Madras Cafe starts with the protagonist Vikram Singh (John Abraham) in a shocking and unrecognisable state of a drunkard, who was once the special Indian RAW officer. Singh narrates the story of the horrific experience that he had undergone, after he was appointed by the intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing to conduct covert operations in Sri Lanka shortly after the Indian Peace Keeping Force was forced to withdraw.
As he journeys to Sri Lanka, with the intention of disrupting a rebel group, he discovers the larger issue. What’s the larger issue? and how does he uncover a conspiracy in the process? The protagonist gets caught in the Indo-Sri Lankan political conspiracy and turmoil, finally getting targeted by the groups.
Madras Cafe exposes the culture of violence that every nation bears, in which the only people who suffer are the commoners who seek only peace and happiness from their lives. Madras Cafe is an undeniably impressive and well-thought out flick, that reveals a lot of lesser-known facts about the Sri Lankan War and the pathetic plight of the Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka during the 80s.
Shoojit Sircar had delivered a winner with his last movie Vicky Donor and he repeats his magic with Madras Café. If there ever was a Bollywood movie, which was made on the lines of political thrillers that the West throws up, it is this movie. However, don’t expect muscular heroes fighting off a dozen bad guys and saving the day to walk in the sunset with the heroine. Madras Café is as real as it gets…and how! Moreover, Sircar takes the effort to masterfully educate the audience about the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict, which puts things into perspective, especially for viewers of this generation, who might not be aware of the issue.
After playing a loud and larger-than-life character in Shootout At Wadala, it is quite refreshing to see John Abraham in a restrained performance in Madras Café, where he becomes an actor and not a star. Spies are not like James Bond at all and John Abraham is more like a character from Frederick Forsyth than Ian Fleming. Nargis Fakhri too does a decent job, though she doesn’t get much screen time. Siddharth Basu as RAW head RD is a natural and Prakash Belawade, who plays John’s superior Bala, is a delight to watch. The rest of the cast has performed admirably.
Madras Cafe is captivating, compelling and engaging throughout. It’s a wake up for those filmgoers, who just look upto to a movie for some mindless giggles and laughters only. Madras Cafe exposes the long lost realities and brutal conspiracies in our politics and the sufferings of our fellow brothers during civil wars, that are left back in the dusty pages of history.