12th November 2020

Ludo(Netflix)

Starring  Abhishek Bachchan .Aditya Roy Kapur .Rajkummar Rao ,Fatima Sana Shaikh ,SanyaMalhotra ,Pankaj Tripathi ,Rohit Suresh Saraf,Pearle Maaney,Inayat Verma,ParitoshTripathi,Asha Negi,Shalini Vatsa

Cinematography and Directed by Anurag Basu

Rating: ****

“When luck suck, everyone  f…k, ” drawls Pankaj Tripathy,delightfully droll and wickedly wise as a chawl-level ganglord. The  grammatical gaffe notwithstanding,  every character in the  film would have to agree with  Pankaj Bhaiyya. Who would dare not to?!

Look at what life rolls  out for  Akash Chauhan. He  had  just about  put to rest his feelings for the brazenly materialistic Ahana(Sanya Malhotra) when a  video clip of their nocturnal activities  crops  up on everyone’s phone. If you consider  the fact that  Akash has  a talent for  ventriloquismyou  would know what the couple is in for with the  voyeuristic video .

Aditya  Roy Kapoor is  just splendid as Akash.What a  fine actor  he has shaped  up into—physically and emotionally. Unfortunately for him he is  outstaged by  his  colleagues RajkummarRao, Abhishek Bachchan and the  ubiquitous scenestealer  Pankaj Tripathy. These actors  have  never been better as  they sink their  hungry teeth  into a plot that is  genuinely funny and incisive  , filled with warmth and  sunshine, and replete with some of the wackiest coincidences you will see on screen on this side of Woody Allen’s cinema.

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 The languorous humour and  the self-deprecatory laughs go a  way into making Ludo the  most engaging  film  of  the year. A pity we have to watch it at home. Ludo belongs to the  big screen. It is big in plot, emotions, performances and  production value.This time  Anurag Basu has done the  cinematography  himself. He  knows exactly which tonal complexion to  adopt for  every  character. They resiliently come  out as  definitive decisive  individuals with  massive quirks and eclectic eccentricities.

Rajkummar Rao  is  delightful as  the  lovelorn multi-talented Aloo who  allows  himself to be happily exploited by his  former girlfriend   Pinky(Fatima Sana Sheikh, who wears too  much lipstick  even in the most trying times). Pinky  uses  Rao’s Aloo  the way potatoes are  used in  vegetables. This is  unrequited love  at its absurdest.Every time Rao weeps in  a lovers’ grief  we  try not to  laugh.

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Rohit Suresh  Sharaf and  Pearl Maaney as two abused working-class  drifters who come  together  in the shared bond of mutual greed don’t fall short in  trying to get our attention.Every character is memorable in his or  her highly forgettable  place in society. Every one  pines for some love and attention,  be it the  little neglected girl Mini who forms the kind of  emotional  tie with the  goon Munna that Balraj Sahni had formed with his little Mini in Kabuliwalla

Abhishek Bachchan’s  grief –stricken  anti-social’s part was  the  part that left me the most  moved.Everyone is  on the move constantly in this fast-paced emotional rollercoaster ride about people who have seen better days. Frayed at the edges, tired and  dejected  the characters  of Ludoare waiting for redemption,  none  more so  than  the ganglord  Sattu Bhaiyya(Pankaj Tripathywho makes  every ganglord seem so  different) who lands  in the hospital with a thud and promptly  falls for  a Malayali  nurse(Shalini Vats, excellent). Together they take off  on a Boney & Clyde joyride which would drive  even the original pair into despair.

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 Crazily  out of of control, these characters are driven deftly into a melee of madnesss and steered expertly  out  of  the  mess  by a director who has never been in a better place.Welcome  back, Mr Basu. Jagga Jasoos is forgiven.

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