Irrfan Khan, Vishesh Bansal, Tushar Dalvi, Jimmy Shergill, Nitesh Pandey
IrrfanKhan, Shailesh Singh, Madan Paliwal,Sutapa Sikdar, Shailja Kejriwal
Nishikant Kamat
Ritesh Shah
Social Thriller

‘The power of a common man’ has become a favourite theme amongst filmmakers, a tried and tested formula that usually guarantees to grab the audience’s attention.

However, Madaari, which draws inspiration from this line of thought and is a story of an ordinary man from the crowd of 120 crore people, who becomes a vigilante and shows the corrupt system of India and the power of a common man, fails to evoke any strong emotions. Be it anger towards the system that is plagued by corruption or empathy for the victims who suffer because of the corrupt system.

While director Nishikant Kamat had all the right and powerful tools such as Irrfan Khan, Jimmy Shergill and a genuinely good theme, Madaari, despite a powerful social message manages to just cross the ‘average’ mark. And it is certainly not anywhere close to the other gems – Mumbai Meri Jaan and Drishyam - that this director has delivered earlier.

The film begins with the breaking news of the kidnapping of Home Minister’s son – Rohan (Vishesh Bansal) and instantly grabs your attention with its catchy background score and the schematized abduction plan devised by Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan), an ordinary man who has lost his only son in a tragedy caused by corruption.

Taking no time, the director makes his point clear and keeps it quite real but soon the narratives, which start with a bang lose its grips and fall in a slow hackneyed space.

The movie constantly keeps reminding us of Neeraj Pandey’s A Wednesday - however, unlike that award-winning film, Madaari fails to keep us engaged. The story is convoluted and tries to encapsulate everything — right from the plight of the common man to corrupt politicians to farmers’ suicides to the control of the system over the media etc., thus losing perspective and focus.

Having said that, there are also some scenes and hard-hitting dialogues that do make a powerful impact like the one – “8 sal ke bachche ko pata hai power kya cheez hai.”

No doubt the film’s biggest asset is the master actor Irrfan Khan, who as the bereaved father turned vigilante balances his angst, his hatred, his anger, and the many other layers of his character with aplomb.  

Some of his scenes with the young Vishesh are endearing and the relationship that develops between the two is beautiful. Bollywood has often experimented with the Stockholm syndrome, but this bond between Nirmal and Rohan that Nishikant builds is one of the sweetest. The scene where Rohan proclaims to understand why Nirmal kidnaps him and hugs him is one of the best moments of the film.

Jimmy Shergill does his part with conviction but somehow one feels his talent is wasted due to the lack of a powerful script. Vishesh as the kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth is impressive.

On the whole, Madaari isn’t bad but does fall short of expectations.   

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