Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013) *MQ*

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Set in the rustic surroundings of a village in Haryana, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a comedy-drama about Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapoor), a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) and the unusual bond they both share with Harry’s man Friday, Matru (Imran Khan).

Much to her father’s delight, Bijlee is all set to marry Baadal (Aarya Babbar), the son of a powerful politician Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Aami). This alliance which is far from just being a simple union of two young people becomes the seed for a story that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

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 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.

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