With the quirky title that it is bestowed with, ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ befits the category of a rustic comic caper. Sure, it does that but only in bits and pieces. It seems that ace film maker and music director Vishal Bhardwaj had the best possible resources to make his film except a sturdy script thereby making it score less in the quality department as compared to his other works.
The film opens to introduce Haripool aka Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapoor), a filthy rich and alcoholic builder and Matru (Imran Khan) who is following his family tradition of serving the Mandola family even after completing his education. The story is set up in a small village in Haryana named after the Mandola clan and centers around Harry and a vile politician Chaudhari Devi’s (Shabana Azmi) evil plans to usurp the fertile land owned by the village farmers for her personal gains. Also in the picture is Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) to add glamour and that much-needed spark to an otherwise dull film. Other characters who have added weight to the movie are Chaudhari Devi’s stupid son Badal (Arya Babbar) who wants to marry Bijlee to enjoy the property of the Mandolas and a Gulabi bhains (pink buffalo) which keeps appearing in the film every now and then to haunt Harry Mandola.
The movie barely manages to hold one’s attention in the first half owing to its slow narration but gathers pace only towards the fag end of the film. Comedy scenes are weaved into the tale but there are only a few sensible ones that truly manage to bring a broad smile. And ditto for the serious scenes too that were put to induce contemplation. The best part about the film is that the characters are sketched very nicely and the actors too have done their job in playing their parts. Also, the joke played on Navneet Nishan is worth underlining too. A fat Navneet has been made to wear a pink dress that is an allegory related to the Gulabi bhains.
Pankaj Kapoor as a drunkard Harry Mandola has delivered what is expected from a pro actor like him. He has well portrayed the shades of grey that his over ambitious character is rich with. And together with another maestro Shabana Azmi – Vishal Bhardwaj has proved that he knows how to choose villains for his films. Remember Saif Ali Khan in ‘Omkara’?
Anushka Sharma’s character has punk and glamour that we have seen even in her earlier films but even after proving her acting prowess in 6 odd films, this leggy actress is a feast for the eyes every time she comes on screen. Imran Khan has got his Haryanvi accent fairly right but there are times when he falters in that respect. There are even instances when he slips on from his rustic village man’s character to be the chocolate boy he is commonly known to be. All in all, Matru is not one of Imran’s best played roles and he still has a long road to go to reach that level.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s music is average and except the title track, there is nothing worth being all ears for. Besides that, the village landscape has been captured well by cinematographer Kartik Vijay making it all look appealing and real.
There is nothing out-of-the-box in ‘Matru Ki Bijee Ka Mandola’ except the Gulabi Bhains and honestly you won’t miss out on anything even if you give this film a miss!