Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola could well have been named Tintin ki Snowy ka Haddock! Yes, consider this to be Vishal’s salute to the Captain and the fearless crusader on Tintin’s 84th Anniversary (10th Jan). So you have Mandola (Pankaj Kapur – Take a bow!) as the bi-faceted drunkard, like Haddock, who when sober terrorizes a village and when drunk leads a revolution against himself; Bijlee urf Snowy as Mandola’s useless daughter (Anushka Sharma – Copy Paste artist) and Matru urf Tintin as Mandola’s driver ( Imran Khan – Stone boy).
Haddock, the drunkard, keeps promising everyone that he will leave alcohol and keeps getting drunk nonetheless after hallucinating about a pink buffalo (Not Navneet Nishan!) And Tintin keeps getting him drunk, because in that state Haddock understands the villager’s plight and is ready to save their land from politicians who want to convert it into SEZs.
Yes, SEZs. A politician, Shabana Azmi urf Red Rakham, wants to take over land, build an SEZ, show progress in the state and thus show her power. She has Haddock wrapped around her fingers and plays footsie with him under the table. Her son (The pathetic Arya Babbar) urf Tompson is on the other hand trying to marry Snowy and take over Haddock’s land too! And then there is the secret revolutionary called Mao Tse Tung urf Rastapopoulous, who wants to stop this by helping the farmers.
In this extremely convoluted setup, Vishal Bhardwaj tries to go out and out whacky. The problem is, he tries too hard for the laughs. There are set pieces made specially to stretch the length of the movie and force giggles. Too many drunken romps start gnawing you from inside and squeeze the yawns out of you! There is one scene taken right out of the Tintin novels where Haddock flies an aircraft in his drunken state and Tintin hangs on for dear life, which is genuinely funny.
The acting is over the top, intentionally hammy. Even the treatment of the scenes is such that it provides visual ham. So when Shabana is talking about her villainous intent, not only does she have a wicked smile on her face, but her eyes are suitably lit up to show greed ( a la Coen Bros). She and her son are almost like Bhalla and Robert in Andaz Apna Apna, but alas, can’t pull it off that effectively!
Vishal Bhardwaj, in my eyes, has faltered quite badly here. He seems to be all over the place. He wants to make a dark, trippy film, but wants to give a message and yet make it entertaining for the audience. In trying to do so many things, he fails in what he does best – make films with souls, fluid like his music. The film itself has Multiple Personality Syndrome like its principal protagonist Mandola.
And what in the hell was he thinking when he cast Imran Khan? That pretty boy is so single-faceted, that he does not know how to differentiate between characters. He is the exact opposite of the film – he has no personality! Imran Khan is by far the most limited actor in the industry today and to think that he is just 30, gives me the chills. A more rustic actor, would have felt more in place and would have done justice to the scenes he shares with Pankaj Kapur. Here’s a stalwart giving the performance of a lifetime, and there’s the stone boy shitting all over the effort. Even Anushka is turning out to be a One-trick Pony. All she can do is be the free-spirited, bubbly girl who wears Kachchaas!
If you want to watch this movie, watch it for Pankaj Kapur. Because make no mistake, this is a once in a lifetime performance. It’s so seriously amazing, that it’s a shame it has to be in this movie. His glassy drunk eyes, his slurring tone, his loving smile, his latkaas and thumkaas are to be witnessed to be believed. It sets the bar for any other actor this year. If these idiotic awards do not have Mandola urf Captain Haddock in their BEST ACTOR list next year, then I would react how I reacted to this film and how Captain Haddock Mandola would react to villains – Blistering Barnacles Bhencho Bhencho !!!
Rating: 4/10 for Pankaj Kickass Kapoor!