Cast : John Abraham,Nargis Fakhri
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Producer: John Abraham
Music Director: Shantanu Moitra
Lyricst: Manoj Tapadia
Release Date: 23 Aug 2013
Madras Cafe movie is an Indian political thriller in which John Abraham plays as an Indian intelligence agent, while Nargis Fakhri as an international reporter. The film also deals with the subject of terrorism.
The movie is set against the backdrop of the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The film has been titled Madras Cafe, as the plot to kill Gandhi was hatched at the cafe. The original location of the cafe is not specified in the film.
Story in detail:
The film, set in India and Sri Lanka, is a political spy thriller set against backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is an Indian Army special officer who is appointed by the intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing to conduct covert operations in Sri Lanka shortly after Indian Peace Keeping Force was forced to withdraw.
As he journeys to Sri Lanka, with the intention of disrupting a rebel group, he discovers the larger issue. There he meets a British journalist (Jaya) who wants to reveal the truth about the civil war, and in the process he uncovers a conspiracy.
John Abraham – Vikram Singh (Indian army officer appointed by the Research and Analysis Wing to carry out operations in Jaffna). Singh is fictitious, Sircar said he had “used real references, portrayed rebel groups, revolutionary freedom fighters, Indian Peace Keeping Forces (and) shown how India got involved and the chaos”.
Nargis Fakhri – Jaya (a British war correspondent in Sri Lanka)
Madras Cafe Movie Review:
Director Shoojit Sircar who was lastly hailed with Vicky Donor breaks the shells of satirical humor and comes out shrewdly for a series of serious saga. The Sri Lankan Civil War in Madras Cafe isn’t exploited but is dealt with immense responsibility.
Each character has a weighty role and the director designs them with perfection, which doesn’t go overboard. Among them there is one Vikram Singh (John Abraham), an encouraging Indian soldier who is picked up by the intelligence agency for a secret operation in Sri Lanka, which is going through an outrageous civil war lead by Anna (Ajay Rathnam) a leader of fictitious rebel group LTF (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).
As Vikram goes deeper into the operation there with an intention to disrupt the ruling group he discovers a bizarre issue that could directly affect India.
There is no denying to the fact that the plot of the assassination is inspired by late politician Rajiv Gandhi’s demise, but is entirely different.
This scenario comes in the second half while the first half has the gruesome butchery in Sri Lanka which is marvelously recreated by cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi in Tamil Nadu and Kerela.
Letting the hard slaughter prevail the light moments between the Vikram and Rahi (debutant Ruby Singh) are also given a limelight. But the director never misses the plot and gives a thunderous fascinating twist.
John Abrahim is impeccable as Vikram Singh. It’s his third outing this year and all of them are better than the other. He gives a plausible performance.
Nargis Fakri is cast with a deep intention. Sircar knows her and brings out what it is required for the character like an international journalist who mostly has English dialect. Nargis fits into the role.
The debutant actress Rashi Khanna, has a pleasant appearance on screen. Ajay Rathnam looks commanding.
Music by Shantanu Moitra is great.
Shoojit Sircar with a heavy heart goes deeper into hallows of the civil war which sooner takes a political turn. What we appreciate about Sircar is his keen curiosity into the detailing of the petty department and links, which lead to the moving climax.
Straight up, Madras Cafe couldn’t be more different to director Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor. Political, tense, finally explosive, Madras Cafe is no picnic in the neighborhood park. Major Vikram Singh (Abraham) lands in Sri Lanka, heading RAW’s covert operations. He must work with colleague Bala to get Anna Bhaskaran (Rathnam), head of the rebel LTF group – “Also known as Tigers” – to accept a peaceful resolution. Vikram knows Anna will be a huge challenge – what surprises him is how many others he must face.
Madras Cafe dives boldly into terrain Bollywood hasn’t touched before. Its arsenal features research, respect and bravely, no songs. But it’s not arty or preachy anywhere. Its first half is layered, complex trails – leaks, foreign interests, domestic rivals – slowly revealed to Vikram. As RAW boss Robin Dutt (Basu) ups the pressure, Vikram must move fast through sultry, dangerous airs. His foreign journalist friend Jaya (Fakhri, apparently playing real-life journalist Anita Pratap, who first interviewed LTTE chief Prabhakaran) knows this conflict’s heart even better than Vikram, whose discoveries, from Sri Lanka to South Block, grow traumatic.
Madras Cafe‘s true star is its story which builds up to an agonizing end. It brings to life the Lankan war which many viewers were too young to have known. It highlights India’s ambiguous role, moving sensitively, taking no sides, except those of relationships involving respect – but no romance – between Vikram and Jaya, duty, victory and loss. Its second half grows more fraught and taut, conspiracies and compulsions becoming clearer. John stays low-key and competent as Vikram while supporting actors, like agents Bala, SP and Vasu, stand out. Restrained performances by the LTF suicide bombers are chilling.
The cinematography is remarkable, shots of huge naval warships, helicopters floating across hills, sunshine on a deadly sea, haunting. Commendably, Sircar never overindulges in gore, keeping Madras Cafe a shifting site of mental violence. Madras Cafe deserves an extra half-star for guts, going for the gunpowder – but with a restrained hand.