Thriller is a genre which director Nishikant Kamat mostly chooses to associate himself with. Even though he has never really stepped out of this genre, each of his films has dealt with a different subject. From slightly (as such films would be termed) commercial films like ‘Force’, ‘Lai Bhaari’ and ‘Drishyam’ to an offbeat fare like ‘Mumbai Meri Jaan’, the director has shown his versatility even while treading on a ground he is familiar with. Earlier this year, his action thriller ‘Rocky Handsome’ did not meet expectations and was a commercial failure. A few months after the stylised actioner, starring John Abraham, hit the theatres, Kamat is back with ‘Madaari’, a film which is reminiscent of the style of filmmaking he adapted to with films like ‘Dombivili Fast’ and ‘Mumbai Meri Jaan’.
Rohan (Vishesh Bansal), the son of Home Minister Prashant Goswami (Tushar Dalvi), studies in a boarding school and is surrounded by moderate security. One night, as he sneaks out of the hostel to grab some snack, he is kidnapped by a middle aged man (Irrfan). The minister seeks the help of police officer Nachiket Verma (Jimmy Sheirgill), who seems to have tremendous experience in handling cases like these. The kidnapper gets in touch with Goswami and Nachiket and asks them to find his son who had gone missing a while back. He assures them that he would release Rohan once he gets his son back.
The issue/s which the film deals with have already been addressed in films like ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘A Wednesday’ and ‘Ungli’, among others. One can cite examples of several other films in which one has seen a common man or a vigilante up against the system. Corruption in the system, the sufferings of a civilian and a climax where the protagonist succeeds in teaching the bad guys a lesson – you have seen these events unfolding in numerous films. While the predictable narrative which is full of clichés, entrammels the film from achieving the iconic status which films like ‘Rang De Basanti’ or ‘A Wednesday’ have achieved, it still makes for an engaging viewing experience.
Director Nishikant Kamat keeps the narrative fast paced and even as you know what is going to happen next, you feel the tension that the narrative intends to serve you with. The flashback portion, though half-baked shows the relationship shared by Nirmal (Irrfan) and his son very well. The biggest asset of the film, undoubtedly, is lead actor Irrfan’s gut wrenching performance. You empathize with him for all that he has gone through. The other actors, notably Jimmy Sheirgill, Prashant Dalvi and Vishesh Bansal (Rohan), do a great job as well.
With all the clichés and tried-and-tested tropes the film resorts to, ‘Madaari’ still comes across as a respectable film due to some fine direction and a brilliant central performance. The issue that the film deals with is old yet topical. One just wishes that the makers had opted for a fresher and a more innovative story to address it.