Musings on Madras Café

Musings on Madras Café


This is a story that had to be told. It is Bollywood that has told us the story.

I went to watch Madras Café last night and I m still reminiscing about the film.

Solidly directed, the film has become dear to me because it very gently and subtly tells the world about the Srilanka conflict and why our beloved Prime Minister Rajiv ji got embroiled. I really wish the film is released internationally with sub titles besides sub titles in regional languages.

Though many people mistakenly think that it was a folly by Rajiv ji to send Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Srilanka, the film very beautifully and movingly describes why Rajiv ji intervened in the Srilanka issue. If Rajiv ji would not have intervened,  the West ( Western countries, rather one specific country) was very keen to get involved.

It would have been a disaster if the West would have involved in Srilanka. Just like Pakistan, a small country made powerful by the West (we cannot deny the fact that Pakistan cannot be so armed and terror trained without solid help from the West), Srilanka also would have followed suit.

Consequences of a Western Power dominating Srilanka would have been fatal for India and its security. Hence, it was a strategic decision by Rajiv Ji to send IPKF. It was his vision and his love for India that he took the decision without considering vote bank politics which was ultimately to take his life.

Unlike some modern leaders who talk of public connect but are scared to move out without their hundred plus security, Rajiv Ji was truly a people’s leader. There were no barricades that separated him from visitors at his public meeting where he is assassinated by a suicide bomber.

Rajiv Ji’s assassination was a well planned moved. The killers knew that nothing was going to stop Rajiv Ji from becoming the Prime Minister again. They also knew that at that point of time he just had basic security. Being a people’s leader, Rajiv Ji was very clear that he would meet and interact with all. This was what his assassins took advantage of and struck at Sriperumbudur in Tamilnadu at around 1.20 pm on May 21, 1991. The country lost Rajiv Ji in the attack.

Madras Café’s ex prime minister also has a striking resemblance to Shri Rajiv Ji. The movie is a serious film that rightly portrays Shri Rajiv Ji and the tactical and strategic importance of his decision.

Madras Café is a depiction of India’s role in the civil war in Srilanka and the repercussions of that war on India’s politics and history besides a sleek peak into how our top security agency works.

I would strong recommend the film for all Indians, especially my young Congress colleagues to know and understand the real history of India’s decision to go to Srilanka via the IPKF.

The film is a honest effort to establish that India had broader strategic objectives with Cold War connotations to curtail American influence in South Asia. India also thought it in its national interest to help people asserting their rights – in East Pakistan, the Bengalis, and in Sri Lanka, the Tamil minority. Both interventions were preceded by the affected communities rising up to fight their state forces.

This  is not a typical Bollywood masala film. The story line is very strong and there seems to be a very thin line between fact and fiction. And this is what I liked the best.

Yes and what did I not like? Well, it was amusing to see the head of the Indian intelligence getting to know the latest news from TV channels, not from his own department! I don’t know whether this is a comment on the electrifying speed that our electronic media works or the speed of our Intelligence and other agencies!

I strongly recommend that you go and watch Madras Café. I will be glad to hear your reviews/comments.





  • 1 Comment

    • vipul mehta
      vipul mehta on 18 September, 2013

      Dear shaktisinhji
      Actually what i feel i got your words it is nice writing
      thank you

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