Well, well. Time and again we've seen Hindi political films on India, Pakistan and Afghanistan mainly. It's a welcome change when the scene of action shifts to Sri Lanka. That day is not far when Nepal, Bhutan, Bangla Desh and Maldives too can find themselves on the silver screen. The credit for bringing Madras Cafe to the silver screen solely rests with John Abraham and he should receive a standing ovation for it. Political movies are not easy to make, more so releasing them in theatres. But John's statements like "Priyanka Gandhi is the sexiest woman in India (Jan 28 2009); I love PG to death (Feb 6 2009), PG is my idea of beauty (Sep 26 2011), PG worthy of sexy person award (Nov 29 2012), or most recently I hope PG is our next PM (Aug 17 2013)" certainly helped cross gandhi barriers, and make the film and even release the film in India except in Tamil Nadu, UK and Canada. Well, John should've courted the Tamils too to have a smooth overall release.
John has broken some records too in his political endeavour. He comes across as a fine actor, who was hiding behind the nonsensical masala films but had given enough glimpses of an actor in Water (2005) and New York (2009). He also came across as a bold producer, who refused to give in to political bullying in Tamil Nadu. I personally am against bullying of any kind. Cinema is a public domain of creativity and let the public decide where the movie stands instead of some "all-knowing" politico dictating the terms for it's non-release.
Major Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is a RAW agent, who is assigned to go to Jaffna to help bring political stability. He has a tough job apprehending Anna Bhaskaran (Ajay Ratnam), leader of a Tamil outfit LTF. In the course of his assignment, he meets Jaya Sahni (Nargis Fakhri) who is a British war correspondent. And slowly the plot unfolds. It is not only the war and political situation but there is a sinister plot of assassinating the former Prime Minister of India (Sanjay Gurbaxani). The plot has been hatched out sitting in a Madras Cafe. And before our RAW agent can safeguard him, fate intervenes. Unable to bear this failure, the agent hits the bottle. The movie unfolds in a flashback with the agent relating it all to a church pastor. Factual liberties have been taken but they certainly don't matter.
The actors chosen to play LTTE leader V Prabhakarn (Ajay Ratnam) and Rajiv Gandhi (Sanjay Gurbaxani) need special mention as they bear uncanny resemblance to the characters they play. Anita Pratap too would be left comparing her life with Nargis's portrayal. The cast has been aptly chosen and they infuse life in their roles. Yes, unnecessary political controversy created will certainly dent the box office collections but the question is hasn't this controversy deprived the viewers to watch a well-executed movie that brings alive a crucial part of India's political history and shows a snuffed out young political life? It is definitely not the movie's loss but of the viewers.
It goes without saying the movie will win many awards in the coming days. What is equally important is John has opened the door for other SAARC nations to relate their histories. He is a harbinger to change that brings in intelligent movies. Once in a while you watch such RAW and rustic movies that it is almost rare. After watching Madras Cafe, it is time to christen John as Madras Abraham. Hats off.