Madaari hit the theaters on the 22nd of July, and while the critics mostly praised it, especially for Irrfan Khan’s expected noteworthy performance, the film has struggled at the box-office.
The film tells the story of a common man who worked as an internet repair man, played by Irrfan, whose life changes in a few minutes when his only son is crushed to death due to a flyover collapse.
When his efforts to bring the people whose negligence led to the death of many innocent civilians come to nothing, he kidnaps the son of the Home Minister.
Jimmy Shergill leads the investigation to find out the man behind the crime, and after a few months of silence Irrfan emerges, threatening to kill Rohan unless the minister and all his cronies accept his condition to apologize publicly for what had happened.
It is a tale which has inspired as well as disappointed many. It takes inspiration from some real-life, high-profile incidents, especially the Kolkata flyover collapse in March, and the kidnapping of the daughter of the then-Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 1989.
For the uninitiated, a flyover had collapsed in the city of Kolkata, the capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, in March 2016. It killed many people and injured many as well, and was due to what had been understood as an unholy nexus between constructors and politicians during the time of construction of the bridge.
While the leading members of the construction company had been arrested after the incident which threatened to topple the party forming the state government, not much had been done against the politicians involved.
The kidnapping of the daughter of the Home Minister, way back in 1989, on the other hand, was the work of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, and the government was faced with the tough choice of choosing between duty and family.
It went ahead with the latter when it agreed to exchange five imprisoned terrorists associated with the group in return for the grown-up daughter of the minister. While letting the daughter go might have been inhuman, it raised questions about whether the matter could have been dealt with in a better way.
While Bollywood has previously described the struggles of the common man against a political system that is more often than not corrupt, nonchalant, and inhuman at the worst, it has not often been that contemporary issues had been dealt with so professionally by so capable an actor.
For at present, there can be no other leading man in Bollywood who can carry the weight of a bereaved, somewhat deranged father of a deceased boy as ably as Irrfan has done in this film. In saying that, there are way too many plot holes in this film which tries to deal with way too many issues at once.
But the only thing saving the ship from sinking is this man who has proved his mettle as an actor time and again.
The role of a savior, both for the audience and for the film, is not new to Khan. The actor who was the saving grace for an otherwise average film like A Mighty Heart which had Hollywood A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Michael Winterbottom associated with it had no looking back since Pan Singh Tomar.
This film too was about the angst of a common man who had come from a traditionally backward region of India and went on to become an international award winning steeplechase runner, only to be humiliated by the government, thus forcing him to take up arms and become one of the biggest names to be reckoned with in the badlands of the Chambal.
And he has been so brilliant in his role here that he has even acted as an inspiration for Dadarao Bhillore, who lost his 16-year-old son Prakash to an accident involving the infamous potholes on the roads.