They say too many cooks spoil the broth but the truth is that a good chef can whip up something great out of just anything. Similarly, working with an ensemble cast in a film could be a gamble but able filmmakers have managed to bring together some fine actors to deliver an even finer film. Anurag Basu did it back in 2007 with ‘Life in a Metro‘ and he’s at it again with ‘Ludo‘. Based on the board game, Ludo plays with the lives of its characters, causing chaos and confusion for everyone. At the helm of it all is Sattu Bhaiyya (Pankaj Tripathi), a gangster who is simply unwilling to quit. Meanwhile, Lata (Shalini Vatsa) is the nurse assigned to his care, Akash (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Shruti (Sanya Malhotra) are trying to find the source of an illicit video featuring them having sex, Bittu (Abhishek Bachchan) has unintentionally kidnapped a young child (Inayat Verma) who is helping him extort money from her parents, Aalu (Rajkummar Rao) is helping the love of his life Pinky (Fatima Sana Shaikh) get her husband out of jail, and Sheeja (Pearle Maaney) and Rahul (Rohit Saraf) are on the run with Sattu’s money while his goons chase them. Everyone’s lives converge at different intervals, bringing them all together at the end. There are also two narrators to the story, whose real intentions are revealed at the end when the game is finally over.
The cast brings its A-game to the table
Kudos to the Ludo team for putting together a great cast that makes this movie so much fun to watch. While Pankaj Tripathi and Rajkummar Rao stand out in this brilliant mix, every actor seems well-directed and makes an impact. Abhishek Bachchan and Inayat Verma share a sweet relationship that almost brings tears to your eyes. Behind Bittu’s gangster persona is a sweet warm-hearted man and the actor portrays this well. Aditya Roy Kapur is well-placed in this film, which tells us that he is an actor made for ensembles. The ladies have a bigger role to play than just being love interests and suit their roles well. Sanya Malhotra is a hoot while Fatima Sana Shaikh shows that she’s got more up her sleeve than what she lets on. Pearle Maaney, despite being given fewer dialogues since her character does not speak English or Hindi, enjoys herself on screen. She also shares a sweet bond with Rohit Saraf who complements her well.
Pankaj Tripathi, the Invincible and Rajkummar Rao, the Hero
Pankaj Tripathi and Rajkummar Rao are two of the most bankable stars in Bollywood right now. Their sheer talent has made them audience favorites and they’re scene stealers, no matter what character they’re playing. While Ludo does not feature them in a scene together (at least not for too long), they individually stand out in this fun cast. Tripathi’s Sattu Bhaiyya is similar to his famous character of Kaleen Bhaiyya, except that he is a lot funnier in this film. The actor also portrays this character distinctly and with lots of charm. His bond with the strong and assertive Shalini Vatsa makes for a perfect jodi and we’d like to see a spin-off of their characters. Or even a film featuring them as partners.
Rajkummar Rao’s act meanwhile should become every aspiring actor’s audition reel. He is clearly comfortable with any role or dialect assigned to him and performs with complete conviction. Whether he plays ‘the Mithun imposter’ or ‘desperate lover boy’, he is adorable to watch and you cannot take your eyes off him. His act is simply hypnotic.
The story is easy to follow, if you watch attentively
Serious movies are meant for theatres, where your mind is not likely to wander. OTT movies tend to have a “timepass” vibe, so you can watch them while doing other things. Ludo panders to both platforms. But it is not meant for a background watch. With a convoluted story featuring so many characters, it’s easy to miss important details if you’re not paying attention. Even at two and a half hours, the movie is packed with lots of drama and entertainment to keep you engaged. The songs serve as breather but are soothing enough to keep you glued to your couch.
WATCH OR NOT:
Ludo could not have released at a better time because it is the laxmi bomb of crime comedies. It is a must-watch this Diwali and totally paisa vasool, especially since it’s on Netflix. Watch it for its actors – they do not disappoint you!