Posted On Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 09:17:02 AM
MLA is the kind of film that you know, from the moment you lay your eyes on him in his first shot, that the leading man and producer are the same person. Since the implication of such a thing is no secret, the statement could serve as a one-line review. However, to keep you ent… er… informed, allow me to proceed.
This energy-sapping movie — that will have you wanting Mukesh Tiwari walk out the screen and shoot you instead of the hollow secondary characters his goons keep targeting — is nothing but a (very) poor man’s Prakash Jha knockoff.
You have idealistic and philanthropic rich businessmen who villagers root for. You have corrupt cops who rape, torture, and murder women at other people’s behest (okay, it’s just one cop.) You have cadre claques, you have corporate espionage, you have a foreigner girlfriend who goes to ‘do social work’ in a Mercedes and who I’m led to believe is the daughter of a priest (maybe I’m missing a layer here.)
And finally you have the MLA who in his very first scene replaces an old woman from her assembly seat with a younger model who with the most innocent twinkle in her eye offers her tan, man, dhan in his service.
In his second scene, the MLA gets the new recruit drunk at home (in full view of his wife) and proceeds to bed her. Later I find out all this was only character establishing because even though the recruit is ever-present from this point on, it is only as a background artist.
What a waste of celluloid. We don’t even get to see anything during ‘the scene’ save for Mukesh Tiwari’s moustache. Or was it… no, moustache.
But talking of extraneous scenes and dialogue, MLA seems longer than all of the nine films releasing this week (put together) because of the editor’s absolute refusal to cut anything out. You’ve the strangest dialogue (‘Hello’, ‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’, ‘Fine. And you?’, ‘I’m fine.’) that is perfectly acceptable in real life but totally out of place in a film. Every character exchanges pleasantries, takes long pauses before stating the obvious, and goes to the loo when nature calls. Okay, not the last one. Why?
MLA could’ve easily been a better film. It could’ve been better minus the two item songs, minus the other songs, minus the romantic track, minus half the characters, minus the tension-diffusing writing, minus the stale ideas of corruption in politics, minus the poor performances, minus the humbug hate and the charlatan charity. Yes. It could’ve been.