India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Madras Cafe: An intelligence failure

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

After last year’s clever and heart-warming comedy “Vicky Donor”, filmmaker Shoojit Sircar switches genres with “Madras Cafe”, a thriller about the Sri Lankan conflict, India’s role in the civil war, and the repercussions of that war on India’s politics and history.

To try and deal with such a controversial subject is commendable and Sircar and co-writer Juhi Chaturvedi should be complimented. Unfortunately, intentions aside, “Madras Cafe” doesn’t deserve too many compliments.

John Abraham stars in this leaden film as an army officer sent to Sri Lanka at the height of the civil war to launch covert operations targeting the leader of the biggest Tamil separatist outfit (called LTF in the film).

Vikram Singh walks about Jaffna with a swagger, sporting a Ray-Ban and looking completely out of place. He somehow visits a top guerrilla leader deep in the jungle, pretending to be a reporter even after his cover is blown, and turns to an actual journalist (Nargis Fakhri) to extract the smallest bit of information.

Vicky Donor: Sperm donation can be funny

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You have to hand it to Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi – the duo have made a Bollywood film about a topic like sperm donation without a double entendre. This also speaks volumes about Chaturvedi’s skill (she wrote story, screenplay and dialogue), because ‘Vicky Donor” is hands down the funniest film of the year so far.

Sircar and Chaturvedi, both from the advertising world, address issues such as sperm donation, infertility, stereotyping and even the aching loneliness that sets in after a spouse dies young, with such light-hearted humour and panache that you cannot help but applaud their effort.

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