Director: Anurag Basu
We all know, Ludo is a game where players race with their four tokens from start to finish according to the rolls of a single die. Following the same path, Anurag Basu through his vision of bright colors and his talent of presenting a simple storyline into a staggering timeline makes this game much appreciable and turns the film's storyline into a confounding crisscrossing heap. The 50's song 'O betaji, kismat ki hawa kabhi naram kabhi garam' from the film Albela (1951) composed by C. Ramchandra nearly seven decades ago, depicts the cross-shaped playspace life of Ludo's four-player and how a single roll of a die controls the swiftness of the all tokens. Anurag Basu's dark comedy, which features Abhishekh Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rohit Suresh Saraf, Rajkummar Rao are the four main players of Ludo, and Pankaj Tripathi is a dice that rolls the whole storyline. Well, this gem kind of film revolves around four wildly different stories that overlap at the whims of fate, chance, and one eccentric criminal.
The film begins with the introduction of a murderer, decoit, don Satyendra Tripathi aka Sattu Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) who guns down his victim Bhinder from point-blank range in his bathroom and makes him realized that he is doing a favor by killing him and tells him that this is how he can start afresh life through reincarnation process. After killing him, Sattu moves forward in his red-white van along with his goons and also abducts other people who came in the way of his den covered with a water body. The story narration by Anurag Basu moves forward who compares the Ludo game with sin and virtue (Paap Aur Puniye). In his den, Akash (Aditya Roy Kapur) a ventriloquist came with his brother to seek help. Well, the reason behind his visit is an intimate video of him with a girl named Shruti (Sanya Malhotra) which is going viral on the porn site. Although his own face isn't visible in the footage but for the sake of Shruti and her upcoming marriage to an entrepreneur, Akash decides to take the video down.
On the other side, Bittu Tiwari (Abhishek Bachchan) who was the right hand of Sattu Bhaiya is now released from jail after spending six years in imprisonment. When he reaches his home, his wife Asha (Asha Negi) who left him at the time of his imprisonment, told him that his friend Bhanu is been kidnapped by Sattu and he is asking for 90 lakh to release him as Bhanu and Asha took a loan from Sattu to start a beauty parlor business. Initially, Bittu doesn't agree but when Asha told him that his daughter thinks Bhanu is her father and begs him for his daughter's sake, Bittu agrees to visit Sattu who wants him to be back to his previous gangster life once again.
Reaching to Sattu's den where Akash, Rahul (who worked in a mall as a helper, accidentally become the eye-witness of Bhinder's murder and abducted by Sattu) already there, Bittu denies helping Bhanu and decides to leave but unfortunately, a blast happens at the place and everyone scatters and runs for their freedom.
Moving forward to the green player, Alok Kumar Gupta aka Aalu (Rajkummar Rao) who is in love with his childhood love Pinky (Fatima Sana Shaikh) despite the fact she is married now and has a baby. Still, Aalu can do anything that she wants. Although, when her husband gets arrested on the charge of murder, she seeks Aalu's help.
On the other hand, one-day Bittu meets a small girl Mini (Inayat Verma) who gets an idea to noble herself after being inspired by CID. The reason behind his act was the lack of attention she gets from her parents that jeopardizes her life. Bittu finds her daughter in Mini and Mini received that love which she was looking for.
Will, Pinky be able to release his cheater husband from jail with the help of Aalu, will Akash and Shruti be able to find out the person behind their viral video and will Rahul and Shreeja Thomas (Pearle Maaney) be able to live a life they want without society fear who bullied them, or will Bittu can get relief from his pain? Well in the film, all players rolled the exact number they needed to get each token onto the home triangle.
Besides being the director of Ludo, Anurag Basu is also the film's cinematographer and production designer and last but not least the primary string that narrates and connects all the Ludo players through his narration of Paap Aur Puniye. Anurag's well-formed story has a twisted timeline to introduce the characters in the beginning, and his vision of inserting the mythology theory becomes a perfect blend of perfection. Some film scenes by the director remind you of his previous work 'Jagga Jassos' and 'Barfi'.
With a touch of Charlie Chaplin's screen persona, Anurag's Ludo film is a goofy take on love. The four lives and their intersecting story is a must-watch. Ajay Sharma's editing work brings the film sharply on the edge and doesn't give a chance to feel jaded throughout the running time.
Talking about the performances then once again Pankaj Tripathi wins hearts with his hilarious performance as a gangster. Even after watching the film one person that hits the mind is Pankaj's character who is funny, witty and sometimes bright like Anurag's colors. Apart from him, Rajkummar with his dancing style, his Mithun da look, a love for his childhood crush and infinite efforts to do anything for his love, melt hearts. Abhishekh Bachchan has also proved himself with his acting chops that the actor is a perfect choice for the angry young man role. His father-daughter chemistry with Inayat Verma will bring tears into your eyes. Aditya Roy Kapur is funny and charming in his role. On the other side, Fatima and Sanaya also fit perfectly in this roller-coaster ride. Kanta Bai from the Sacred Games aka Shalini Vatsa is a charm of the film and his scenes with Pankaj are not less than a joy ride.
Music by Pritam is the soul of the film, lyrics penned by Sayeed Quadri, Sandeep Srivastava, Swanand Kirkire is also much appreciable. Songs like Aabaad Barbaad, Meri Tum ho, Humdum are a soothing melody to ears and helps in narrating the storyline too.
All in all, Ludo teaches us that sometimes life gets still even with efforts, so there is a need to open your vision to the number six and roll the dice till you reach home. Anurag sent the film's characters on a wild goose chase across unspecified locales in search of things that their hearts hope for but their minds cannot fully grasp. This 2 hours and 30 minutes ludo game is all about sin and virtue and how these players used the cursed dice to beat their destiny. Colorful trucks, cars, train that depict the Ludo token colors and the physical comedy and broad humor became a part of Ludo’s landscape. . So take a shot on this dicey game for once and join the players in their roller coaster ride with a blend of laughter, emotions, and surprises. In the end, O betaa ji, are o baabu ji, kismat ki hava kabhi naram, kabhi garam kabhi naram-naram, kabhi garam-garam, kabhi naram-garam naram-garam re o betaa ji.....!