[For original pdf, click here Rant&raves]
Featured in Masala Lite, February issue, 2013
Director Sudhir Mishra’s new flick Inkaar has been creating quite a buzz in B-town for tackling the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace. But the film is not without the Bollywood stereotyping and received mixed reviews as a result. People from the advertising industry have criticised Mishra for wrongly depicting the advertising world as glamour-laden and loose, whereas others praise the storyline and how it deals with a sensitive issue .
The story begins in a conference room, where Mrs. Kamdar (Deepti Naval), a social worker, is asked to work with a committee to investigate a sexual harassment case at an ad agency. Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh), the creative director, has filed a lawsuit against her CEO and former lover Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal). During the entire process, Maya faces ostracism from both her male and female colleagues while the company’s founder keeps pressuring her to drop the lawsuit.
Mishra’s direction and Manoj Tyagi’s script aim to be realistic, but sometimes miss the mark. The movie succeeds in depicting the reality that a woman who is victim of sexual harassment or rape is often faulted for the way she dresses and acts. The humiliation and degradation Maya faces at the office are probably akin to what rape victims must go through at the police station. Yet the portrayal of Maya falls prey to the Bollywood stereotype of a woman incapable of separating the professional from the personal. Rahul, on the other hand, is calm and respected by his co-workers, except that he can’t stand Maya’s success. The ending, too, is a pretty appalling cop-out and ultimately does a disservice to the cause it means to serve.
The plot, the acting, and the steamy love scenes have the audience both fuming and applauding. The on-screen chemistry between the sultry Chitrangada Singh and Arjun Rampal is titillating, and their performances are equally convincing. Rampal, who is known to be selective about his roles, often plays characters that steer away from your conventional Bollywood hero. This has caused many downs in his career, but he proves once again to be a talented actor. The little-known Singh, who has played parts in movies such as Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and Sorry Bhai, shows her more serious side in this film.
Music director Shantanu Moitra doesn’t throw out any memorable songs other than the catchy “Maula Tu Malik Hain”, which plays quite often during the course of the film.
All in all, despite losing its courage at the end and failing to be a true feminist film, Inkaar still has a refreshing storyline by Bollywood standards and is apt for the time. —REENA KARIM