Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a wild, wacky, wicked political satire with the unmistakable Vishal Bhardwaj signature. A spirited comedy with its heart in the right place, it makes fun of what is happening in the name of skewed development in which farmers thirst for electricity for irrigation while huge malls some distance away glitter all day long.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is Bhardwaj’s most political film ever which tackles political corruption and capitalist greed in a small Haryana village fighting for its arable land from acquisition for a proposed SEZ. Bhardwaj packs in enough quirky energy to make it generally watchable. The film is a blend of the a street play with the structured elements of Greek theatre to tell the tale.
What hurts the movie most is the performances by its leads Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma, who are not comfortable with the Haryanvi accent. Pankaj Kapur, the pivot of the film, holds the film together like a strong glue and pushes his limits but this performance is not likely to be among his best. Shabana Azmi plays a part which does not offer her much to do.
Very few Bollywood filmmakers address issues of contemporary relevance as skillfully as Bhardwaj. He may have faltered a bit this time, but he is a lot better than most in the business.