Ludo by Anurag Basu on Netflix might just be the right film to watch this Diwali weekend. Spoiler free review.


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Anurag Basu’s next Ludo is now playing on Netflix. From the man who has given us adventure fantasy romance films such as Barfi (2012) and Jagga Jasoos (2017), comes another such film about the coincidences of life that can leave a lasting impact on lives without people even realizing the true weight of it.

Set in Ranchi, Ludo disguises itself as a dark comedy, which is about one connected story of chance. But it really is an anthology of five love stories, which all conveniently culminate at the same time for all relevant couples. These range from a resurfaced sex tape to a rogue suitcase of money to a cheating husband accused of murder and another man’s quest to get his family back. The board game itself is alluded to due to the roll of dice of fat by an eccentric criminal (Pankaj Tripathi) connecting them all, representing the fifth love story.

Pankaj Tripathi in Ludo

The film boasts of a stellar ensemble cast in Pankaj Tripathi, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanya Malhotra, Rajkummar Rao, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Abhishek Bachchan, Shalini Vats, Rohit Saraf, Inayat Verma and Asha Negi. Watch the trailer here.

Written, shot and directed by Anurag Basu, this would be his second anthology film, post Life… in a Metro (2007). It delivers the humour and picturesque cinematography like many of his films, and life being definitive in the small moments. But it also has the clunkiness of too many characters with different narratives, not entirely adding up and all needing a convenient culmination rather quickly. The two commentators also serve as an unnecessary addition, along with their conversation on good and evil/ heaven and hell.

Aditya Roy Kapur in Ludo

However, this is also accompanied by brilliant performances by all of the cast. The standout performance in the film is delivered by Aditya Roy Kapur, who is seen in a rare uninhibited demeanour. He is completely convincing as an old school ventriloquist in this era, despite how he looks and his perfect hair in the whole film. Special mention should also go to using Rajkummar Rao’s ability to mimic other actors without becoming a caricature very well.

Rajkummar Rao in Ludo

Ludo is not perfect, but it’s light and will make you want to believe in love, second chances, and happy endings, for the most part. Isn’t that what a festive time should leave you feeling? It might just be the film this Diwali weekend for a lot of people to stream.

Produced by T-Series and Anurag Basu Productions, Ludo premiered on Netflix on 12 November 2020. Go streaming now.

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Deepa Bajaj
Deepa is the founder of FilmTribe, who discovered her love for Indian cinema when she moved to New York, and the world of indie film living and working in the arts and film industry in Mumbai. Alice fell down a rabbit hole she didn't climb out of, even as she moved to London.


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