Madras Cafe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Madras Cafe Reviews

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½ December 5, 2013
a great suspenseful film. like the story, nicely improvised story, fantastic casting crew and obviously great directing........
December 1, 2013
Lots of information crammed together, so difficult to watch at times. But it helped me appreciate the conflict.
November 28, 2013
Daring and Heartbreaking!!
½ November 26, 2013
Even though the writing is quite on-the-nose for a film that claims to be so different, I do admire the ambition of the film. A thriller rooted in factual events is not easy to make. But I do want to say two things about the film. Nargis Fakhri - please know that you have the potential to ruin a perfectly good film. John Abraham - I applaud your guts for producing films like Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe, but I can't help but wonder if your latest production could have greatly benefitted from an actor that has less visceral and more intellectual muscle. I wonder if an actor like Kay Kay Menon could have injected in Vikram the kind of brooding intensity that the film really needed for us to care about what happened. Instead, we watched, simply waiting for the next thing to happen, without much emotional investment.
November 25, 2013
Gripping from the first frame to the last, Bollywood proves yet again that it is going beyond conventional cinema. As good as any Hollywood spy thriller, the movie draws its inspiration from the LTTE crisis in Sri Lanka and Rajiv Gandhi's assassination weaving a true story with an equally engaging fictional one. John Abraham gives a measured performance which might be one of his best till date. Director Sircar needs appreciation for how vividly and beautifully he has shot through Kerala and Sri Lanka bringing forth both the beauty and the horror that scars its past. Nargis Fakhri gets her fair share and the director intelligently makes her talk in English which gives her a genuine persona and reveals her true self.
½ November 11, 2013
One of the best Hindi movie I saw in all this year, thrilling, exciting and tight screenplay, will keep you always on the edge, John Abraham is amazing in it, a must watch...
October 21, 2013
This movie is based on a defined clandestine operation by the Indian military force and RAW intelligence agency against LTTE. This movie very much well directed that it could become one of the best movie in 2013. It's really worthwhile to watch. Must see.
October 17, 2013
This kind of movies are rare in Hindi Film Industry. A biopic, intelligent thriller; a slight inference to "The Bourne Series" is un-unthinkable. But, hats off to John Abraham for putting up such a sensitive topic on screen.
October 6, 2013
This Intense and fiery espionage flick easily slips into the league of our classic thrillers. Sircar carefully sketches the narrative streamlining fiction and pragmatism, giving it a niche of its own. Quite evidently a lot of research has gone into this narrative and probably is the closest attempt ever to capture the actualities of the heinous plot of Rajiv Gandhi assassination..Casting is an absolute awe with sircar extracting nothing less than a feat from his ensemble team of fine performers. Cinematography is exceptional and editing is at its slickest. John's performance reflects the kind of fine tuning and refinement the actor has nurtured over his career spanning a decade. Sircar has conceptualized and executed the entire script with power packed flamboyance.. A Bold thumbs up!
½ September 28, 2013
Good and bad in parts
September 23, 2013
superb thriller by shoojit sircar!!!serious n intense screenplay and no irrelevant songs n cheezy dilouges...based on d protests in srilanka by tamils in the late 20th century and how the indian PM was killed because of the chaos in a foreign country....kinda quite un-bollywood movie but brilliant work done by the cast and the director
September 22, 2013
First John Abraham movie that I like.
September 22, 2013
ek baar Argo dekh lete Sircar babu
½ September 20, 2013
Ever since the onset of hindi cinema, the onus of being the movie backdrop exclusively lies with north and west India. Recent times has witnessed diversification to east India (Devdas, Yuva, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, Lootera) as well. Now South India seems to have caught the fancy of Bollywood filmmakers. Be it autobiography (The Dirty Picture), comedy (Chennai Express) or issue awareness (Madras Cafe), the backdrop and supporting cast is intermittently South Indian!

Madras Cafe primarily deals with LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) during the mid 1980s, followed by the assassination of our late Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi at the onset of 1990s. However, the movie does not claim to be a celluloid presentation of the same. Throughout the movie, the rebel group is referred to as LTF.

The movie is kind of well made. Scenes are beautifully derived out of approximately thirty years old photographs of evacuation and massacre that took place in the Sri Lankan regions that were infested with the rebel groups - both Tamil and Sri Lankan. This able derivation does remind you of the international movie Frida (Salma Hayak, Alfred Molina). Therein too scenes are beautifully derived out of paintings done by Frida Khalo.

Most of the cine goers of today were either not born or were very young during the mid 1980s. And thus, the movie does create the required awareness. The producer-director duo, John Abraham and Shoojit Sircar did a fantastic job with their debut film 'Vicky Donor' and they continue to create the same magic with 'Madras Café', in spite of the two movies being as contrasting as chalk and cheese. Shoojit has intelligently played upon the strengths of John and the result is good. Also, hats off to the makers for refraining from showing unnecessary gore, death and item numbers. Please note that, the Sri Lankan Civil War killed an estimated 80,000-100,000 people between 1982 and 2009.

However, the problem lies in the style of movie narration. Most of the hindi speaking audience is not well informed about the ongoings of the southern region, nor do they understand an iota of any of the southern languages, or the local culture that prevails there. Madras Cafe deals with a complex subject as it entails - the Indian PM and his Cabinet, Indian Military and Intelligence, Rebel Forces in Sri Lanka - both the Tamil and the Sri Lankan, Sri Lankan Army, Media and Armament Suppliers from abroad. And then, there are possibilities of leaks in all the organizations. Each leading character is prone to have a personal motive along with the political motive. Now, such a complex tale requires a lot of precision and clarity in its method of story telling. In the absence of which, you are very likely to get confused, unless you are an avid reader and movie enthusiast of international political thrillers. The aforementioned confusion very much prevails in the first half of 'Madras Cafe'.

During the climax of the movie, you make an interesting observation. The climax deals with the assassination of the ex Indian PM by a human bomb (South Indian lady). Normally, during such scenes, you pray till the last second, to call off the fast approaching calamity as you simply don't want it to happen. Till the last second, you pray for the hero to come and save the day for everyone. But, here, you actually want to see it all happen! You want the black day in the history of Indian politics to be re-created right in front of your eyes, as you were very young and confused when this event actually took place!

Actingwise, all are OK. Within his range, John is wisely experimenting with his roles, and he is doing a good job out of it. It is a pleasant surprise to see the popular Indian television producer-director and quiz show host, Siddhartha Basu perform well. Ajay Rathnam as 'Prabhakaran' looks effective. Special accolades for Prakash Belawadi for playing the drunken and shrewd south Indian official in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. His facial structure resembles that of the legendary musician A.R. Rahman. Nargis Fakhri plays the role of a hard core British journalist. Her naturally accentuated English has suited the role perfectly. Also, she has well adopted the cold demeanor required for such a role.
September 19, 2013
Who is the winneR? who gained? Awesome movie
September 17, 2013
Riveting! I had gone in with not too high expectations but was pleasantly surprised. John Abraham needs to be given more challenging roles.
½ September 16, 2013
Madras Cafe succeeds with the rawness of its conception. Sircar's attempt to dust the most controversial Indian conspiracy and giving it a fictional make-up is commendable.
The dramatized version of Indo-Lankan account culminating the assassination of ex-PM (Rajiv Gandhi) is spoken from the point of a RAW Agent who defends political killings at the same time accepts the flaw in his own system leading to the global warfare and carnage. This espionage thriller lacks energy as well as facts but doesn't take any judgmental stand
Mr. Perfect built-John's attempt to underplay (in the sense being himself) made him likable,Nargis the British journalist with American accent survives. Ajay playing the main character Anna fails deliberately with his expression missing the natural charm and characteristic smile of Velu Prabhakaran but it is Siddhartha Basu and Prakash who excel making a stand-out appearance. Dibang plays the best cameo in his own reporting style.
Madras café doesn't serves the original "filter kaapi" but the instant decaffeinated version is riveting and engaging;deserves a watch.
½ September 12, 2013
Madras Café comes from the Zero Dark Thirty school of filmmaking. The backdrop of the movie is that of the 1990s civil war inflicted Sri Lanka and centers on a fictional account of the Rajeev Gandhi assassination. Compared to others films coming from the recent Bollywood obsession with espionage thrillers, the content and craft of Madras Café is of superior class and the director Shoojit Sircar deals his subject with much needed boldness and realism.

The film opens in the 1990s. LTF (Liberation Tamil Front) is battling the Sri Lankan government to get a separate state for the Tamil minority of the nation. The conflict has reached to a critical point with increasing number of casualties. This issue has gained international attention and as an influential neighbor, India comes in as a mediator to talk both parties to amend peace. But when the LTF rejects all kind of peace proposals from India, the only option for the Indian government is to operate covert missions and take down the leader of LTF.

In comes Major Vikram (John Abraham), the right man for the right job. He's recruited by RAW and is assigned the responsibility to head all undercover missions and bring an end to the guerrilla movement. As the story unfolds, Vikram delves deeper into conspiracies and double-crossings that test him both physically and psychologically.

From the beginning, the film carries a tensed tone. The opening minutes of the film presents brutal images of war and the outcry of the innocents are hauntingly filmed. It is perhaps the strength of the screenplay that keeps the story unpredictable, even though we are aware about the assassination plot upfront. Each sequence throws Major Vikram into uncharted territories as we witness him whirling into uncertainty and suspicions.

As a political thriller, Madras Café is fast paced and demands sincere attention from its audience. The only glitch is that it tries to incorporate too much material at once and races its way till the end. Also, few scenes, the ones with the officers talking in their own lingos, are completely exposition heavy and confusing. However, even with a politically incorrect plot, Madras Café is believable and it leaves behind a social commentary on the devastating consequences of war.
September 7, 2013
Very smart take on real life events! Look out for the subtle references!
September 6, 2013
It failed somewhere, though the story had all the potential.
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