Ashdoc's movie review---Madras Cafe

ashdoc

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Everyone in the US who was alive at that time remembers what he or she was doing when the news broke of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 . It's as if the clocks had stopped and time had stood still at that moment....

Similarly ,for people of my generation the assassination of former Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is an event that is frozen in time....
I remember what I was doing when the news broke out---I was in my maternal uncle's house out of my city and when the news came in late evening I spent a sleepless night wondering if the same horror of mass massacre would visit the Tamil community that the Sikhs had experienced when Indira Gandhi had been killed 7 years before....but thankfully nothing happened this time....

It is the same for John Abraham in this film....Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has frozen time for him....
More so because he is shown to be personally involved in trying to prevent the assassination---at least in the film....

And here he is in Kasauli in Himachal pradesh several years later , telling his tale to a Christian priest in his attempt to expung the whole affair out of his system...

Of course , names have been changed and the assassinated ex PM has not been shown to be named as Rajiv Gandhi , nor has the person who ordered his assassination been shown to be Prabhakaran the LTTE chief ; instead the LTTE is called the LTF and its chief is called Anna....

But this review will call a spade a spade and refer to those people by their real names---I am a politically incorrect person anyway and never called a prostitute as a ' sex worker ' . So who is going to call Rajiv Gandhi by whatever name he was called by in the film , and who is going to call Prabhakaran as ' Anna ' ?? Not me at least....

Of course , John the RAW agent is an entirely fictitious creation ; the film mixes real events with a lot of fiction and shows a fictitious account of how a RAW agent tries to save Rajiv Gandhi in the end but fails....

And that failure is evident throughout the film---failure of India's intelligence agencies to accurately assess what is going on in Sri Lanka at that time , failure to understand Prabhakaran's fanaticism for his ' Eelam ' cause , failure to predict that the LTTE would try to kill Rajiv and succeed , failure of John to complete some of the tasks allotted to him by his superiors....

Those repeated failures , and the final destination of the film---which is the killing of Rajiv Gandhi---gives a grim tone to the film....
This film is no picnic , and indeed does not have been made to attract the masses . It's a movie for the elite , with the characters talking in English on several occasions ; and Nargis Fakhri speaks British accented queen's English....

The failure of John's missions is not his fault however---there is a defector in his organization who tells the LTTE of John's every move , making every mission's failure predestined.....

John's attempt to supply arms to the LTTE's rivals fails as the arms are captured by the LTTE , his attempt to split the LTTE by trying to kill Prabhakaran and get his second in command to revolt does not work , and he is even captured by the LTTE....

But the unkindest cut happens when his personal life is shattered by the LTTE---all due to the LTTE informer in his organization....

On one of his missions he meets Nargis Fakhri the British Indian reporter....
And she is the one who gives him evidence that the LTTE is planning to kill a big Indian leader.....

The assassination is shown to be financed by a western country....
This is typical of Bollywood to show the white man as responsible for many of India's troubles without any basis in fact . But we will have to give the director that much cinematic liberty....

So how does the RAW handle the info given by Nargis ??
And does John manage to identify the LTTE mole in his organization ( RAW ) and bring him to justice ??
Go and watch the movie for that....

The movie gets better in the second half as events get more gripping....
.....And the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in the end does inspire some pathos....I found myself feeling sad for the death of the leader of a political party I do not support....

The film is a tense political thriller rather than an entertainment fest ; there are no songs....

....And watching it requires one to have some knowledge of the political and military events concerning the Sri Lankan situation vis a vis Tamils at that time---hardly a film for the illiterates , especially in North India....

But because I happen to have the basic knowledge of the real life situation of those turbulent times , I found myself getting interested....

Verdict---Very decent effort .
 

Sabir

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In my opinion It is the first spy thriller in Bollywood which is made like a spy thriller; not like the shits like Ek tha tiger or D-day. You may like the movie; you may not; it depends up on your taste.....but, it is certainly best of its genre...(Actually there is only two spy thriller worth mentioning Madras Cafe and Mukhbir)... 4/5 from me...
 

arnabmit

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In direction and storyline, more Hollywood than typical Bollywood. And I loved that.

4/5 definitely!
 

Decklander

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Part of the story is true. The RAW agent in Chennai did get compromised by an American AirHostess who used to do lay overs in Chennai. This guy was later caught.
You guys may have heard of that catastropic landing by 1st Para SF in a graveyard to capture Pirabhakaran. Out of those 40, only nine came back. The LTTE had full knowledge of that super secret mission. The MI-8s which carried these commandos came back with their bottoms holed. @Ray sir can tell you all more about that mission. This RAW agent had shared the cypher codes of IA with LTTE guys and all the coded conversation for this mission was broken into by LTTE using those codes.
 
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Ray

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Part of the story is true. The RAW agent in Chennai did get compromised by an American AirHostess who used to do lay overs in Chennai. This guy was later caught.
You guys may have heard of that catastropic landing by 1st Para SF in a graveyard to capture Pirabhakaran. Out of those 40, only nine came back. The LTTE had full knowledge of that super secret mission. The MI-8s which carried these commandos came back with their bottoms holed. @Ray sir can tell you all more about that mission. This RAW agent had shared the cypher codes of IA with LTTE guys and all the coded conversation for this mission was broken into by LTTE using those codes.
That is a mission, I would reserve my comments on!
 
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tarunraju

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I find the character of Vikram (John Abraham), the "him against the world secret agent," too similar to Maya (Jessica Chastain) from Zero Dark Thirty. A fictional figurehead used as a plot-driver to tell a real-life event inspired story. Ironically, while Maya succeeds in her mission to kill someone, Vikram fails in his mission to save someone.
 
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TrueSpirit

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In my opinion It is the first spy thriller in Bollywood which is made like a spy thriller; not like the shits like Ek tha tiger or D-day. You may like the movie; you may not; it depends up on your taste.....but, it is certainly best of its genre...(Actually there is only two spy thriller worth mentioning Madras Cafe and Mukhbir)... 4/5 from me...
You didn't like D-Day ?
 

Dovah

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Way better than the Firstpost review.
 

Ankit Purohit

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But Why he was showing his RAW ID to Police officer ,in Assassination part

They are not suppose to disclose their identity ?
 
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Vishwarupa

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Watched this movie yesterday.

Gripping narration without any dull moments & most of them in theater hall were talking about India's covert operation, RAW, LTTE, Foreign policy,current government's foreign polices.

Hats off to the movie maker for investing in a spy thriller instead of usual love & gay themes by bollywood. Also should thank them for Inciting the audience to think how covert operations works & what is it all about.

Overall a good movie & i rate it at 4.5 against 5.
 
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Sabir

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You didn't like D-Day ?
Only think worth mentioning in D-Day a new concept. Otherwise it was bakwas....same old bollywood style....4 men raw team killing so many enemies in direct attack but none of them is dying......The director could have thought of more intelligent ways to capture and transport the villain....btw he doesnt have any idea od spycraft....just think a covert agent in Pakistan talking with RAW chief in mobile phone....And crossing over to India on road..as if Pakistan dont have chopper or something to track them down...

ANother good spy movie made in bollywood is Mukhbir...try to watch it (may be in youtube)...But problem is 100% genuin spy movie will be so boring that it will flop....more you shift towards 007. greater will be the chance of success.
 

TrueSpirit

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Only think worth mentioning in D-Day a new concept. Otherwise it was bakwas....same old bollywood style....4 men raw team killing so many enemies in direct attack but none of them is dying......The director could have thought of more intelligent ways to capture and transport the villain....btw he doesnt have any idea od spycraft....just think a covert agent in Pakistan talking with RAW chief in mobile phone....And crossing over to India on road..as if Pakistan dont have chopper or something to track them down...

ANother good spy movie made in bollywood is Mukhbir...try to watch it (may be in youtube)...But problem is 100% genuin spy movie will be so boring that it will flop....more you shift towards 007. greater will be the chance of success.
I saw Mukhbir on TV last year, I think. It was quite close to how it works in the field. I liked it.

D-Day definitely lacked imagination & knowledge of tradecraft, but was a welcome respite from the series of relentless crap that Bollywood routinely dishes out.
 

TrueSpirit

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I was resisted Madras Cafe so far because of John Abraham-The actor of the millennium :rofl: but you guys have got me curious. Would watch it next week.
 

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