Madholal Keep Walking - movie review

Published: Aug 28, 2010, 06:28 IST | Tushar Joshi |

Madholal (Subrat Dutta) could be the right choice for R K Laxman's common man

Madholal Keep Walking 
A; Drama
Dir: Jai Tank
Cast: Subrat Dutta, Neela Gokhale, Pranay Narayan, Swara Bhaskar, Varnita Aglawe
Rating: *1/2

What's it about: Madholal (Subrat Dutta) could be the right choice for R K Laxman's common man. He lives in a chawl, uses a common toilet, has a family to run, travels in the local train, worries about his daughter Sudha's wedding and works in a 9 to 5 job. Just when things are getting better for Madho, he loses his limb in a bomb blast that results in a sectarian divide. His daughter Sudha falls in love with their Muslim neighbour Anwar. Disturbed and unable to move on in life, Madho starts questioning his existence only to be lectured by imaginary friends who give him a reality check. 
What's hot: There is a feeble attempt to create an aesthetic setting of a person living in a chawl. Madholal's body language and mannerisms seem right, even though their pretext is deeply flawed. Pranay Narayan stands out among the cardboard caricatures as the only real character who has a story to tell. He plays Anwar with sincerity, making him one among us. 
What's not: At no point in the film do you feel any sort of connect to Madholal. Despite the inspirational title, the protagonist only sleepwalks through out the film. He starts off on the right note, but the film goes downhill when we are introduced to his friends on the local train -- utter hamming champions (one using a plastic bag as a spittoon!). Lewd jokes, double entendr �s (kitne baje utha? tere daddy ne uthaya?) and vulgar dialogues only make matters worse. Anwar is completely sidetracked after his introduction. Even after the terrorist blast we aren't told what happened to the Anwar-Sudha love story. The second half has annoying monologues and unending songs (Altaf Raja's comeback!) that exhaust your patience before you gobble down that popcorn. None of the supporting actors manage to make a mark. In its final frames, Madholal Walking leaves you with an utter void of disbelief as it fails on every front - it neither has an engaging story nor empathetic characters.  
What to do: "Only when we stop being afraid, do we start living," says the final quote in the film. Perhaps the writer should have stopped hunting for quotes and started thinking of a story to tell.

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