Anurag Basu returns to direction with the Netflix film, Ludo, where he dons multiple hats with flair. Not only has he directed and written the film, Basu had also cranked the camera, as well as acted in Ludo in an important cameo. Ludo, like his Life... in a Metro, belongs to the genre of hyperlink cinema. The movie features an ensemble cast in Abhishek Bachchan (Bittu), Rajkummar Rao (Aalu), Fatima Sana Shaikh (Pinky), Aditya Roy Kapur (Akash), Sanya Malhotra (Shruti), Rohit Saraf (Rahul), Pearle Maaney (Sheeja) and Pankaj Tripathi (Sattu Bhaiya). Ludo Movie Review: Pankaj Tripathi, Abhishek Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao, Fatima Sana Shaikh All Impress in Anurag Basu’s Terrific Hyperlink Cinema!
Ludo is about five stories that are interconnected with each other, but each have different outcome. Abhishek Bachchan plays a former criminal who comes out of jail and finds his past life is no longer his, though a chance encounter with a young girl reminds him of a life he could have. Rajkummar Rao plays a former thief turned dhaba owner, who is coaxed to saving the husband of his former crush, played by Fatima Sana Shaikh, from prison.
Aditya Roy Kapur and Sanya Malhotra are two youngsters who once shared a secret, passionate no-frills affair, but are reunited when they have to hide a reminder of that affair. Rohit Saraf plays a down-on-luck mall employee, who gets a forbidden bag of cash, that he shares with Pearle's Malayali nurse. Finally there is Sattu Bhaiyya, a dreaded gangster (and Bittu's former boss), who has a role to play in each story, but finds himself incapacitated in an unexpected accident. All these stories often criss-cross each other, till they reach a chaotic finale, where some are killed, some get happy ending, while we figure out what exactly Life means for each one of us.
So what does the ending mean? We will try to break down the climax of Ludo, which means there are plenty of SPOILERS ahead.
Sattu Bhaiyya, and his men reach the hotel where Rahul and Sheeja are staying to take their money from them. The police also reaches there, after Akash and Shruti find out that this is the hotel where their sex tape originated. Shruti's fiance finds out her secret and also arrives there, seemingly okay with what happened between Akash and Shruti. The resulting standoff is triggered into an explosive shootout by Bittu's arrival to kill Sattu, who had betrayed him once.
The shootout ends with the deaths of most of the cops, all of Sattu's men, as well as Bittu. Sattu and Akash are heavily injured. Sattu leaves the hotel in a car with one bag containing his loot, and he meets nurse Kutty (Shalini Vatsa), his love, on the way. However, a truck crashes into him (Interestingly, another truck crashes into his men earlier when they were chasing Rahul and Sheeja). Is that Fate in play, coming in as trucks?
Meanwhile, a heartbroken Aalu sends off Pinky and her baby, with her husband, who they help escape from prison, in a car. Pinky feels guilty about Aalu, and is irked by her husband who keeps taunting her, accusing her of infidelity. When the taunts get too much, she shoots him in the end, and returns to Aalu to ask for a last favour - to dump the body.
In the epilogue, after Akash recovers fully, he is reunited with Shruti, who has broken off her marriage, because she is love with him. Rahul and Sheeja are living the high life, thanks to one bag of the begotten loot that Sheeja had hidden, and are seemingly a couple now. So are Aalu and Pinky.
Sattu is also alive, but is wheelchair-stricken following the accident, but is leading a happy life with Kutty, from the rest of the money he had retrieved. Bittu's former family is well-off now thanks to the ransom money he gave to them to pay off their debts. Even Mini finally found the parental love she craved for. So why was Fate unfair to Bittu, the only main character to die? Ludo Movie Review: Anurag Basu's Film Has Stellar Performances, A Gripping Narrative and A Major Life Lesson, Say Critics.
Yama and Chitragupta
To understand why Bittu dies, and supposed villain, Sattu, survived, we have to understand the conversations that happened between the two men playing Ludo in the film. They are later revealed to be Yamraj and Chitragupta, (Basu plays Yamraj). Chitragupta asks Yamraj the significance of sin and virtue when it comes to deciding a person's fate.
Yama gives the example of a story in Mahabharata. While it is often perceived that Pandavas are heroes and Kauravas villains, that isn't exactly the case. When Yudhisthira reaches heaven, he finds Duryodhana sitting on a throne there surrounded by apsaras, but he is told that his brothers are in hell. (while Yama doesn't complete his story, it is later revealed that this was Yudhistra's final test. Both Kauravas and Pandavas are in heaven, after all, for having fulfilled their duties as kshatriyas).
Later, as they walk through the messy aftermath of the shootout, as Bittu lies dead and Sattu seemingly so, Yama asks Chitragupta if Bittu would reach heaven. Chitragupta answers in affirmative, saying that his sacrifices negates his past crimes, clearing his way to heaven. As for Sattu, Chitragupta says he will go to hell. But Yama says that isn't the case, as Sattu has still one thing to do (which is to do right to Kutty, that he does, and it vindicates him, albeit with repercussions).
Here's where things get interesting. Yama explains that Life is like a game of Ludo, no matter which path you take, you end up in Home, and Death is the only Truth in life. Just as the figure '6' looks like '9' to someone else, what's right for some, may not be right to others. The concepts of heaven and hell are all made by humans to bring control to their out-of-control world, including the concept of God. Saying this, they both disappear into smoke, hinting that even they could be imaginary.
This is smartly intercut with the scene where three humans dressed Gods are waiting on the side of the road, with Kutty watching them on the other side, as Sattu arrives with the car.
While the (imaginary) Yama might have dissed the idea of heaven and hell, Ludo still harks on the significance of our actions and how they not only affect our futures but also others. Bittu might have made two families happy with his sacrifice, but he lost his life in trying to seek vengeance. Going out in this fashion is perhaps the best way for Bittu to go, for he can't be with his own daughter, and he can't be with Mini, for she is someone else's daughter.
For Sattu, Death might have be an easy way out of his sins, which is why he was spared of that. By returning to Kutty, he does one good thing, but the consequences of his past actions leaves him handicapped in what he sees is a happy life.
Shruti, who wanted a lavish lifestyle for herself after marriage because she was brainfed from childhood about that, seeks a less-fanciful life with Akash. Rahul and Sheeja, who symbolise a love borne out of misfortune, find their fates change, showing that Life can't be the same for everyone all the time. This is perfectly shown in the contrasting natures of how they first meet Akash and Shruti, as their bike crashes into the latter's car, to their final scene, where Shruti and Akash in their scooter see Rahul and Sheeja in their fancy car.
Pinky and Aalu get their happy ending, when the former recognises the true love for her that she might have been ignoring for that long. Each one of them have committed sins, but like Yama said, even if they suffered the consequences, they have all got their endings they wanted. Which is their 'Home'. Each character got their Home, because of what they wanted, and not what they were told to do.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 12, 2020 08:51 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).