If Manirathnam can film a Roja, why can’t Shoojit Sircar film a Madras Cafe? But the allegation that the movie is one-sided, trying to legitimize the Indian intervention in Sri Lanka (IPKF), is justified to an extent (IMO). This is only a movie (fiction), not a documentary – so, there is no need to take it so seriously and create a ruckus about it. Fact will remain fact and fiction will remain fiction.
If you weren’t aware, Madras Cafe is a movie that tells the story of Indian intervention in Sri Lanka and the assassination of Former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The movie claims itself as fiction – maybe some characters and events were indeed fiction.
The movie revolves around John Abraham, who is an Intelligence agent sent by India to find a political solution in Sri Lanka and bring peace to the nation (during 80s). At that time, the Indian army was already in action against LTF (as mentioned in this movie).
An arms deal (organized by John), which was supposed to go to the main Rival of LTF and weaken the LTF, goes berserk and a lot of arms from Singapore end up in the hands of LTF. John is totally confused and suspects a leak within the department. That’s what he investigates later on, when it becomes evident. And then the movie goes on to show some events around LTF and Indian Intelligence that eventually leads to the assassination of Ex. PM.
Story-wise, this movie has been told tightly and is able to hold the viewer’s attention. I guess the director and editor have done a good job with that. There are no songs or romance in this movie, and that’s a plus because the movie didn’t need either.
John Abraham fits the role, but needs to show some more expressions – he has the same look almost throughout the movie! This movie didn’t need any heroine and the reporter from London has such a fake accent that it sometimes irritates one. The actor who played Bala, John’s chief in Sri Lanka, has acted very well.
The movie is good, but not as good as Roja. I am yet to see Manirathnam’s take on this subject, Kannathil Mutthamittal (Tamil Movie) – I will remember to see it soon. You can watch it once.
Note to the director: When you are trying to portray an actual event as a movie, it’s impossible to tell the truth. You can only tell your version of the truth and even then, you may have so many reservations. Needless to say it will be biased. That’s why many directors make the actual event into a sub-plot, and a different story as the main plot. That gives an opportunity to tell a good story and keep the reality in the background, hence preventing the movie from becoming a propaganda/documentary.