It was enough to see the promos featuring a smiling pink buffalo, Gulabi Bhains, prior to a Talaash screening to convince us we needed to watch Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. Seeing Vishal Bhardwaj's name appended to it convinced us further...
Though the plot has been analyzed and sometimes criticized by first-time viewers across the press expecting a mainstream movie with a dash of quirkiness or originality from Vishal Bhardwaj, I have to say I find most critics who were disappointed with Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola have missed its point. In my very humble opinion, the movie's disjointedness and wackiness was written on purpose. One scene jumps to the next, the absurd creeps up every other scene and the plot includes a critical view of Indian village society while at the same time providing funny cracks. The film might not have the duality of Kaminey or the straightforward drama of Omkara; it might at times seem like Bhardwaj wrote a set of unfinished brilliant sketches for a set of characters he fleshed out in advance; but ultimately, the film follows a thread of veiled, surrealistic but effective critique of India that can absolutely not be brushed off.
The film is a must-watch - and re-watch - for thinking Indians and for audiences who appreciate a true and talented performance by its actors, Pankaj Kapur effortlessly carries off the honours with his best performance to date. He is a fine pleasure to watch and takes the film to its purpose. After watching him, I wish several Bollywood stars would see the film repeatedly to learn histrionics! Shabana Azmi does justice to her pivotal role, as does her "son", Arya Babbar. Anushka Sharma is pretty, talented and lively as in other roles she has been featured in recently. One has to salute her for picking this offbeat satire and giving it her best. Another actor to be saluted for participating in this social critique is Imran Khan. One has the impression of seeing the real person behind the actor when he accepts satirical roles (remember Delhi Belly?). His performance as an educated Haryana village youth overpowers all his previous chocolatey roles.
Watch Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. Enter the cinema, take a seat, fasten your seatbelt, explore what Vishal Bhardwaj dreams about at night and observe the pink buffaloes! They have much to say with that grin of theirs.
Purchase the Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola soundtrack
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MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA
Directed by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Produced by: Vishal Bhardwaj, Fox Star Studios
Written by: Vishal Bhardwaj, Abhishek Chaubey
Cast: Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapoor, Arya Babbar, Shabana Azmi
Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cinematography: Kartik Vijay
Cinematography: Kartik Vijay