LUDO: An Engaging Game & A Typical Anurag Basu Film

Ludo directed by Anurag Basu is a good comeback by the director after a slightly underwhelming Jagga Jasoos. The director returns to his familiar terrain of multi narrative earlier seen in Life In A Metro and delivers a film which entertains you along with exploring the different facets of society. The film has also got a philosophical touch as it deals with the perception of Karma and Dharma. 

The film begins off with two characters contemplating the purposefulness of life and death while playing a game of Ludo. One of them is played by Anurag Basu himself. They are not just narrators but they are also gods of destiny in writing the fate of the principal characters. The dice which unites the individual stories is Sattu Bhaiya played by Pankaj Tripati. Sattu wants to settle scores with his once right hand man Bittu played by Abhishek Bachchan. Bittu just comes out of jail and is dealing with scars of his past. He gets a redemptive arc when he finds a young girl Minni who is of his daughter’s age played by the charming Inyat Varma. She restores the moral balance in his life. 

Another part of the story involves Akash and his once girlfriend Shruti. These characters are played by Aditya Roy Kapoor and  Sanya Malhotra respectively. They are dealing with a problematic situation of their sex video coming out on a adult website prior to her marriage with someone else. Rajkumar Rao and Fatima Sana Sheikh form another important part of this game. Rajkumar Rao plays a quintessential hero who is in love with his childhood sweetheart Pinky but now Pinky is a wife and mother to someone else. The portion involving these two is both bizzare and entertaining. Rounding off the cast there are also Rohit Saraf, actor in Dear Zindagi and Sky is Pink  and for once  he is not playing a brother here, and Pearle Maaney. They are trying to run away with the unexpected money they got hold of.  

The most important thing for any multi starrer movie is the intersection of the subplots. This is not easy to do but Anurag Basu does a very good job in establishing a coherent narrative. You get the connections quite easily without having to scratch your brains. The film has a smooth flow and the character links have been well established. 

The best thing about the film is the circumstances in which all these characters find themselves in and the humor that Basu evokes from their helplessness. It often seesaws between a black comedy and a musical drama. 

The best example of this are the scenes involving a very animated Rajkumar Rao. We see him venting out his frustration in such a way that we can’t help but chuckle while at the same time feeling for him. The entire track of Rajkumar Rao is quite filmy and it is very clear that he had a blast playing this one. 

Just like Life in A Metro Anurag Basu explores many facets of society through different characters. The most significant one being faithlessness and empty values in both marriage and love. There is also the crime angle which is explored through Pankaj Tripati and Abhishesk’s characters. 

Out of all the tracks two tracks work better. The first one is Abhishek Bachchan and the little girl Inyat Varma’s heartwarming scenes. Their story is the soul of the film. Basu does a very good job in establishing their bond. Another track was the one between Aditya Roy Kapoor and Sanya. It is good to see Aditya in a very relaxed avatar. He is particularly good in his voice artist avatar. Here we get some sharp political comments on BJP and Republic TV. Both of them share a good chemistry and Sanya as a woman who is desperate to marry a rich man embodies the current aspirations of youth in general. 

Pritam’s music isn’t of the chartbuster type but it still works. The main songs have been used well and the climax song where we see a full blown action sequence is a fitting finale for this tragi- comedy. 

The one issue that I had with the film is the character of Pankaj Tripati. Although the actor is very good as usual his character arc could have been better, as promised in the beginning.  

In this crowded film the actors who stand out are Rajkumar Rao, Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Fatima Sana Sheikh.  In totality, Ludo keeps you thoroughly engaged and gives you the satisfaction of understanding our current value system a little more.

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