Madari is not a great film even if you watch it independently, without any biases. There are too many plot holes, for a story based on realism and which requires the viewer to empathize with the protagonist it requires a fair suspension of belief and the payoff at the end is a bit of a meh. It’s not an awful movie, but it’s not a great one either.
But movies don’t exist in a vacuum by themselves – and Nishikant Kamat, a national award winning director with a pretty long filmography should be aware of that. The biggest problem I had with Madari was that I found it all – been there, seen that. And I’m not the biggest watcher of movies – Indian or anyways. Dombivali Fast in 2005 was about a man rallying against the system. A Wednesday (and even Mumbai Meri Jaan which released around the same time 2008-09ish had similar elements) kinda took the concept forward, only adapting it to the era – adding mobile phones, cellular tracking and a lot of gizmos. Madari now adapts that to 2016. So there’s a bit of social media, children brought up in new-age urban India and the people taking power into their own hands (a la the Nirbhaya incident of 2012). I actually thought A Wednesday was also by Nishikant Kamat because they’re so much alike.
Even Jimmy Shergill seems to be playing the same character he was in that movie – only half a decade older. He seems to be relishing playing these foxy cop roles (and thankfully he doesn’t have a love interest), Irfan Khan does his shtick (which is good, but again he could probably sleepwalk through it now) and there’s a precocious young boy who’s kidnapped who sort of grows on you as the movie progresses. The supporting cast is a mess though – I could recognize lots of Marathi TV or theater stars who seem to have been roped in by the director, and who also seem to have woefully misunderstood the medium. Note the Home Minister and the other minister who overact like their lives depend on it.
This is old wine in a new bottle, the wine has gone stale (if that can happen, it’s a metaphor) and the bottle by itself isn’t that pretty either. And the wine makes you smug and feel you’ve done something as well, when you’ve just heard a relative narrating an old story you’ve already heard again.