MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA movie review: Vishal Bhardwaj disappoints with this predictable tale

Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma, Imran Khan and a bottle of Gulabo swirl impeccably to the steps choreographed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Yet, they fail to take your breath away…

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a movie set in the rustic locales of Mandola (a village in Haryana). And same is a part of Haripool aka Harry Mandola’s (Pankaj Kapur) name, who turns into Hariya after four pegs of Gulabo – a (local) brand of alcohol. Gulabo – either in the form of a bottle or a cow – keeps appearing in the movie every 15 minutes. But try to keep your mind off this (obvious) detail or the movie will become as predictable as a Monday morning.

The movie roughly revolves around the fertile land owned by the dwellers of Mandola that Madam Politician (Shabana Azmi) and Mr Mandola are eyeing for their personal gain. So how does Matru (Imran Khan) figure into all this, you may ask. Matru is Mandola’s rugged man Friday, who tries his best to save the villagers from Mandola’s evil intentions.

Anushka Sharma aka Bijlee plays the role of Mandola’s daughter and is her usual chirpy self who does a great job of prancing around with an ear-to-ear grin pasted on her lovely face.

Then there’s Baadal (Arya Babbar), who is Madam Politician’s son – a dumb, rich kid whose sole purpose in life is to get married to Bijlee so that he and his Mommy can enjoy Mandola’s wealth thereafter.

The movie moves at an easy pace as all the characters get sketched at leisure. Vishal Bhardwaj has taken enough care to incorporate ample songs that allow tiny loo breaks throughout the movie. So, don’t fret if you missed out on popcorn during the interval; you always stand a chance to buy it during one of the numbers where nothing actually gets added to the storyline.

While the pace or twists are nothing to boast of, we appreciate the way Bhardwaj has kept the rustic flavour intact all through the movie. And adding to it all is Pankaj Kapur’s flawless performance that makes us fall in love with him right from the opening scene.

Imran has done a good job at looking rugged, though he did slip into his usual guy-next-door persona a couple of times. But on the whole, commendable.

So if you have an option of watching the movie at a theatre or waiting for it to premiere on television, we suggest you choose the second. Trust us, you won’t be missing out on anything.

And one message for Vishal Bhardwaj as we sign off – you can do better!

Rating: 2.5 out of 52.5 Star Rating

Reviewed by Latika Payak

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