Four (or is it five?) parallel plotlines, a huge ensemble cast and 2.5 hours – sounds like a recipe for disaster isn’t it? Not if you are Anurag Basu. The stalwart director is back with a bang, this time using LUDO to show how anyone isn’t paapi or dusth, and managed to keep us hooked for the entirety of the plot. With the talented Pankaj Tripathi and actors including Rajkumar Rao, Abhishek Bachchan, Sanya Malhotra and Aditya Roy Kapur, LUDO is the perfect weekend entertainment.
Rahul Satyendra Tripathi aka Sattu Bhaiyya (Pankaj Tripathi) starts off the chain of events that lead to the hullabaloo that is LUDO when he murders a builder and his wife. Pankaj Tripathi sets the tone of the film in the first five minutes – with a silky black lungi, a thigh holster and the swagger that is pure Pankaj Tripathi – and manages to grab your attention and never let go. Elsewhere, ventriloquist Akash (Aditya Roy Kapoor) finds himself and his ex-girlfriend Shruti (Sanya Malhotra) in trouble when their sex tape emergies online, 5 days before Shruti’s wedding.
Rajkumar Rao plays the lovesick Alok aka Alu who is called ‘second hand Mithun’ in his gulli and has been in love with the now married Pinky (Fatima Sana Shaikh) all his life. Like every aashiq in every gulli of India, Alu goes when Pinky calls as her husband is arrested for murder and she has nowhere to go. Our third protagonist is the angry young Junior Bachchan, who plays a gunda named Bittu, is Sattu Bhaiyya’s right hand and is just out after serving 7 years in jail. Yearning to meet his daughter, his life takes a drastic turn when he meets the innocent Minnie who has run away from home. Last but not least are two bullied workers Rahul and Sheeja whose luck turns around when they suddenly get their hands on Sattu Bhaiyya’s money.
Seems like a lot of things to keep track of doesn’t it? Don’t worry, for Sir Basu (or as he plays the narrating Yama in this film) makes sure every character gets their due, whether it’s hell or heaven, all the while keeping the audience hooked to every plot. There’s romance, there’s action, there’s comedy – there is something for everyone! The songs are catchy, and the voices of Arijit Singh, Ash King and Jubin Nautiyal make you sway with the tune. While Yama gives background narration on how life is like LUDO, nowhere do the dialogues turn heavy or philosophical; instead, we go through shades of love, comedy and adventure in a fun-filled 2.5 hours of LUDO.
What doesn’t work for LUDO are the storylines it leaves in the air – the murders and the mayhem that have no repercussions – which take away a star from its otherwise entertaining story.
For anyone who just wants a break from the diwali pandemonium this weekend, give LUDO (the game or the film) a try – you won’t be disappointed.