Monthly Archives: January 2013

Film Review: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

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Bodrul Chaudhury

January 18, 2013

Vishal Bhardwaj is one of a handful of directors whom today’s Bollywood actors and actresses are yearning to work with. Both Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma’s dreams came true when the eminent filmmaker approached them to play the leading roles in his newest project Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. This is Anushka’s next major role after having played the quirky but lovable Akira in the late Yash Chopra’s final directorial Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). Imran returns to the big screen almost a year after we saw him play the urban chocolate boy Rahul in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012). Vishal Bhardwaj is famous for making dark, bold and cutting-edge films like Omkara (2006) and Kaminey (2009). Yet after having seen Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, it is difficult to say that the entertainment quality of this particular film is on par with the former two.

Set in the village of Haryana, the film is about Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) who is a wealthy industrialist, but suffers from severe alcoholism. He has arranged for his daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) to marry Baadal (Aarya Babbar), who is idiotic and a tad child-minded. Baadal is the son of Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi), a politician who is ardent on seeing the two wed in order to ensure that her corrupt visions are fulfilled. She and Harry also share the same dream of industrializing the lands which belong to farmers who are in huge debt. However, Matru (Imran Khan), an unemployed graduate who is hired by Harry as his Man Friday, has a hidden identity which you will discover halfway through the film. This ultimately leads to twists, turns and dramas which involve and affect Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

The film has a number of intriguing scenes that have been well made and which you will surely find engaging. These include the scenes where Harry sees a pink buffalo anytime he is not intoxicated with alcohol. Yet the screenplay by Vishal and Abhishek Chaubey was a little odd and dreary in some places. This made it all the less pleasurable to watch. However, the cinematography by Kartik Vijay has been well executed and the rustic themed costumes by Payal Saluja are unique and far from the typical attire which we see being worn by Hindi film actors. In addition, given that fewer Bollywood films are being made in a rural setting, Vishal deserves some credit for making this a rural-themed film. The villages have now become a setting which is being less adopted by today’s filmmakers, who prefer the cities as their choice of location for Hindi films.

Vishal Bhardwaj managed to extract some very persuasive performances from Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapur, who manage to give life to their characters. Imran’s village accent is top-notch and it is this which adds to his character’s charisma. Who would have thought that Imran could successfully play the role of a village boy? This is especially since we have largely seen him play urban Indian characters with Western qualities. Pankaj Kapur was endearing to watch and the scenes in which his character is drunk are particularly entertaining. His performance is one of the highlights of the film and to some extent; he bears some of the weight of this film on his shoulders in order to uphold audience interest.

Anushka Sharma gives an average performance as Bijlee and this was one of the downsides to the film. This is not necessarily due to her acting abilities, but more that her character does not have the same spices which are contained in the other characters. However, she delivers a strong performance in the last half hour of the film, especially in the scene where Bijlee is drunk. This was hilarious to watch and Anushka does this with immense ease and skill. Shabana Azmi was brilliant in her role as the devious politician Chaudhari Devi. You can tell that she is a truly talented artiste who has brought years of her experiences in the industry into this film.

The music by Vishal Bhardwaj is average, but there are some catchy tunes which have been greatly composed, with well-written lyrics by the legendary Gulzar. These include, ‘Oye Boy Charlie,’ ‘Khamakha’ and the title song ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.’ Overall though, the soundtrack to this film is not very fruitful and will only satisfy a small amount of your listening needs.

Overall, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is adequate, but there are parts of the film which can restrict you from classifying it as outstanding. Moreover, it is really the characters that have filled this film with immense energy. Many will agree that Vishal Bhardwaj can do better and hopefully, his next film will enable the audiences to truly feel the spirit of the director. As for Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Vishal Bhardwaj has delivered a good effort, but it is certainly not his most memorable.

Our Rating: 3/5 Stars

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is now in cinemas nationwide.


Win tickets to see Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola


Win tickets for Twentieth Century Fox film Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola’ directed by acclaimed director Vishal Bharadwaj and starring Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma and Panjak Kapur. Film now in cinemas near you.


We are giving away 2 pairs of ticketsFor your chance to win, simply answer the following question and send your replies to, with your name and contact details.

2 lucky winners will be selected to win 2 tickets each!


Q.    Who plays the lead character ‘Matru’ in the film ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’?

The trailer can be viewed here. Get your entries in now for this exclusive chance to win FREE tickets!

Solidarity Gathering – The Call for Change


Date: Friday, January 18 2013

Time: 6:00pm

Venue: TBC, London

India mourns the passing away of its brave daughter on 29th December. We, in addition to many around the world, are deeply saddened by her untimely death and would like to offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Moreover, we utterly condemn the six rapists who are responsible for her death and for committing such callous and sickening crimes against her. We hope that they will receive the appropriate punishment from India’s judicial system so that the victim and her family get the justice which they rightfully deserve!

On Friday 18th January 2013, there will be a Solidarity Gathering where each of us will light a candle and pay homage to India’s brave daughter. Lighting of the candles is not only a way of showing respect to her and her family but also will signify the change we want to see in 2013! A light to bring a positive change to our society, legal system and education… NISU will be there. Will you?

India has been an independent nation for over 65 years. Yet it still has a long way to go before achieving a society that is wholly just and equal towards its people. India needs to transform into a country where women are honoured and treated with the utmost respect. Women should not be treated as objects or subjected to medieval stereotypes of how they must dress and look and be restricted in when they venture outside their houses.

The NISU would like to stress that this event is NOT A POLITICAL PROTEST in any way, shape or form. It is instead an opportunity for anyone who wants to pay their tributes and respects to the victim and to her family! Moreover, we hope it will send a silent message to India that we are keen to witness social changes where women are better protected so that such horrific incidents do not happen again. That together we stand, and for the successful future of a country we have to work together with each other to bring about a change in the mind-sets of the Indian society.

Mr Virenda Sharma, who is the MP for Ealing and Southall will be joining us as a guest and will also be lighting one of the candles.

We hope that you will solemnly join us!

Best Regards,
The National Indian Students Union UK

Meet Matru, Bijlee and Mandola!

As director Vishal Bhardwaj starts Bollywood’s 2013 with the “fantabulous” Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, we caught up with the starcast to discover what makes the film unique. The Media team at the National Indian Students Union UK caught up with Imran ‘Matru’ Khan and Anushkaa ‘Bijlee’ Sharma.

Imran Khan as ‘Matru’ and Anushkaa Sharma as ‘Bijlee’ in ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, a FOX STAR STUDIOS presentation, produced by Vishal Bharadwaj Films. Director – Vishal Bharadwaj. Director of Photography – Kartik Vijay Thyagarajan.

Imran Khan as ‘Matru’ and Anushkaa Sharma as ‘Bijlee’ in ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, a FOX STAR STUDIOS presentation, produced by Vishal Bharadwaj Films. Director – Vishal Bharadwaj. Director of Photography – Kartik Vijay Thyagarajan.

NISU Media Team: How did you land up with the role of Matru?

Imran: Vishal actually called me after Delhi Belly and said that he loved the film and my performance in it. He expressed an interest in meeting me.

I thought it must be one of those courtesy calls and moved on with my life. Why would Vishal Bhardwaj want to work with me, I thought.

I was later stunned that Vishal actually wanted to work with me. I heard the script, I cried, I laughed, I did everything. I was like, it’s awesome. But I was not sure if I would be able to do that role. I questioned him if he was sure about it.

NISU MT:  Why were you unsure about if you would be able to do the role?

Imran: During the first script reading of the film, I was unable to say the Haryanvi dialogues. It was not easy, I felt I made a big mistake and I should back out.

When I told him [Vishal Bhardwaj] I won’t be able to do it, he said he was sure I could. He had faith in me, even when I didn’t.

NISU MT: So how different is the role from your previous films?

Imran: The role is different in terms of it required a lot of preparation for almost two and a half months. I have always felt that the more we rehearse, the better we perform.
[Bhardwaj] was very calm on the set and guided all the performers. Even if something was not working out, he would find a way to make it work. He knows the right way to do things.

Anushka: I play a strong headed, outspoken girl in the film. My character Bijlee is a rich, spoilt brat and is allowed to run wild in her village, which is practically owned by her millionaire father – Harry Mandola played by Pankaj Kapur. She is educated in the world’s best college and has traveled the world.”

NISU MT: How did you prepare for the role?

Imran: The film is set in Haryana. So I had to learn the Haryanvi dialect, the accent, everything. I didn’t want to sit in Mumbai and learn the dialect because it doesn’t happen organically. So I went to Delhi and hung out with some boys who are from Rohtak in North India. So when you’re hanging out with guys like that and rehearsing your scene, you naturally pick up the way they speak. You know, they have a sing-song way of talking, it’s very musical. So that’s the major prep I did for my role.

Anushka: We used to conduct readings with Sir’s (Vishal Bharadwaj) assistance. He has a way of getting the actors under the skin of their character so the scenes turn out convincing.

NISU MT: Tell us about your experience working with Vishal Bhardwaj?


Anushka: Vishal brings out the best in his actors. I really enjoyed working with him (Vishal). He is known for giving his heroines fully rounded characters with enough grey shades to make them real and interesting. But I can easily say the character of Bijlee is easily amongst his most complex heroines.

Imran: I was very surprised by his style of directing. He gives a lot more freedom to the actors than I expected. If during the take, you decide to do something different, he will let you do that. He liberates the actor and puts a lot of power in the actor’s hands.

NISU MT: Vishal Bhardwaj is known for casting unusual pairings, how was it working with each other for the first time?


Imran: We have done a photo shoot together. I watched her films and I felt she is a very good actress. But until you work with a person, you don’t really get to appreciate that person. When I actually started working with her, I got to know more about her talent. She has done very good work in this film.

Anushka: This is the first time that Imran and I are working together in a film. This is a fresh pairing. I never thought we would have such a different look in the film. I think Imran looks hot in this film!

NISU MT: You guys have a lip lock in this film. Tell us more about it.

Imran: It’s awkward when you are kissing someone who you are not romantically involved with because it is a very intimate act. Normally you do it with somebody who you are very close to, but here you are kissing someone who you don’t know that well.

NISU MT: Pankaj Kapoor also has a very unusual role, how was it working with him?

Imran: Pankaj Kapoor as an actor is a very challenging co-star to act opposite, because he improvises a lot and he pulls out new things as they happen. You have to be in the moment with him, you have to be ready with whatever he will do, and you have to be ready to pick that up and take it forward.

NISU MT: We hear that the film has a taboo subject, what is you take on this?

Imran: It’s a very taboo subject. Not controversial but people can find a way to make it controversial. I’ll tell you what will happen, one week before the release someone will find a way to make it controversial, someone or the other will get offended, just see.

NISU MT: How do you think the film has turned out?

Anushka: I think our film is very entertaining as it is like a dark comedy. I think it is Vishal sir’s most commercial project if I can say so. And also, the movie’s cast is exciting – there is Imran Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi. He is one director who is known to bring out the best from actors.

Welcome 2013, but Remember 2012 – The Call for Change.

Sanam Arora,

President, National Indian Students Union UK

India mourns the passing away of its brave daughter on 29th December 2013. Subjected to the most brutal of attacks, this unfortunate girl finally succumbed to her severe injuries at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. We are all deeply saddened by her untimely death and offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

But as the nation mourns her death, let us be reminded of how she died. She died protecting her dignity and her being. She died wanting to see her perpetrators punished. Let us ensure she hasn’t died in vain. The Indian masses have taken to the streets in protest. More responsive government action is demanded, and rightly so. As the nation is united in anger and grief, we want to set aside a moment to reflect. Many blames are being laid. Not enough police was out there. The Indian rape laws are weak. There isn’t enough security for women. The list goes on. But let us take a moment to remember our roles in society. We are the Government. We are the Police. We are the Victim and it is also US who are the criminals. While superficially we can have stricter laws, it is imperative we bring about a change in our attitudes. The Indian Society needs to change. The call for change has never before shone as brightly as it does today. We need to bring about a change in our mind-set that is heavily inured to patriarchy. Sixty five years our country has been independent, yet, are we ‘free’? Free of ourselves? The sad answer to that question is in the negative. This is a question the very existence of which is a reminder of the failure of Indian society.

Delhi is widely known as the ‘rape capital’ of India, a sickening achievement for the capital of the country to have attained. While on the one hand, India is ‘shining’, on the other hand, more women are raped in its capital than anywhere else in the country. This distressing incident reminds us yet again of the fact that only a minority of the crimes against women including rape and domestic violence get reported. What of the majority that don’t even make it to the files? The appalling reason why most sexual crimes in India are not reported is due to fear of social ridicule. The greatest need of our times is to bring about a change in our mind-sets.

We can only repent in one way – by ensuring no other woman in India has to go through such horror. This will only happen through sustained efforts on our part – mine, yours, and every Indian’s. We must work towards a society that is just and equal. Where women aren’t subject to medieval stereotypes of how they must dress and look and be restricted in when they venture outside their houses. Let her death not go in vain. Let us unite and bring about a turning point in Indian Society.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read this message. We hope you will join us in offering all our support and condolences to the victim’s family and friends. May her soul rest in peace.

Yours Sincerely,

Sanam Arora,