Review of Latest Hindi Movies: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola - As Confusing as the title

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola - As Confusing as the title

Vishal Bhardwaj has built up an enormous reputation as a director with movies like Omkara and Kaminey. His treatment of the complex story lines and well defined characters have left  their mark on his audiences. Therefore, there is tremendous excitement whenever he starts another movie and especially if the movie has a quirky name like "Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola".

In fact,when I told one of my friends, (He is not into Hindi Movies!!..the poor sod), about my desire to see this movie, our conversation ran like this:-

Me: Hey, I am going to watch this movie - "Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola".

He: Whats that? Is it a dialogue from the movie?

Me : No boss, its the name.

He: Was this guy drunk or does he want people to get curious about the movie?

Me: Obviously.. duh!!!!

He: I think this movie is going to be terrible. With a title like that, I am sure, he didn't know whether the audience would come- What better than a weird title which would pique audiences curiosity and help to make some money during the weekend!! Isn't it?

Me: Arre baba, the director is the same one who made "Kaminey", Remember? The movie you couldn't stop raving about - Especially Shahid's Torso :):) !!!

He: That fellow - Vishal Bhardwaj! (or is it Wee Shall= (he  smirked!).  I guess, it may be good, but , I still have a bad feeling about this.  I mean, what does the title mean anyway? and what is Matru? Is Bijlee a girls name? and Mandola? Is it "Man" and "Dola" as in the hindi word or it means something else. Maybe Mandela?

Me: Boss, Let me see the movie and get back to you.. I too am confused and only watching the movie shall clear all doubts.

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After the movie----

He: Hey , How was it? Do I need to get that "I told you so" look!

Me : (Valiantly trying to keep a straight face),  not exactly.

He: So what was the movie about? You know, Matru, Bijlee, Mandola ?

Me:  Matru is Imran Khans name and he is the personal valet/driver of Harphool Singh Mandola (Pankaj Kapoor) and Bijlee is Mandola's daughter. They all live in a village called Mandola.

He:  Thanks... but so what? Still don't make sense.

Me: Well, Matru has returned back to Mandola after studying in Delhi and is half a communist. Mandola is the rich landlord who wants to buy up all the farmland to
setup a SEZ. Shabana Azmi is the MLA. She with her son want to buy up all the land, take over Mandola's assets by marrying Bijlee. Bottom line, Shabana is the scheming B**** (its good she is taking  up different roles in the twilight of her career). She is helping Mandola to declare all the land in Mandola as useless and then buy it from the farmers for a price. So in order to do that, water and electrical supply to irrigate the fields have been curtailed so that the farmers can't grow anything. The farmers are resisting it, god favours them by giving them good rainfall after three years. Therefore, supported by a good crop, the farmers resist this high handed take over. The biggies are in no mood to relent and continue their offensive on the farmers by refusing to buy their produce and foreclosing their loans etc. To add to the Melee, there is a faceless benefactor, MAO (how original !) who is guiding the farmers in their fight against the Biggies.  You get the picture.

He: Yeah, some what. but I also heard some pink Buffalo was there in the movie. Where does that fit in?

Me: Mandola is a drunkard. He can do anything to get a drink and is always promising to leave drinking in the morning to start drinking again in  the evening. Whenever he starts drinking, he starts slurring and makes decisions based on his conscience. When he stops, he starts seeing a Pink Buffalo, which drives him mad. (BTW, Gulabo Bhains is also the liquor brand that he drinks!). When he is sober, he is cold blooded and calculating.

He: This seems to be making some sense. So how do you explain the Matru ki Bijlee.

Me: Bijlee is Mandola's daughter, who is a wild chick. She loves Shabana's son and wants to marry him. Shabana's son is foolish but petty and dangerous. Shabana couldn't care less about these two, but wants the wedding only for the land. Mandola thinks by his daughter marrying Shabana's son, political clearance for converting agri land to Non Agri shall be given. Matru secretly loves Bijlee but tries to show his indifference so much so that, he does not even try to stop their engagement or wedding. So the story is about Matru and Bijlee's love in Mandola (their village), with the land grab as a backround (or vice versa). Understood?

He: Man, this seems like a convoluted way of making a movie. And you were missing most of last evening- was the movie that long.

Me: Yeah, too long for comfort. It really dragged at some places. It is however a satire based on the mindset of Land grabbing and how rich literally bamboozle the poor into submission. However, he could've made it far more taut, which would have really made it a brilliant movie.

He: So what do you suggest? Should I watch it? How was the music?

Me: Well, you could , if you have the patience. But I thought Imran's character was not clearly defined. Anoushka's too was wishy-washy. Pankaj kapur and Shabana were pretty good but they way he told the story, he ran out of time to make it better and any longer than the present would've made it un watchable - Catch 22. Music was so-so. So you can safely miss it if you are not into political activism else watch it to understand the problem.

He: Food for thought and how much would you rate it?

Me: ** for the movie and ***  for his intentions.

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