Such a long journey, Mr Abraham. A journalist in post-Taliban Afghanistan. An American Muslim in post-9/11 New York. And now a RAW agent in the months leading to a former Indian Prime Minister’s assassination by the LTTE. Such a tragedy if Abraham continues to be remembered as That Boy in the Yellow Chaddi.
Madras Cafe serves the right brew of suspense, brilliant performances (especially by what one referes to as supporting characters), beautiful cinematography (but one that doesn’t overpower the script as most desi flicks in recent times have managed to do). Yes, it has Ms Nargis “Blowfish” Fakhri and many have been put off by her Hum Tou Angrezi Mai Bolega stint—but considering I live with a four year old who communicates in English to my 24/7 Pushto, neither of us losing a step, or stumbling in our conversation, I can let this go by; and well find it believable. It helps that the rest of the cast and the story make up for such annoyances.
So the story as you may know by now is about RAW agents caught out during the LTTE and Indian Peacekeeping Forces fracas ,how India lost its Prime Minister to a suicide bombing and that sadly in realpolitik there are no permanent friends and foes just permanent interests . Yes, the initial half hour as Abraham’s voice over spoon feeds you Sri Lanka Civil War 101 With A Special Focus on India Foreign Policy may put us off; but then we will be reminded that most of John Abraham’s fans might have been toddlers (if not a twinkle in their dad’s eye) when the Prime Minister formerly known as Mr Clean was assassinated. A lot of white neta topis have been sullied since then, water flown under Ram Setu.
Madras Cafe is a window to a particular instant in India’s momentous history. And to understand once again that in the end it is only the anonymous puppeteer that pulls at and holds all the strings.