Film: Madaari

Director: Nishikant Kamat

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Vishesh Bansal, Jimmy Shergill, Tushar Dalvi, Nitesh Pandey, Sahil Kapoor

Rating: ***

“The nation can suffer a commoner’s son being kidnapped, but the son of the defence minister? The nation will not take it lightly.”

The typical rom-com tale has found a competitor, ladies and gentlemen. For there is another tried and tested formula that is doing the rounds of late.

Man suffers cruel tragedy, conducts a vengeful vendetta against corrupt system… inspires the nation while doing it.

Madaari is another film in the countless list of others before it, to try and cash in on the rising fervour of anti-establishment sentiment.

Director Nishikant Kamat is no newbie to directing taut films, having the likes of Force, Drishyam under his belt. And he manages to keep things fresh, as one switches from one scene to another without any noticeable lag as the story unfolds. 

Yet, the movie could have been lost in several key moments had it not been for its shining light: Irrfan Khan.

The actor is fine like old wine, getting better as he ages. The moment he’s on the screen, one cannot look elsewhere. Leading men of the industry can take lessons from the masterful facial expressions he gathers as he renders a magnetic performance. His pain at having lost his son to a callous nexus of men who only care about making a buck is raw, and very much real. 

He proves (somewhat unrealistically) that with rudimentary skills, one can successfully orchestrate a kidnapping. You don’t have to be a Jason Bourne to carry out a covert mission, just need the motivation and a logical brain. 

The supporting cast are proficient in their roles, with the exception of Tushar Dalvi, whose portrayal of an embattled home minister feels a tad bit forced. Jimmy Shergill does a fine job as top cop Nachiket, striving to nab his prey before the clock runs down.

The background score does its job ably, guiding the film along its path without really becoming too cacophonic. The camerawork is noteworthy, giving one the feeling of being right in the action.

There are other issues raised in the movie apart from the obvious one, and credit to filmmakers for at least speaking about the atrocities many innocents suffer at the hands of their captors in today&’s day and age. 

Child actor Vishesh Bansal is not hesitant in front of the camera, as he asks Irffan whether he will try to touch him in places he should not. Irrfan&’s curt reply that he never even thought about such things when he was so young is a painful reminder of the sick world we live in.

Madaari has a run time of a shade over 130 minutes, which feels just about right. It seems to be meandering towards an predictable climax but manages to buy sometime with a crafty move.

It is a false dawn however, as the movie ends on a slightly incredulous note, which makes one think, if it was this easy, wouldn’t every Tom, Dick and Harry be holding governments at ransom.

Irrfan Khan fans will go for Madaari regardless, but for the rest, it is a run-of-the-mill popcorn thriller, nothing more unfortunately.