Madras Cafe – Their Coffee was not Strong

For a movie on such a sensitive and controversial topic, why did Madras Cafe sound like an advertisement for Rajiv Gandhi? While it is totally understandable and expected that RAW officials would regret what they would see as a professional failure, their (and their families’?) deeply personal regret for “ex-PM – unki kya galti thi” sounds horribly out-of-place.

The situation, the heroes and villains, the “intelligence” operations, the entire depiction of the conflict feels simplistic. Such a long history of war doesn’t leave things in black and white. There are complexities and grays everywhere. One can’t really recognize what is right and what is wrong there. The film takes sides without the crisis of conscience such a situation creates.

And as for the fiction part, I wish they had made “the best RAW officer” succeed in at least one operation to established his “the best RAW officer”ship. That part was almost beaten down the audience’s throat! Bala, as a double agent, was too obvious in his tricks. By the way, “the best RAW officer” seemed quite proficient in several languages including English. If he could break into English while talking to Srilankan Tamil rebels, his wife and his colleagues and bosses, why was he talking to the British journalist in Hindi, while she didn’t utter a word in any language other than English?

The only question the movie seems to ask is “ex PM – unki kya galti thi?”. What about all those killed around him in the blast intended for him? The impoverished, displaced, dying civilians in “the island”? The Indian soldiers killed? “Unki kya galti thi”, bhai? Who cares?

The movie seemed like a project that would have had a bold start, but which had to be toned down to avoid controversies and political pressure. And toned down it was. So much that it became quite honest to the disclaimer shown in the beginning. That everything shown there was fictitious. They should have added “simplistic” to the description of characters and incidents in that disclaimer.

Despite that, I think it would be a better watch than


3 thoughts on “Madras Cafe – Their Coffee was not Strong

  1. The Indian film makers can’t make a film pure from any angle… at one point they dilute the essence and compromise for various reasons… our spy thrillers look silly comic capers in front of Hollywood counterparts… The Hero – Love story of a Spy, Agent Vinod, Ek Tha Tiger and now Madras Cafe…

    1. Yeah. Read this one.

      Funny thing is that what the RAW had supposedly figured out in advance – especially the decoding of intercepts-had in reality happened after the assassination. But then it was fiction. The best RAW officer had to get something right in the entire movie 🙂

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