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Madras Cafe: A crisp, compelling docu-drama

Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Aug 23, 2013, 11:43 AM IST

John Abraham's film convinces audiences that what they are seeing is really how it must have originally happened
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    Director: Shoojit Sircar
    Actors: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna
    Critic Rating: ***1/2
    Producer: John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Ronni Lahiri

    This is a work of fiction. But there is only one way to genuinely enjoy this film, which is to treat it as authentic recreation of a very important though unfortunate event of our contemporary history that we know nothing about. Besides that a woman with a bomb strapped around her waist, standing in the presence of thousands of people at a political rally, blew up a gentleman who was soon to be re-elected the Prime Minister of India in 1991.


    The facts leading up to his assassination makes you believe that the filmmakers may have recruited a spy as a screenwriting consultant in here—a retired or serving bureaucrat, preferably an ex or serving R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) agent—who has supplied details hitherto unknown about how and why the militant Tamil separatist organisation LTTE (represented as LTF) killed off Rajiv Gandhi, referred to throughout as the “Ex PM” here. A lot of the facts I am sure are available as public record – SIT (Special Investigation Team) findings, the Jain Commission Report, which probed Rajiv’s death, for instance. The film partly fictionalises but mostly dramatises the events, laying out a crisp, compelling docu-drama, remaining faithful to the genre, totally consistent with its serious theme, seldom losing sight of the realism that is essential to convince audiences that what they are seeing is really how it must have originally happened.

    ...Continued on next page

  • +3 See more slides

    Director: Shoojit Sircar
    Actors: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna
    Critic Rating: ***1/2
    Producer: John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Ronni Lahiri

    This is a work of fiction. But there is only one way to genuinely enjoy this film, which is to treat it as authentic recreation of a very important though unfortunate event of our contemporary history that we know nothing about. Besides that a woman with a bomb strapped around her waist, standing in the presence of thousands of people at a political rally, blew up a gentleman who was soon to be re-elected the Prime Minister of India in 1991.


    The facts leading up to his assassination makes you believe that the filmmakers may have recruited a spy as a screenwriting consultant in here—a retired or serving bureaucrat, preferably an ex or serving R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) agent—who has supplied details hitherto unknown about how and why the militant Tamil separatist organisation LTTE (represented as LTF) killed off Rajiv Gandhi, referred to throughout as the “Ex PM” here. A lot of the facts I am sure are available as public record – SIT (Special Investigation Team) findings, the Jain Commission Report, which probed Rajiv’s death, for instance. The film partly fictionalises but mostly dramatises the events, laying out a crisp, compelling docu-drama, remaining faithful to the genre, totally consistent with its serious theme, seldom losing sight of the realism that is essential to convince audiences that what they are seeing is really how it must have originally happened.

    ...Continued on next page

  • +3 See more slides

    Director: Shoojit Sircar
    Actors: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna
    Critic Rating: ***1/2
    Producer: John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Ronni Lahiri

    This is a work of fiction. But there is only one way to genuinely enjoy this film, which is to treat it as authentic recreation of a very important though unfortunate event of our contemporary history that we know nothing about. Besides that a woman with a bomb strapped around her waist, standing in the presence of thousands of people at a political rally, blew up a gentleman who was soon to be re-elected the Prime Minister of India in 1991.


    The facts leading up to his assassination makes you believe that the filmmakers may have recruited a spy as a screenwriting consultant in here—a retired or serving bureaucrat, preferably an ex or serving R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) agent—who has supplied details hitherto unknown about how and why the militant Tamil separatist organisation LTTE (represented as LTF) killed off Rajiv Gandhi, referred to throughout as the “Ex PM” here. A lot of the facts I am sure are available as public record – SIT (Special Investigation Team) findings, the Jain Commission Report, which probed Rajiv’s death, for instance. The film partly fictionalises but mostly dramatises the events, laying out a crisp, compelling docu-drama, remaining faithful to the genre, totally consistent with its serious theme, seldom losing sight of the realism that is essential to convince audiences that what they are seeing is really how it must have originally happened.

    ...Continued on next page

  • +3 See more slides

    Director: Shoojit Sircar
    Actors: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna
    Critic Rating: ***1/2
    Producer: John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Ronni Lahiri

    This is a work of fiction. But there is only one way to genuinely enjoy this film, which is to treat it as authentic recreation of a very important though unfortunate event of our contemporary history that we know nothing about. Besides that a woman with a bomb strapped around her waist, standing in the presence of thousands of people at a political rally, blew up a gentleman who was soon to be re-elected the Prime Minister of India in 1991.


    The facts leading up to his assassination makes you believe that the filmmakers may have recruited a spy as a screenwriting consultant in here—a retired or serving bureaucrat, preferably an ex or serving R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) agent—who has supplied details hitherto unknown about how and why the militant Tamil separatist organisation LTTE (represented as LTF) killed off Rajiv Gandhi, referred to throughout as the “Ex PM” here. A lot of the facts I am sure are available as public record – SIT (Special Investigation Team) findings, the Jain Commission Report, which probed Rajiv’s death, for instance. The film partly fictionalises but mostly dramatises the events, laying out a crisp, compelling docu-drama, remaining faithful to the genre, totally consistent with its serious theme, seldom losing sight of the realism that is essential to convince audiences that what they are seeing is really how it must have originally happened.

    ...Continued on next page

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