Ludo, streaming on Netflix, is the latest offering from director Anurag Basu, who after his forgettable Jagga Jasoos, is back with another unconventional film. Basu who also is the narrator of the movie, in the start mentions that life is like ludo, which is the crux of this film.
Ludo is the story of 4 different people representing 4 colours of the tokens. How the lives of all these four tokens is related to the roll of dice, and how they finally end together at the same place is what the plot of Ludo.
Sattu Bhaiya (impeccable Pankaj Tripathi) represents the dice and plays a don who is stylish and the movie starts with him killing a builder.
First Story or colour of ludo is represented by Akash (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Ahana (Sanya Malhotra) who are in panic mode, as a video of their intimate moments has gone viral. Ahana is getting married to a rich man and she wants to ensure that somehow the video gets deleted from the internet.
Second story is of Abhishek Bachchan, who plays a small-time criminal Bittu. Bittu is ex aide of Sattu Bhaiya and has just returned from jail to find out that his wife has married someone else and his daughter is unaware that Bittu is her father.
Third story introduces us to Alu (Rajkummar Rao), who is a waiter in a restaurant, an avid Mithun fan and is still madly in love with his childhood crush Pinky (Fatima Sana Sheikh), who is happily married and has a kid. Alu still stalks her and is willing to do anything for her.
The final story is about a salesman in mall Rahul (Rohit Saraf) who is harassed by his boss in office, and a nurse Sheeja (Pearl Maney) who is also ridiculed in hospital because of her no or limited hindi knowledge.
Sattu Bhaiya is the fulcrum of this story. The rest of the movie is all about the situations that are created by every action of Sattu Bhaiya, and how all these people’s lives are affected by it and how they all come at one place in the end.
Ludo has a lot of positives which work in favour of the film. First of all, worth mentioning is the plot and screenplay. The way the screenplay is written and executed to relate the game of Ludo with life is excellent and all the subplots have been seamlessly integrated into the narrative.
The cinematography of the movie is too good, it is colourful and sets up a very good feel for the movie. Background music is also worth mentioning and goes very well with the feel of the film.
The writing of the film deserves a special mention. Every character has been well defined, and very well cast. The way the central character (Tripathi) holds the film together and how his every action has a ripple effect is very well shown on screen.
Direction by Anurag Basu is excellent. He has ensured that the effective use of one liners by Tripathi, Rajkummar’s mannerisms and the song O Betaji, O Babuji bring a smile to viewers’ faces.
Not Many. The only major negative about Ludo is its runtime. The movie is 2 hrs 30 min long and feels even longer given so much of the stories going on parallely. Some portions are uncalled for and editing could have been tighter.
Ludo is one of those rare movies where almost every character has been perfect in their roles. Pankaj Tripathi, to start with, as Sattu Bhaiya is excellent and holds the movie splendidly around himself. From his dialogues to demeanour everything is perfect and whistle worthy.
Rajkummar Rao with his funny mannerisms and Mithun’s mimicry is excellent. Fatima Sana Sheikh has looked ravishing and acted brilliantly.
Abhishek Bachchan again gets a role which he has done multiple times, a grumpy man, and he plays it with command.
Special Mention to Rohit and Pearl, who are the newest members of the team and have performed very well. Shalini Vatsa as head nurse and Tripathi’s love interest is endearing.
Other supporting actors have all been very good in their small roles.
Overall, Ludo is a complex film which has been handled well by the director. This is probably the best film that has come out in 2020, for its sheer energy, complexity and still the simplicity with which it links and tells different stories.
Ludo is a must watch, given its uniqueness of plot, performances and entertainment.