Review: Vishal Bhardwaj’s first attempt at a full comedy is what they are calling it. Let’s just say he was better off adapting from Shakespeare. His skill with dark comedy is far better than that with commercial comedy or whatever kind of comedy Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is. When a filmmaker creates a name for himself as being an edgy yet dramatic and appealing filmmaker, one starts to expect a lot from him. After the success of Omkara & Kaminey, 7 Khoon Maaf had critics divided in opinion. Matru on the other hand is wacked out for sure, so wacked out that it has no semblance of a structure or a sensible storyline. It’s as good as saying random sequences were shot without any structure in mind. A classic case of comedy for the sake of comedy.

So, Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) is a rich drunkard with a big haveli in a small town in Haryana. You know he is the richest man in town because the town itself is named after him. Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) is his London-return daughter, playing the bindaas babe character she has played so many times before. Matru (Imran Khan) is Harry’s man Friday. Bijlee is all set to marry Badal, who is the son of corrupt politician Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi). Their marriage is more like a business deal between Mandola and Deviji. Mandola’s character has a funny quirk, he is trying to give up drinking, his favorite poison – a desi-pink colored drink called gulabbo. When he doesn’t get his drink, he starts to see a pink buffalo. So Harry, struggling with his addiction and his hallucinations is the highlight of the comedy in the film. His drunken adventures with a two-seater airplane, the appearances of the pink buffalo, having conversations with a well in the village-filled with profanity. All this may seem funny to some, although the audience I was part of, giggled at nothing, save a dialogue or two. Then there was the whole ‘Kisanon ka dost’ angle they explored with Imran’s character that was so vague and badly justified, I almost yawned. Even the sudden love that Bijlee develops for Matru, again not justified. Yes, we all know it’s a comedy. But you are Vishal Bhardwaj, please do not behave like Rohit Shetty. Do what you do best, explore and justify your characters, make us feel for them, laugh with them, cry with them, bleed with them.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola may have been Bhardwaj’s attempt at edgy humor. But I wish he had made it his own. The characters had so much potential, if only they would have been developed. Performances were superlative, but what’s the point when the story is haphazard. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola may still be entertaining for many for its sheer randomness, but it was definitely not my cup of tea. I will find many hard-core Bhardwaj fans agreeing.

Verdict: Entertaining for its mad-twisted characters. But, Bhardwaj fans may not be pleased.

Malvika Rao

Movie Details
Release date: Jan 11, 2013
Language: Hindi
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Cast & Crew: Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Arya Babbar
Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Music: Vishal Bharadwaj
Length: 2 hrs 31 mins
Writer: Vishal Bharadwaj, Abhishek Chaubey

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