Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: I’m not impressed

Published: January 17, 2013

The film reminds me of Rakeysh Mehra’s Delhi 6 with a message that is tossed at the audience, I'm not impressed. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

Just when I was convinced that there is nothing that the supremely talented Vishal Bhardwaj can’t do well, he co-writes Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.


The film, a romantic comedy, has a trite plot with an equally trite leftist message jammed in where something fresher could have made MKBKM a much more enjoyable experience.

Matru (Imran Khan) is a law graduate from Delhi University who, like his father before him, works as an all-purpose servant for the wealthy Mandola family, Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) and the apple of his eye, his daughter Bijlee  Mandola (Anushka Sharma).

Although Matru is supposed to be Harry’s driver, he really is Harry’s Man Friday, and Kapur and Khan are fantastic as that pair. Matru is also in love with Bijlee but she is engaged to Baadal (Arya Babbar), son of the state’s chief minister Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi), who she met while studying at Oxford.


Harry loves his drink as much as his daughter and is said to have two different personalities when intoxicated and when not. When sober, and a heartless construction contractor, Harry intends to build a Special Economic Zone in place of wheat farms tended by residents of a village nearby who are led to resistance by a man who calls himself Mao (dear lord!) and communicates with the villagers only through letters written in red (dear, dear lord!).

When drunk, Harry transforms into an irreverent Sikh whose takyakalaam is a gaali that involves sisters. Not fully aware of it, he sides with the farmers, leading a movement against his own project while singing a song against capitalists at large. Matru, his faithful servant, is of course right next to him. The film is really all about which version of Harry Mandola overcomes the other and there are no points for guessing which side wins.

Kapur is an absolute delight as Harry Mandola – both of them. It is safe to say that he is the star of the show and, with some help from Babbar; he pretty much shoulders the entire responsibility of entertaining the audience.


Although they are very convincing in their respective roles, Khan is Khan and Sharma is Sharma from any other film. For me, that was disappointing to say the least because as an avid Vishal Bhardwaj fan, I had expected that he would have been able to help them bring out a hidden actor inside them.

Full points to Bhardwaj for maintaining his signature rustic style and for keeping the film crisp and short; a minute longer and it could have been a disaster like his last film Saat Khoon Maaf. The music, like the dialogue (both done by Bhardwaj), is fun and quirky and songs are very nicely picturised without wasting precious film time.


However, it would have been nice if he had not tried to force his wife Rekha Bhardwaj’s voice on Sharma. Also, why the African Zulu tribe was needed in the film is beyond me.


Verdict: The film reminds one of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6 with a message that is lost on the audience. Not impressed overall but Pankaj Kapur’s performance is not to be missed.

Read more by Zainab here or follow her on twitter @zainabimam 


Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nandita.

    Matru ki bijli ka mandola ? That’s the name of a movie ? hahaha. I can’t stop laughing. I am so out of touch with what’s happening in bollywood :( :( :(
    I can’t get over the name of the movie though. It’s soo wierd.Recommend

  • abbey

    This is the most stupid boring movie i have ever seen
    We all slept in the beginning of the movie Recommend

  • Zain

    The only thing to watch in this movie is “Pankaj Kapoor” and his “Paincho Paincho”… Maza aa gaya… It’s ok, we all do mistakes and nothing is permanent, so after many hits, there comes a time when there are flops. I am waiting for Race 2 and Krish…Recommend

  • Critical

    If you’re not impressed by this movie,you can show this expression :)

  • Satish, Chennai

    @ Author: Good review, but we need to keep in mind that this was a political satire relevant to issues being faced by the Indian Industry and farming community at this point in time. Admittedly not packaged in the best possible manner, still the creativity and courage to do a movie on a subject like this needs to be appreciated. Recommend

  • Enough

    The writer clearly has set her priorities straightRecommend

  • husnian

    well written….zainab which is your favourite movie so for??Recommend

  • Faisal

    Over-hyped movie Achchhaa huaa pit gayee!! Lol’sRecommend

  • http://Gilgit Jawad U Rahman

    While India is busy humiliating our actors, players, and artists by throwing them out of their country, our media and bloggers like this author are busy entertaining our confused nation with the Bollywood trash. If they can ban our players, artists, actors, and elderly in response to the LoC incidents, can we the Pakistanis (having lost 5 of our jawans in the last week to them) at least stop celebrating Bollywood birthdays, playing Bollywood movies in our cinemas, and the giving them airtime on our mainstream channels? At least do that until India stops killing our soldiers and stops humiliating our sportspersons and artists.Recommend

  • Somesh

    Mao (dear lord!) and communicates with the villagers only through letters written in red (dear, dear lord!).
    Sarcasm is not acceptable here Ms. Zainab simply because Maoist tendency in India is real. The script writer has only made a real attempt at bringing it to the notice of his audience albeit in a comic sense. You might not be able to appreciate this only we use the word ‘Jihadi’ in ‘Mao’s place and ‘America’ in the chief minister’s place or may be you are simply too naive to see the truth..Recommend

  • Somesh

    Also, why the African Zulu tribe was needed in the film is beyond me.
    This i agree with the author that it was complete stupidity….Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    “This is the most stupid boring movie i have ever seen
    We all slept in the beginning of the movie”
    How did you see the movie while you slept in the begining? Beats me. And then you pronunced it to be stupid! Are you not making a fool of yourself?Recommend

  • citizen

    will you movie reviewers ever get impressed ? i had a pretty good time watching it in cinema ! what else you were expecting ? it is an average indian movie . it was supposed to be like this !Recommend

  • kareena lamba

    I saw the movie at waves cinema, and it was not a very disappointing movie. The story line actually had a under stated message of capitalism in present scenario. I only saw the movie because of the Pankaj kapur and vishal bhardwaj style . i would give the movie 2 stars. Recommend

  • Dr. Dang

    If you slept in the beginning, how do u know its boring.Recommend

  • Nazia (@ZeeNazia)

    comeon that was a nice movie ! i like that and obviously not every movie can IMPRESS everyone.. so go watch your favourites !Recommend

  • Raj Abbas Khan

    I Enjoyed the movie once Jim Carrey dons that mask… Ssssmokin…Recommend