Madaari is kind of like “A Wednesday” because it also features a hero who wants to punish the corrupt. Here too it is a lone wolf, ordinary commoner Nirmal Kumar (Khan), who’s taken an extraordinary step – kidnapping the Home Minister’s son – to force the powers-to-be to listen to his demands. The Home Minister calls in the experts and the investigative agencies, and it’s a cat-and-mouse game. Will Nirmal Kumar get his justice?
This is a passable film, mainly because of Irrfan Khan, who is an amazing actor. The film, which for the longest time is devoted to the search for the missing boy and his kidnapper, should have worked like a thriller, but is kinda dragged out and slow-paced. In the film, we do get to see Nirmal’s personal anguish, and Khan does remarkably well in portraying his grief. He really is the backbone of the film; without him, Madaari would probably have disappeared unseen into the background.
Jimmy Shergill, the other should-have-been-pillar of this film plays Nachiket Verma, a higher-up in one of the investigative agencies, and the one spearheading the search. His character seems incapable of catching his prey despite the bold promises he makes and Shergill himself appears stilted. Vishesh Bansal plays Rohan Goswami, the little boy who is kidnapped, and does a fairly decent job, given that kids in Hindi movies are almost uniformly annoying.
When you look at this film post-watch, you aren’t floored by it, but it wasn’t bad either. It had the potential, but didn’t offer up anything new or innovative. Madaari (madaari in Hindi is a street performer who trains monkeys to do tricks) does attempt to show the unholy nexus between Indian politics and governance, and the way the common man is getting shafted, but when have we not seen that before? The fighting-against-corruption/vigilante justice theme isn’t new anymore, and if employing this theme, there is a necessity to take up a new tack or angle to stand out. Unfortunately Madaari doesn’t do that, so it’s ho-hum. Been there, seen that.
Kidwise: Some potentially scary themes implying dangerous situations, and harm to kids. Some violence – gunshot wounds etc.