Present day movies inherit its present form from various sources. English Theatre, Russian Circus, Opera and Indian Nautanki. It appears that the last one has now attracted the attention of the movie makers all over the world.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru ki bijli ka mandola is a typical masala movie on nautanki tradition. Little story but too much ado and a few socially relevant issues which entitled it my attention. Lots of new clichés in dialogues which are on Bhojpuri cinema tradition, while making essentially a movie on the back drop of State of Haryana.
Pankaj Kapoor is in lead role as Vassal/Landlord/Zamindar named Mandola. It is always a pleasure to watch him reinvent himself for different characters in different movies. As alcoholic father/person/landlord Pankaj beautifully depicts the inner conflict of being and to be. When drunk, he is his natural self but when sober he is a cruel exploiting and insensitive rich Landlord. His Haryanvi (language) is least rustic. At times he alone carries the story with him. Shabana is her usual best as corrupt conspiring, manipulative Minister which she plays so naturally.
Imraan in support role does rather well.
Anuksha Sharma in lead could have done better if she had studied the Haryanvi Culture which is often confused with Punjabi Culture. She also seems to have peacock feet.
Movie is full of brain dead comic scenes which are hilarious.
The dialogues are full of abuses and clichés and slang which would be impossible to translate.
It is heartening to see that film makers are finding Haryanvi interesting and natural fun.
The movie has love story, limousine, Conspiracy theory, Exploitation of farmers, bikini bath scene besides Cow dung war. It also has a small UFO fun. Not to mention Zulu dance, a part of which is repeated in a bhajan. To top it all, the fat Indian wedding. There is also a scene making fun of McBeth and a tongue to tongue kiss. That is why it is a Masala Movie.
The movie also highlights the problems of farmers ranging from finance, corrupt administration and for the first time brought on screen the problem of abuse of land acquisition laws besides lack of storage space for harvested crop. Above all the human greed for which self respect is sacrificed by the influential Minister.
The name of movie has no meaning. Names of three lead characters has been jumbled up to form a sentence.
A unique attempt to put superfluous into humour successfully while raising some social issues. Can be watched once for fun.
Vishal Bhardwaj is a talented Director who can do much better but in this movie it was Pankaj Kapoor who surpassed his all previous performances.
© Sandeep Bhalla