Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, JA Entertainment and Rising Sun Films’ Madras Cafe (UA) is the story of how and why an ex-prime minister of India was killed by Tamil militants. Although it is heavily inspired by the real-life assassination of erstwhile prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the names of the characters have been changed to make the story fictional.

The film begins with R & A W agent Vikram Singh (John Abraham) ruing the assassination of the former prime minister and confessing before a priest in the church that the prime minister could’ve been saved. He narrates the entire story of how militant Tamil leader Anna (Ajay Ratnam), revolting in Sri Lanka, had masterminded the assassination as he feared that the prime minister, if elected to power again, would thwart his attempts at creating tension in Sri Lanka.

Vikram Singh is sent by the government of India to help the Sri Lankan government fight Tamil militants who were destroying the peace in the country. Vikram is asked by Robin Dutt a.k.a. RD (Siddhartha Basu) to report to Bala (Prakash Belawadi) in Sri Lanka. Soon, Vikram realises that something is amiss and that highly confidential and secret information is being leaked by someone. Before he can act on pinning down the person/s responsible for the leakage, Vikram Singh is kidnapped. After being freed, he is packed off to India by Bala.

Who kidnapped Vikram Singh? Who is leaking information and to whom?

Anyway, once in India, RD, Vikram Singh and their team are still trying to help Sri Lanka restore peace while Bala is doing the same in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, intelligence officers intercept some telephonic conversations between Anna and others. The conversations are decoded and it emerges that there may be an assassination attempt on the ex-prime minister of India, who, incidentally, had resigned due to the Indian government’s failure to contain the tension in Sri Lanka.

RD, Vikram Singh and others are at their wits’ end, trying hard to prevent the assassination bid. Meanwhile, they learn about the person who used to leak the secret information.

Somnath Dey and Shubendu Bhattacharya’s story is a cinematic version of the assassination bid and ultimate murder of erstwhile prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The duo’s screenplay (with additional screenplay by Dusan Tolmac and script supervision by Ronnie Lahiri) tends to get long-winding and boring in the first half, partly because of the nature of the story and partly because there are a lot of characters played by new faces and it, therefore, becomes difficult for the audience to remember their names and faces. The drama picks up after interval as there is a lot happening in the second half and the pace is also faster. The post-interval portion also has some shocking twists and turns, adding to the drama.

However, the inherent weaknesses of the screenplay, from the commercial point of view rather than from the point of view of the film per se, are: firstly, by its very nature, the film appears like a docu-drama which would appeal to a thin section of the audience only; secondly, since the assassination happened ages ago, not too large an audience may like to re-live the episode of history which the film tries to re-create; thirdly, since the film begins with Vikram Singh saying that the ex-prime minister’s life could have been saved and then it goes into flashback, the audience knows right from the word ‘go’ what the film’s ending would be. Also, there is too much emphasis on the technical side of the assassination bid and that will not hold universal appeal.

Dialogues, penned by Juhi Chaturvedi (with additional dialogues by Tushar Jain), are very good and natural.

John Abraham does well but he could’ve used his body language to more advantage. Nargis Fakhri, as the war journalist based out of Britain, gets limited scope. Her dialogues in accented English will greatly restrict her appeal to a thin section of the audience in the big cities only. Siddhartha Basu acts ably as RD. Raashi Khanna is okay as Vikram Singh’s wife, Ruby. Prakash Belawadi shines in the role of Bala. Ajay Ratnam ought to have been far more effective as Anna. Kannan Arunachalam (as Shri), Arijit Dutta (as Mallaya), Sanjay Gurbaxani (as prime minister of India), Dinesh Nair (as Rajshekaran), Aayaam Mehta (as Vasu), Piyush Pandey (as cabinet secretary), Avijit Dutta (as Swaroop), Nissar Allana (as priest), Banvari Taneja (as Guruji), Dibang (as Raghu), Mark Engels (as Hastings), Stephen Fahl (as Reed), Tarun Bali (as Rishi), Gaurav U.K. Sharma (as Kamal Tegi), Alok Jain (as Ajit), Tushar Jain (as Ghosh), Udayabanu Maheshwaran (as Saba), Parmeshwar (as Narayanan), P.Y. Jose (as Kanda), Ajay Nataraj (as Kannan Kannan), Mahendran (as Selvam), Johnson Manjali (as Pandyan), Balachandran Puranattukara (as Subramanian), Jayaraj (as Capt. Murali), Gayathri Devarajan (as Bala’s wife), Hima Singh (as Kamal Tegi’s wife) and C. Suresh Kumar (as PA to prime minister) provide fair support. Rajeev K. Panday (as Susheel Pandey alias S.P.) and Krishna (as bomb maker Vijayan Joseph) lend formidable support. Others are also good.

Shoojit Sircar’s narrative style does justice to the script. But it must be added that although the director has succeeded in making a film with a lot of finesse, the fact remains that the narration will appeal to the high-gentry audience in the big cities mainly. Connoisseurs of good cinema will relish what they see on the screen but the large base of mass audience will not really approve of the drama. Shantanu Moitra’s background score (background score produced by George and Tanuj) is very effective. His music is class-appealing. Manohar Verma’s action is nice. Kamaljeet Negi’s camerawork is extraordinary. Sets (by Vinod Kumar) are realistic. Chandrashekhar Prajapati’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Madras Cafe is a class-appealing film which will do well in the high-end multiplexes of big cities mainly. Its performance in the single-screen cinemas and ordinary multiplexes, frequented by masses, will be below the mark. Given its cost, the film will see those associated with it in the red.


About komalreviews

Am a film trade analyst, hence my reviews are from the box-office point of view
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31 Responses to MADRAS CAFE review

  1. Smita Desai says:

    Nice report not anything fake becose its not a srk’ film am I right

  2. Ganesh Shaw says:

    M Cafe luv 2 see again,Pls tell SRK to make a sensible n decent movie next time.We don’t need CE kind of blockbuster trash movie.

    • Nuzhat says:

      did anyone ask you what kind of movie you need??? No, right?? If you dont like then dont watch. Simple thing! There are so many ppl who loved CE! and thats why its ATBB :)))

      • Gk shaw says:

        what a waste of education! Still paid media promoting CE, If anyone want to watch NOKIA mobile ad? Go for so called mass movie CE where u can see ad in big screen. Enjoy paid mobile ad. Thanks.
        Madras Cafe-
        Its much much better then backwass movie “Chennai Express”. madras cafe gets nature publicity across india. Moreover, this is best movie so far…good to watch if you like non romantic movie… Enjoy…!

    • yashahsvi says:


  3. javebutt says:

    Whether Madras Cafe is a sensible n decent movie or not, CE is a trash movie or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Shahrukh is a brilliant actor and John is a non-actor.

  4. javebutt says:

    One more thing, all the rave reviews Madras Cafe got from the critics will not save it from becoming a total washout. Just like all the negative reviews provide no harm to CE and couldn’t stop it to become an All Time Blockbuster.

    • Faraz khan says:

      It’s not the point that srk is a great actor & john is non actor.everybody knows srk is good compare to john. The point is which type of cinema we give to the whole country. CE… no way.

  5. Bikash Sharma says:

    Komal ganje…Y fake reviews?

  6. Bikash Sharma says:

    Who da hell R u komal? I saw ur acting in TMK…It was ridiculous…datz Y tmk didnt top the BO bcoz of u…

  7. Pingback: Madras Cafe Critics Reviews

  8. Mukesh says:

    John is a multi talented.

  9. Pingback: Box Office Update - Madras Cafe Opens well with Positive Critics Review | Box Office Diary

  10. Mohammad Farooq says:

    #MadrasCafe is a political thriller set in the midst of Srilankan Civil war and Rajiv Gandhi Assassination, with a documentary-like treatment in terms of storytelling, realistic depiction for an inglorious event in our political history is what Madras Café is all about. The first half appears to be a preparation for the second, and so appears a bit dragging even with a fast pace but once crossing that hurdle entertains you with its intensity. If not for the last hour, would have turned out into a boring war-account jounal of a soldier. I’m going with a 3/5 for a new kind of genre attempted by Shoojit for an espionage thriller, which could have been better.

  11. Indrajeet Jathar says:

    Simply…. Love the film

  12. Pingback: Madras Cafe Movie Reviews |

  13. Vishal says:

    Sir Yes I do agree with you , you people knows what actually public is like

    And my review I Just LOVED the movie 🙂 Too good for me totally new cast was excellent ,
    Director just one word EXCELLENT

    In Fact as you said only big cities will like it am from one of it HYD 🙂

  14. ryk says:

    Doesn’t the review loo a little old style? Around 2008s. I think that audiences in other parts of India, the so called smaller cities and towns have matured more than people think. I think that this movie will have an audience everywhere, with any body interested in history.

  15. Sourav Das says:

    Madras Cafe leads you towards the exit of the hall with a sad face and in a dolorous mood. Yes, Shoojit Sircar has directed in a way that makes you believe that our Ex-PM was assassinated meanwhile you were watching and not years back but neither John (R & A.W agent) nor you would be able to stop that and both left restless and then helpless.
    Kamaljeet Negi’s cinematography involves you too in the war scenario ; willingly or unwillingly you became a part of the ongoing civil war i.e the very plot; Indian intervention in the Sri Lanka’s civil war between the Sinhalese, the ethnic army and the LTF.

    Do your homework before stepping into 130 minutes of your job as a RAW Agent as gathering some knowledge on the facts is a must for watching this never before attempted approach in bollywood of portraying a real war story on reel.

    Shantanu Moitra’s music was befitting and at times also accelerates your heart’s beat rate.

    Though there are new faces but the complete team has done justice to the roles they were given.
    With all so positive about, one could ignore the FAQ about the HINGLISH conversation between our agent and the war correspondent(Nargis Fakhri).
    This is a no Hindi Masala Movie and is a must watch for everyone.
    I will let go Madras Cafe with no less than 41/2 on 5.

  16. Azam says:

    I feel this review can be made into a guide admin. Would be better if you can just cut short and be to the point in reviewing the movie. But as far details of the reviews are concerned its really great post

  17. DocSol says:

    how could you compare CE the most bokwash movie with MC

  18. Sudhir says:

    We all know that all the lead actors are doing the masala film no need to blame CE its got its reward. akshay made
    joker, ajay made himmatwala , Its a point that srk critics nd haters doing their shit all everywhere.
    Go to hell, we will have to only putforth opions abt madras cafe

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