When India was shrouded with the fear of Corona and the Sushant Singh Rajput controversy was hitting the headlines, there was one film-maker & his team who diverted energies into creating a fabulous movie. With Ludo, Anurag Basu has yet again proved that he is a master story-teller who has upgraded himself to suit the needs of the current audiences.
The pre-promotion of the movie was pretty low key with the PR focussing on the real-life stories of the actors. Nothing much was told about the film. That Anurag does a cameo in the film was also hidden. This film is loaded with so many surprise packages.
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DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter LOVED Ludo and instead of doing a typical review, I have highlighted the different aspects of the film that will help you decide faster.
Here are 9 reasons why you must watch Ludo this Diwali.
Unique narrative style: Riding on the popularity of the Ludo game
Anurag has his ears close to the ground and since he is so rooted in reality, he knew that the most popular games during lockdown were Housie and Ludo. The online Ludo game saw families bonding for hours and passing time during the lockdown. To add to this, he realised that four complex stories couldn’t be delivered through a voice-over, so; he added two characters who play Ludo with each other while taking the audience through the film. It’s amazing how these characters neither catalyse the situation nor do they insert themselves in it. They are mere observers who seem to be on the clock for something.
Web-series style delivery to suit changing customer patterns
The lockdown created a shift in the viewing and content consumption patterns of the viewers. Audiences got used to non-linear style of story-telling, complex plots that were packed with realistic performances laced through a gripping narrative.
Anurag Basu took a cue from this and created a movie that has 4 stories, running in parallel to each other. He made the characters converge at various places but never allowed the stories to merge with each other. In this clever manner, he ensured that the audience always stays on their toes and waits for what happens next.
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Realistic & relatable Characters, each with an interesting twist
Full marks to Anurag Basu’s writing. He has worked on the establishment and evolution of each character in Ludo. Even the smallest characters are well-etched and make the film interesting. What I loved is that he has evenly fleshed out the prominent and the smaller characters of the film. Right from an insignificant character like a bully in the hospital to the husband of a cheating wife who demands money for his wife’s police statement, to a goon who is part of a five-member team – each character is unique and well-etched. That’s what makes the movies so realistic. The spotlight remains on the key characters but every other character adds to the beauty of the film.
Comic relief in the face of adverse situations
Every family in India is looking for a reason to smile in the wake of the Corona Pandemic. The acid test of a master story-teller is to deliver a message without sounding too preachy. It’s like walking on thin ice and Anurag has pulled this off with panache.
By making this film off-beat and inserting comic situations in the saddest moments leaves the audience with a powerful message. It tells us we need to smile, no matter what. It also tells us that the world is cruel, but one needs to make it better for oneself and the family.
E.g. Rajkummar Rao mimics Mithun’s dance moves while telling himself not to cry, a wheelchair bound Pankaj Tripathi & his girlfriend rejoice in the last scene, when the little girl asks Abhishek Bachchan for a place to hide because the police is looking for her. These and many more scenes add to the comic-tragic narrative.
Social commentary that runs through the sub-text of the film
Under the over-arching message that truth and falsity, good and bad are perceptions within a situation, Anurag Basu ensures that many social messages run parallel within each of the 4 plots in the film. The myriad definitions of love, friendship, heartbreak are told wonderfully. One needs to see the film to understand how he has treated delicate situations like busy parents, cheating husbands, lonely children and others.
Fewer dialogues, more focus on performances, music and situations
How many times have you seen a film and asked yourself, “Who even talks like this? Does this scene need so many dialogues?” Well, Anurag understood this and has kept the dialogues to the minimum. The performance of the character dominates the scene and takes the narrative ahead. It’s a great bet to play especially because he was dealing with a couple of newer actors. He gave each actor tremendous freedom and scope to deliver their performance in a way that does justice to their role.
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Ludo centres around the story and the characters, irrespective of the stars in the film
Now, this one is tough to pull especially when you have stalwarts like Pankaj Tripathi, Rajkummar Rao and Abhishek Bachchan in a film. It’s amazing how the direction and editing has been done – there is a beautiful balance maintained while telling 4 stories through 2 narrators. Each character has prominence as per the demand of the script and story. That makes it a fantastic experience for the audience. Shubham Gaur, Sanu Roy and Trishan have done an amazing job while casting the characters of this film. Anurag and his team spent time in taking care of the viewer’s needs, they won hearts through the final product.
Treatment of women
The realistic treatment of the women in Ludo is brilliant! Traditionally, films portray a woman as an ‘Abla Naari’ or a fiercely emancipated woman/bra burner or a total vamp. But in real life, people are not like this. Each human being is gray and rife with so many complexities. I loved the way he has ensured that he keeps the central idea of a character intact while giving it so many shades. Remember Shilpa Shetty in Life in A Metro? Well, Anurag has come a long way since. To carve so many realistic women characters through his pen is truly an amazing feat. Writing realistic characters has always been Anurag’s strong point and this time he has surpassed all his past work.
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Ludo has been co-produced, written, directed and shot by Anurag Basu. He has co-written the dialogues with Samrat Chakraborty. In normal course, wearing multiple hats is never advisable for a director, however, it seems like Anurag made the best of the solace one found during lockdown. The omnichannel treatment has worked like magic, because from the beginning to the end the vision of the creator is apparent.
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Plot of Anurag Basu’s Ludo Movie:
From a resurfaced sex tape to a rogue suitcase of money, four wildly different stories overlap at the whims of fate, chance and one eccentric criminal with elements of mythology representing the butterfly effect where events are tied with one another just like the roll of the dice in the game of ludo.
Abhishek Bachchan as Batukeshwar “Bittu” Tiwari
Aditya Roy Kapur as Akash Chauhan:
Rajkummar Rao as Alok Kumar “Aalu” Gupta
Pankaj Tripathi as Rahul Satyendra “Sattu” Tripathi
Fatima Sana Shaikh as Pinky Jain
Sanya Malhotra as Shruti Choksi
Rohit Suresh Saraf as Rahul Awasthi
Pearle Maaney as Sheeja Thomas
Inayat Verma as Mini
Paritosh Tripathi as Manohar Jain
Asha Negi as Asha
Bhanu Uday Pratap as Asha’s husband
Shalini Vatsa as Kutty
Saurabh Sharma as Bhinder
Geetanjali Mishra as Sambhavi
Ishtiyak Khan as Inspector Sukumar Sinha
Aman Bhagat as Shekhar
Amitabh Bachchan as his voice (Cameo)
Anurag Basu as Yamraj (Cameo)
Rahul Bagga as Devta (Cameo)
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Honest Review and Rating Ludo: 5/5
Truly, Anurag Basu’s Ludo is one of the best movies you will watch in the current times.
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