Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Hubble-bubble, dribble and drool, faster than the slobber sliding off her chin, Makdee is going to snare you in the web of a blue-skinned witch who loves to sink her teeth into sticky toffee. Peppered with pucca characters like Kallu, a butcher who fattens his murgis with dal-moth, his sidekick Mughal-e-Azam, and classic village people like a masterji, pandit and two perambulating policemen, Makdee takes you on one rambunctious romp. All the jhatkas and matkas come from hens dressed in white feathers and red crests, giving you a taste of the real India. Directed, written and produced by Vishal Bhardwaj, the man who scored the music for Maachis, Satya and Godmother, this kiddie movie that also enchants adults won the second prize in the children's section of the Chicago Film Festival.
The story is about Chunni and Munni, identical twins, separated by a lisp, who live in a village where everyone would've lived happily if it weren't for the Makdee (witch) who lives in her haunted house with a horrible hex. Anyone who enters its gates return not as humans, but as chickens. Chunni is the scalawag who cons both Munni and Mughal-e-Azam into doing her homework, while she twirls about in pigtails and dances on her tippy-toes. All her pranks pay off, till one day when trying to help Mughal-e-Azam get his back on Kallu, Chunni gets her timid sister into the clutch of the blood-sipping witch. And before you can squawk, Munni becomes a murgi. It's the kind of snafu which gets almost everyone from Alladin, Mughal-e-Azam's pet puppy, to Masterji trapped by Makdee while they try to rescue Munni. Acting naturally, unlike the simpering sweet girls fed on sugarplums and shakarkand in most Hindi movies, Shwetaa sparkles both as a tapori and teacher's pet. From a blithe prankster to a ten-year-old saddled with the daily burden of robbing chickens for the blood-thirsty Makdee, Shwetaa is a scene-stealer. Shabana Azmi, as the creepy sorceress with the long, grizzly talons, matted hair and black boots, casts her spell without uttering any of the usual abracadabra. In a natural progression of his andewalla persona in Snip, Makrand Deshpande as Kallu acts with grand pluck and flamboyance as a crooning kasai-with-a-conscience. Their performances coupled with the peppy soundtrack with terrific lyrics from Gulzar make Makdee bounce. Like a Panchatantra tale with panache, Bhardwaj's screenplay magically folds together like a burst of colourful origami with chatpata characters and creatures, underpinned by Hemant Chaturvedi's spooky-mood cinematography. A cineaste's delight, Makdee is perfect, but only for the fearless who dare to drink deep of a witch's brew that gives you an equal mix of the heebie-jeebies and the jollies.