The ‘chawl’ culture of Mumbai has never been too far from Hindi cinema. From Basu Chatterjee’s Piya Ka Ghar to Sanjay Jha’s Pran Jaye Par Chawl Na Jaye to Mahesh Manjrekar’s City Of Gold and Chandan Arora’s Striker, many gripping tales of resilience and kinship have been put on screen with no trace of self pity or anger in the underprivileged characters who go about their lives with dignity, optimism and humour even after queuing up for an hour to get into the dingy public toilet.
Madholal…Keep Walking is a well intended look at people we know from the chawls even if we’ve never been to one. The conversation among the characters is authentic. But the sad part is, these characters don’t seem to be saying anything that interests anyone apart from the characters who speak mundane matters acquires a certain engaging quality on screen only when ordinariness is treated with extraordinary empathy. This was the case recently with Irfan Kamal’s Thanks, Maa where one slum kid’s quest for a mother made all the routine characters assume a life beyond their appointed ennui.
In Madholal… The plot and dialogues create no interest in the characters. For half the film we grow familiar with the hand to mouth world of the the protagonist Madholal (Subrat Dutta) his family of loving wife and two daughters and his circle of friends with whom he commutes by train every day. The conversation among the friends is essentially about sex or the lack of it.