Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi and Arya Babbar
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
When Bollywood is taken out into the core of the villages in states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab or Haryana; a sense of reality and authenticity has automatically been established. Producer/Director Vishal Bhardwaj does an impeccable job on bringing a Haryanvi village called Mandola to life on screen in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. Bhardwaj makes it possible to establish and bring out a larger ongoing issue in India by using a great selection of hand-picked actors that we have in our film industry today.
From the initial few moments of the film it can be said that the 2 hour-plus ride in the theater will be very wild, hilarious and full of wickedness! We are familiar with the amount of cuss words that are available in a film that is backed by Vishal Bhardwaj such as Omkara and Kaminey. The cuss words in this film especially when they are delivered by Pankaj Kapur will make you repeat it right after him – make sure to watch out for all ears though!
The man of the hour was undoubtedly Pankaj Kapur. He definitely provided with an award-winning performance through his perfect expressions and adorable charm. Kapur’s diction of the Haryanvi language and its accent was on point. The ups and downs in his tone along with the complete rough attitude while delivering some amazing dialogues written by Vishal Bhardwaj, himself are definitely not to be missed! His theater background and some revolutionary/protest scenes will take you back to the street plays of the Raj Kumar Santoshi directed, Ajay Devgn starrer 2008 Halla Bol.
Imran Khan does attempt to act differently than his common and monotonous chocolate lover-boy roles in the past but falls somewhat short. Overall, he does a good job at providing with the character that he is asked for by Bhardwaj but is not completely convincing. Khan plays the character of Matru who has received education from Delhi but comes back to his soil to work there for the betterment of his people. His look for his character suits him as he flaunts a healthy beard and solid earrings on each ear, for which by the way, he actually did get his ears pierced.
Anushka Sharma plays the role of Kapur’s foreign-return and educated daughter who is jubilant and adorable at heart but can create a ruckus no matter where she goes. Her character very well can be related to that of her own in the 2012 Yash Chopra blockbuster, Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Sharma sets the tone for a beautiful yet sensuous girl living in the village who is in a way corded by her father but at the same time wants the well-being of the community. The chemistry shared between Khan and Sharma is at a point convincing. This is further made possible by the quirky romantic dialogues provided by the director. For example, Khan claims that Sharma has a ‘Meena Kumari Complex’ and their way of confessing their feeling towards each other is worth the watch also.
Shabana Azmi does an incredible job providing the film with its negative influence. Azmi portrays the character of Chaudhary Devi who is a powerful political leader that is influencing Mandola to loot the land of the local farmers in order to construct high-rise buildings in hopes of urbanizing the village into a money breeding city. Her clown of a son is portrayed very playfully and technically correct by Arya Babbar. All the actors play a very important aspect in the storyline in their own particular way but the most important character is Gulaabo – the Pink Buffalo – watch out for her and her cheeky smirk!
Bhardwaj always makes it possible in all of his films to keep the musical composition and the background score very strong. He proves it yet gain with his latest release. Tracks such as the title song and Charlie are very addicting and add to the whole jest of the film. The addition of an authentic Haryanvi slow track and a short cameo of the very popular Haryanvi song ‘Tau Hatja’ makes the setting even more legitimate.
Despite the fact that the thought of the story and the punch that it tries to deliver is strong, there is always some confusion in the script. Bhardwaj tries to be noble with his intentions by making the farmers and people such as Matru overcome politicians and their wrong-doings but in all the humor that is available along with the a few too many curses, the main storyline does go on a plane ride. That is also probably why Mandola only knows how to launch the plane not land it (watch the film for that)! Overall, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola provides with some great humor and Bhardwaj’s dialogues are well brought to life by the actors on screen.