Ashdoc's movie review---Madras Cafe

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Ashdoc's movie review---Madras Cafe

Post by ashdoc on Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:16 pm

Everyone in the US who was alive at that time remembers what he or she was doing when the news broke of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 . It's as if the clocks had stopped and time had stood still at that moment....

Similarly ,for people of my generation the assassination of former Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is an event that is frozen in time....
I remember what I was doing when the news broke out---I was in my maternal uncle's house out of my city and when the news came in late evening I spent a sleepless night wondering if the same horror of mass massacre would visit the Tamil community that the Sikhs had experienced when Indira Gandhi had been killed 7 years before....but thankfully nothing happened this time....

It is the same for John Abraham in this film....Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has frozen time for him....
More so because he is shown to be personally involved in trying to prevent the assassination---at least in the film....

And here he is in Kasauli in Himachal pradesh several years later , telling his tale to a Christian priest in his attempt to expung the whole affair out of his system...

Of course , names have been changed and the assassinated ex PM has not been shown to be named as Rajiv Gandhi , nor has the person who ordered his assassination been shown to be Prabhakaran the LTTE chief ; instead the LTTE is called the LTF and its chief is called Anna....

But this review will call a spade a spade and refer to those people by their real names---I am a politically incorrect person anyway and never called a prostitute as a ' sex worker ' . So who is going to call Rajiv Gandhi by whatever name he was called by in the film , and who is going to call Prabhakaran as ' Anna ' ?? Not me at least....

Of course , John the RAW agent is an entirely fictitious creation ; the film mixes real events with a lot of fiction and shows a fictitious account of how a RAW agent tries to save Rajiv Gandhi in the end but fails....

And that failure is evident throughout the film---failure of India's intelligence agencies to accurately assess what is going on in Sri Lanka at that time , failure to understand Prabhakaran's fanaticism for his ' Eelam ' cause , failure to predict that the LTTE would try to kill Rajiv and succeed , failure of John to complete some of the tasks allotted to him by his superiors....

Those repeated failures , and the final destination of the film---which is the killing of Rajiv Gandhi---gives a grim tone to the film....
This film is no picnic , and indeed does not have been made to attract the masses . It's a movie for the elite , with the characters talking in English on several occasions ; and Nargis Fakhri speaks British accented queen's English....

The failure of John's missions is not his fault however---there is a defector in his organization who tells the LTTE of John's every move , making every mission's failure predestined.....

John's attempt to supply arms to the LTTE's rivals fails as the arms are captured by the LTTE , his attempt to split the LTTE by trying to kill Prabhakaran and get his second in command to revolt does not work , and he is even captured by the LTTE....

But the unkindest cut happens when his personal life is shattered by the LTTE---all due to the LTTE informer in his organization....

On one of his missions he meets Nargis Fakhri the British Indian reporter....
And she is the one who gives him evidence that the LTTE is planning to kill a big Indian leader.....

The assassination is shown to be financed by a western country....
This is typical of Bollywood to show the white man as responsible for many of India's troubles without any basis in fact . But we will have to give the director that much cinematic liberty....

So how does the RAW handle the info given by Nargis ??
And does John manage to identify the LTTE mole in his organization ( RAW ) and bring him to justice ??
Go and watch the movie for that....

The movie gets better in the second half as events get more gripping....
.....And the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in the end does inspire some pathos....I found myself feeling sad for the death of the leader of a political party I do not support....

The film is a tense political thriller rather than an entertainment fest ; there are no songs....

....And watching it requires one to have some knowledge of the political and military events concerning the Sri Lankan situation vis a vis Tamils at that time---hardly a film for the illiterates , especially in North India....

But because I happen to have the basic knowledge of the real life situation of those turbulent times , I found myself getting interested....

Verdict---Very decent effort .

ashdoc

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