for Bollywood, and hopefully, not the last.

Audience Reviews for Madras Cafe

  • Shashwat Sisodia
    Shashwat Sisodia
    300 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    The film doesn't well tell an important story and minus the John Abraham performance which is raw and solid, the film is nothing. But the execution by Shoojit Sircar is unmistakably charming and uplifting as an experience. The story of secret agents is true and not hindered by low-key entertainment which cinema usually wants to provide, and that's where 'Madras Cafe' is a true triumph of vision.
    Based on the Rajeev Gandhi suicide bombing narrative and its multiple layers, including the connection with the ruthless Sri Lankan civil war which, we are told in the epilogue, lasted twenty-seven long years, the film is solidly written and more than that, gripping in the performance point of view. John Abraham brings filtering in action and more to his expressiveness as Vikram Singh, while Nargis Fakhri makes an easy, well-done improvement to her performance in 'Rockstar'.
    But the ultimate strength lies in the telling of the story- not the metaphorical one, the more practical, the more rustic one. With bold one-liners and actual patriotic fervor, the film manages to keep the viewers engrossed.
    But what this great film needed much more was heart, emotional contexts. I am going with 6 out of 10 for Madras Cafe and I suggest you go for it. It is indeed one of the most striking films of the year you can't afford to miss.

    September 16, 19
  • Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    160 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    As any avid movie buff would have noticed, our film industry has pretty much dabbled with all sort of genres except for political thrillers which has been far & few. I wouldn't fault the makers for this, coz inevitably most of the time it has courted trouble as in the case of "Vishwaroopam", "Black Friday" etc ; thanks to some whimsical minded individuals & groups. The latest to join this bandwagon is Shoojit Sircar's "Madras Cafe", which has been banned in Tamil Nadu. Hmm... so let's see what's this hungama all about???

    Until a couple of years back, Sri Lanka was embroiled in a bitter Civil War between the Government & LTTE (named as LTF in the movie). The film unfolds with the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord to enforce the disarmament of LTF & facilitate the process of regional council. As part of this pact, the Indian Government sent in their Peace Keeping Force but instead of reining in the violence, it gets blown out of proportions. At this juncture, the RAW chief, RD (Siddharth Basu) assigns a covert operation to his trusted military intelligence officer Vikram Singh (John Abraham) which was to weaken the stranglehold of LTF in the region. In the process, Vikram opens a can of worms which eventually culminates in the assassination of our ex-PM.

    After having drawn praise from one & all, for his previous venture "Vicky Donor"; Shoojit Sircar has chosen a totally different topic which belongs to the not so oft used genre of political thrillers. There are no two words about it, as he has come up with one of the best ever political thriller made in Bollywood with the filming being kinda reminiscent of the Hollywood style. The best part of the film is that it doesn't take sides & leaves the judgement to the discretion of the audience. The credit also goes to the compelling script & screenplay by Somnath Dey & Shubendu Bhattacharya aided by the crisp editing & visuals by Chadrashekhar Prajapathi and Kamaljeet Negi respectively which keeps the audience hooked throughout.

    Frankly speaking, I don't think of John Abraham as much of an actor except for his excellent stunts but over here he was spot on as he gets into the skin of the character quite convincingly. In addition, John also have to be applauded for seeking to produce films which are distinct unlike the usual run of the mill. Siddhartha Basu was quite an interesting choice as the RAW Chief & he has done a good job along with Prakash Belawadi (as Bala). As opposed to her previous venture, Nargis Fakhri has improved which was aided to a certain extent that she had to mouth only English dialogues. The rest of the cast such as Ajay Bhaskaran (as Anna), Kannan Arunachalam (as Shri) etc., has done their parts aptly.

    Verdict: With "Chennai Express" bull dozing forward, "Madras Cafe" would find the going tough. It's unlikely to cater to the single screens but thanks to the impressive content & execution it should have a decent run in the multiplexes. In short, delve into this without fail!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5


    September 18, 16
  • Saheb Abdullah
    Saheb Abdullah
    82 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    John Is Gr8 In His Character But The Film Is Uneven & Not That Convincing.But Yet To Tries & Becomes Successful At Times.It Is Overall Good Despite The Flaws & Inconsistency

    May 10, 16
  • Bubbly
    41 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    Well, well. Time and again we've seen Hindi political films on India, Pakistan and Afghanistan mainly. It's a welcome change when the scene of action shifts to Sri Lanka. That day is not far when Nepal, Bhutan, Bangla Desh and Maldives too can find themselves on the silver screen. The credit for bringing Madras Cafe to the silver screen solely rests with John Abraham and he should receive a standing ovation for it. Political movies are not easy to make, more so releasing them in theatres. But John's statements like "Priyanka Gandhi is the sexiest woman in India (Jan 28 2009); I love PG to death (Feb 6 2009), PG is my idea of beauty (Sep 26 2011), PG worthy of sexy person award (Nov 29 2012), or most recently I hope PG is our next PM (Aug 17 2013)" certainly helped cross gandhi barriers, and make the film and even release the film in India except in Tamil Nadu, UK and Canada. Well, John should've courted the Tamils too to have a smooth overall release.

    John has broken some records too in his political endeavour. He comes across as a fine actor, who was hiding behind the nonsensical masala films but had given enough glimpses of an actor in Water (2005) and New York (2009). He also came across as a bold producer, who refused to give in to political bullying in Tamil Nadu. I personally am against bullying of any kind. Cinema is a public domain of creativity and let the public decide where the movie stands instead of some "all-knowing" politico dictating the terms for it's non-release.

    Major Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is a RAW agent, who is assigned to go to Jaffna to help bring political stability. He has a tough job apprehending Anna Bhaskaran (Ajay Ratnam), leader of a Tamil outfit LTF. In the course of his assignment, he meets Jaya Sahni (Nargis Fakhri) who is a British war correspondent. And slowly the plot unfolds. It is not only the war and political situation but there is a sinister plot of assassinating the former Prime Minister of India (Sanjay Gurbaxani). The plot has been hatched out sitting in a Madras Cafe. And before our RAW agent can safeguard him, fate intervenes. Unable to bear this failure, the agent hits the bottle. The movie unfolds in a flashback with the agent relating it all to a church pastor. Factual liberties have been taken but they certainly don't matter.

    The actors chosen to play LTTE leader V Prabhakarn (Ajay Ratnam) and Rajiv Gandhi (Sanjay Gurbaxani) need special mention as they bear uncanny resemblance to the characters they play. Anita Pratap too would be left comparing her life with Nargis's portrayal. The cast has been aptly chosen and they infuse life in their roles. Yes, unnecessary political controversy created will certainly dent the box office collections but the question is hasn't this controversy deprived the viewers to watch a well-executed movie that brings alive a crucial part of India's political history and shows a snuffed out young political life? It is not the movie's loss but of the viewers.

    August 25, 13