Madaari's trailer unabashedly revealed its two crucial plot points - a man has lost his child and that man is out for vigilante justice. Common sense dictates that the director, Nishikanth Kamat was confident of the movie delivering more surprises along the way. But, that wasn't the case. Madaari turned out to be a well-made movie, but not one that'll jolt you out of your reverie, like the tagline Desh So Raha Hai claims.
Madaari is about Nirmal (Irrfan Khan) whose wife leaves him and his child in search of greener pastures. His love for his son is extraordinary. But, that is tested when the kid dies under a collapsed bridge. To attract attention to the issue, Nirmal kidnaps the home minister's son from a boarding school (despite the threat the home minister dries up the security for political mileage) and as ransom demands that the issues be dug out, culprits found and punished. That means, underneath the debris of all the issues of tragedy and loss the cops under Nachiket (Jimmy Shergill) have too much to do. A 'lucky break for the cops' helps the movie go forward, the kind of lucky breaks that logical movies generally avoid.
Madaari tries to deliver a message. The message is as insightful as the statements, 'The sun rises in the east' or 'Rahul Baba has an IQ below 50.' Irrfan Khan and Jimmy perform really well. Irrfan brings in shades of lunacy in his character while Jimmy maintains his dry wit and serious demeanor that has now become his trademark style. But, beyond that, neither the story, nor the Stockholm Syndrome that the screenplay involves (Irrfan and the 8 year old kid even discuss this) inspire much enthusiasm. The movie is taut but the screenplay lacks novelty. It is like a well-made movie bereft of story. You go through the pace, the travails, Nirmal's flashbacks, the journeys waiting for the ending that was meant to be sensational. But, the ending is wishful thinking mostly and boring. And unrealistic. Like the narrator himself claims. Poking fun at media or the politicians is now passe, as passe as young couples blaming housemaids. Everyone knows about it and yawns over it.
The movie could have been better had the chemistry between Nirmal and the 8 year old son of the home minister, Rohan, evolved. But, it doesn't. The low-budget movie fails to strike a chord as the flat OST and insipid dialogues only do the job, nothing more. That efficiency would have helped if there was a saving grace in the screenplay or at least some wit as it was promised early in the movie. But that was not to be. Madaari was not a bad movie. It was made well. Irrfan was brilliant. But, by the end of it, you find yourself wondering, 'why beat the drum we all have heard a hundred times'.