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Madras Cafe – movie review

Intercept The Truth


Madras Cafe is a political espionage thriller set in the late eighties and then in early nineties of the last century. During this time the Indian Government had send armed forces during the Sri Lankan civil war.

Robin Dutt – RD (Siddharth Basu) is the head of the most important wing of India’s Intelligence Services is a job that requires him to be on his toes every second.

In a time when there’s a civil war in neighboring frontiers and our nation is under threat, Robin places his faith in Agent Vikram. He is Vikram’s mentor and appoints him to take sole responsibility of executing the covert operations in Sri Lanka; only to find out that he is not the only one privy to Vikram’s plan of action.

An Indian Intelligence officer – Major Vikram (John Abraham) journeys into a war torn coastal island, to break a resolute rebel group. He deftly maneuvers his resources to make significant breakthroughs, amidst a scenario where the enemy has no face and the only counsel is ‘don’t get caught’.

At various junctions he meets a charismatic and passionate journalist Jaya (Nargis Fakhri) who is following her will to reflect the truth behind the civil war. The story unfolds as their quest for the truth reveals a deeper conspiracy, by a faceless enemy, united to seize a common nemesis – India.

Jaya is a charismatic, passionate, strong willed journalist who has come down to the coastal island in her pursuit to reflect the truth behind the civil war.

She is one of the few journalists who enjoys direct access to the leader of the most influential rebel group – she presents to the world – a view that is possibly a contrary perspective to the ‘official stand’. Jaya, though forthright in her views, is passionately patriotic, reflected well in her words ‘criticising national policies doesn’t make me anti-national’…

From duty bound to a cynic and from determination to disillusion, Vikram traverses on a life altering path, when he accepts the responsibility to execute certain covert operations on an island nation, undercover for his country’s security agency.

Vikram well aware, that this war would be like no other, and that death is a constant companion…yet dutifully he carries on, successfully executing his covert goals…what he is not aware though is where the real enemy lies.

Leader of the rebel group LTF is Anna Bhaskaran . He formed his party when people from his community faced discrimination at the hands of the locals in Jaffna. After multiple cries for help and failed peaceful protests, Anna Bhaskaran organized his own local army as he thinks war and weapons are the only way to save the lives of his people.

Bala (Prakash Belawadi) heads the intelligence desk in Sri Lanka. Due to his long stint in the island nation, Bala is the only one who has first-hand information on the reality of the situation. As Agent Vikram arrives to execute his covert operation, Bala and his team helps him to get access to locations and people who are crucial to make the operation successful.

This film Madras Cafe has no songs or any item numbers and its story telling is simple and bare. Filming of the loss of human lives and the destruction in the beautiful island country of Sri Lanka. Matter

The workings and decision makings in the ministry is deftly portrayed. There is no frill or gloss – but straight forward story telling which gains grip in the second half.

The story writer and the director of Madras Cafe have precisely presented the process how the Home Ministry works during troubled times and especially after encoding the intercepted messages from our Intelligence Department.

For those masses who enjoy gloss, melodrama and the Bollywood style glitzy spy films, this one may not interest you. It has quite a few raw and horrific scenes depicting the devastation of the ethnic violence in the island city.

Madras Cafe is definitely a watch for the intellectual class of audience. It is heartening to watch this film match the international standards of espionage, war based films.

Cast of Madras Cafe:
John Abraham as Major Vikram Singh – RAW
Jaya the journalist – Nargis Fakhri
Rashi Khanna as Ruby Singh (Vikram Singh Wife)

Siddharth Basu as Robin Dutt (RD), Top official in Research and Analysis Wing RAW
Ajay Rathnam as Anna Bhaskaran – LTF rebel leader
Prakash Belawadi as Bala – Vikram Singh’s superior in Jaffna
Tinu Menachery as Tamil rebel
Agnello Dias as Sri Lankan minister
Ad Guru Piyush Pandey as Cabinet Secretary of India
Dibang as former intelligence officer



Credits of Madras Cafe:
Studio – JA Entertainment, Rising Sun Films
Produced by John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Ronnie Lahiri
Directed by Shoojit Sircar
Written by Somnath Dey, Shubendu Bhattacharya
Dialogue Writer – Juhi Chaturvedi
Music by Shantanu Moitra
Cinematography – Kamaljeet Negi
Editing by Chandrashekhar Prajapati