South is the flavour of the season as after Chennai now it's time for Madras and the similarities between the two end right there. Rajiv Gandhi's assassination shook the nation in the 90's and the entire country was shaken by the tragedy. After two decades, Shoojit Sircar mustered up courage to make a movie which presents the facts to audiences in a very neutral manner.
The movie opens with a brutal bus scene in which the people travelling are killed and the reason being a Sri Lankan Civil war between LTF and the Sinhalese. The LTF head Anna Bhaskaran (Ajay Rathnam) forms his army to defend the Tamilian and opened war on the civilians. Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is an army officer posted in Cochin and he gets a call from RAW head Robin Dutt (Siddharth Basu) to report to Delhi. Vikram is given an assignment to head to Jaffna and meet Shri who is the only man who can dare to fight Anna; the Indian government agrees to extend their support in form of arms. Vikram reports to Bala (Prakash Belawadi) and meets a war journalist Jaya (Nargis Fakhri) in Sri Lanka. The arm deal gets ambushed and later Vikram is kidnapped by LTF, however, he is rescued by the Indian army. Vikram is not ready to leave and heads to meet Mallya who is Anna's right hand and tempts him to become the head of LTF after killing Anna. All the plans eventually fail and the events lead to assassination of ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
From 'Vicky Donor' to 'Madras Cafe', Shoojit Sircar takes a giant leap as a director and takes on the challenge of directing a political thriller. Sircar keeps the movie real without adding any songs or dramatic scenes that break the momentum. The outcome of the 'human bomb' explosion is known, however he still manages to evoke excitement. Director of Photography Kamaljeet Negi has done a stupendous job in capturing visuals that are scary yet scenic. Action Director Manohar Verma’s work is brilliant as he manages to keep the stunts real without any dramatic fights. Music by Shantanu Moitra is very impactful. Chandrashekhar Prajapati edits the length of the movie precisely and keeps it gripping.
John Abraham has delivered the best performance of his career. He makes his character look so vulnerable despite being a strong player in the situation. From uncertainty to melancholy, John portrays every emotion just right and he will win the audience's hearts and silence his critics. Nargis Fakhri fits the role of an International war journalist really well and does a good job. Debutante Rashi Khanna is confident. Siddharth Basu is a revelation and he indeed acts very well. Sanjay Gurbaxani plays Ex-PM and he does a good impersonation of Rajiv Gandhi. Ajay Rathnam plays Anna to excellence.
Madras Cafe is a movie that will change the way thrillers are made in the industry and will become a benchmark in its own right. Highly recommended.