Ludo is a dark comedy, released on Netflix. It is directed by Anurag Basu and has an unusual overlapping of four different stories. This is known as hyperlink cinema, which has gained prominence in the last two decades. Some analysts say that celebrated Mexican movie-maker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu pioneered this cinematic concept where different stories have a link with each other.
Ludo is a popular board game, played by two or four players who move their tokens across the board by rolling a single dice, and accordingly, their fate is decided. Here too, there are four different stories with different characters who are brought together by fate, draw away, and come together again. Just like in the game, a player or two can gain an advantage, only to see it go away, here too, in the journey of life, this happens as well. Sometimes they speed away, and sometimes they are held back. Often they are in the same spot, just like in the game of Ludo. It is luck and throw of the dice which will play an important role.
Anurag Basu has explored several genres such as murder, mystery, adultery, comedy, and more in his various movies so far such as Murder, Gangster, Kites, Life in a metro, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, and Barfi. His last movie was Jagga Jasoos, which was a musical comedy thriller. Life in a metro was hyperlink cinema as well, and Anurag repeats the same in Ludo, where he ventures into the dark comedy genre.
The narrators; Anurag Basu himself and Rahul Bagga have a discussion amongst themselves and take us through the movie. Watch till the end to know who they are.
The male actors are Pankaj Tripathy, Abhishek Bachchan, Rajkumar Rao, Aditya Roy Kapur, and Rohit Suresh Saraf. The lady actors are Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Pearl Maaney, and Shalini Vatsa. As one can see, most are seasoned and accomplished actors.
The Plot(s) and the overlapping-
As I mentioned earlier, there are four stories. Pankaj Tripathi plays Rahul Tripathi or Sattu Bhaiya, an eccentric mafia leader who is the common overlapping link between the four stories.
Abhishek is a convict named Bittu who was Sattu Bhaiya’s number one lieutenant. He comes out of jail to a world that has become vastly different. He becomes friends with another tiny girl, who to get the love and attention of her parents, wants him to fake her kidnapping. Rohit Suresh Saraf and Pearley Maaney play
Rahul Awasthi and Sheeja Thomas, a sales boy and a nurse who are harassed and dominated by their colleagues. Circumstances bring them together, in possession of two suitcases, full of cash and valuables. Who do they belong to? Yes, you guessed it right. The cash is of Sattu Bhaiya. He will not hesitate to kill to get it back. Sheeja’s senior is Nurse Lata Kutty (Shalini Vatsa). She is assigned to take care of Sattu Bhaiya when he is injured.
Aditya Roy Kapur plays Akash Chouhan, a ventriloquist, who earlier had an affair with Sanya Malhotra who plays Shruti Choksi, an ambitious girl, who has only one aim in life- to marry a rich boy, which he is not. The 4th story is about a cheating husband, Manohar Jain ( Paritosh Tripathi) who is married to Pinky ( Fatima Sana Sheikh) and is picked up for a double murder committed by Sattu Bhaiya.
Pinky has a childhood sweetheart, Alok Kumar Gupta
(Rajkummar Rao), or Aalu, whose love is unfortunately one-sided from his side. He loves her madly and is ready to do anything for her, even though he knows his hopeless love has no future.
No spoilers from me. For more, watch the film. You certainly will not regret it.
In the ending, all the characters come together in a funny and fast-paced climax. Pankaj Tripathi steals the show, often with just a whimsical smile or a smirk. Abhishek Bachchan has done well as the snarling, growling gangster, who has a heart of gold. Aditya and Sanya do competent jobs as does Fatima. However, apart from Pankaj, the two actors I found best were Pearle Maaney as the nurse and Rajkumar Rao (RR) as the one-sided lover. RR is simply superb in each and every scene. He indeed seems to be improving movie after movie.
Priyanka Chopra found Ludo slick, fun, crazy and I agree with her that the film has a fantastic bunch of talent. Anurag too says that “It was fantastic working with such a talented ensemble, where each actor brought a unique vision and craft”. He has handled them well. Good job Anurag Basu and yes, your Coronavirus dialogue in COVID-19 times was very correct.
Watch Ludo, and you will love it!