When you delve into Anurag Basu’s cinema, one of the basic prerequisites is to push your imaginative horizons and gear up. With Ludo, this need doubles up.
When an infamous and dangerous goon kills a builder, many lives get caught up in this rolling snowball of crime. All these lives are categorized into four separate plots that cross each other some time or another, just like opponents in the game of Ludo.
It is difficult to ascertain which one character links all four because through non-linear editing and simultaneous timelines Basu keeps touching two pawns of a story as the it proceeds.
To be fair, the actual excitement of watching Ludo lies in figuring out the entire premise as the film unfolds. This is probably why the trailer also did not drop any hints regarding how everything is connected.
Undeniably, Ludo is about its vast star cast and performances. With multi-starrers in Bollywood, the chance of risking individual acting or deliverance is immense.
But Ludo comes out with flying colours in this respect. Rajkummar Rao is inarguably the most cherished delight. Although his role was not as much length-wise, Rao never fails to get his versatility noticed.
Apart from him, Pankaj Tripathi as Sittu Bhaiya is a delight to watch. But with time, he is coming very close to being typecast. His introductory scene in the film shows him as a blend of Kaleen Bhaiya from Mirzapur and Guruji from Sacred Games.
In this otherwise stellar list of performances, Aditya Roy Kapur as Ayush doesn’t quite leave an impression. His part of the narrative is not as connected to the entire story either.
Other than that, Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra also deliver intently.
Anurag Basu is known for his vivid use of colour schemes in telling a story. Especially with Bittu’s (Abhishek Bachchan) initial shots and introductory sequences, the use of all sorts of colours was symbolically used to portray the character’s mood.
The plot is very tightly knit, leaving little to no room for plot holes. The treatment of the film is quite contemporary how commercial it is.
The experiments Basu has done with shots and editing don’t disrupt the actual flow of the story. On the contrary, they only improve the case.
Nudity, violence, gunshots and blood, everything plays an important part in Ludo. But never once is it overdone. Since this film was originally made for theatres, a lot of the time this might not seem like an OTT release.
Like Babel or Crash, this film doesn’t run parallels to eventually denote a message. This is probably why characters and the what or why behind their actions is incoherent at times.
Two females from the plot are written to be gold-diggers and opportunists. And on both times, this is written to suit the character description of their male counterparts.
One of the initial shots of the film show Basu in the frame talking about the coronavirus and its effects. This was evidently a shot added in the post-production.
There is nothing more pointless in the film than this addition. No followed up or left behind story shows any character or person in frame accustomed to this virus or its existence.
Ludo is an engaging watch but the plot somehow starts running in every direction. The climax has so many characters doing so many things without any explanation.
Ludo might not be the most perfect film of 2020 or Netflix or Anurag Basu. But it sure is an engaging watch. Watch Ludo for some mind-blowing editing and an initially engaging plot.