Inkaar (2013) Review

Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh in Sudhir Mishra's Inkaar (2013) Hindi film

Kolkata, Jan 20, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) Film-maker Sudhir Mishra's Inkaar opened at a time India - the fourth most dangerous country for women - is grappling with violent assaults on it's fairer sex stemming from deep societal attitudes in the subcontinent.

Arjun Rampal plays the role of Rahul Verma, CEO of a multinational advertising agency who hand-picks and personally trains Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh) setting her career soaring. In the process, Verma and Luthra unleash more than just professional talent.

They travel together around the world on professional assignments during which they give in to their desires. But romance and passion do not last long.

When it comes to relationships, Rahul is adventurous and does not shy away from other opportunities, assisted by his powerful position as the head of the organization. He lets his relationship with Maya linger in a non-committal way. Neither his girlfriend nor just another colleague, Maya's killer curves and rapid rise on the corporate ladder sets tongues wagging about her success in deploying the bedroom-strategy.

Maya escapes the situation by arranging to get herself transferred away from Mumbai. She returns after years, and things take a nasty turn with Maya filing a sexual harrassment law-suit against Rahul.

An inquiry committee appoints a social worker (Deepti Naval) to investigate the matter. The findings are pretty unexpected and everyone seems to be the prey and the predator at the same time. The gripping story of Inkaar continues with remarkable revelations.

The film does an exceptional job of presenting both sides of the stories from the points of view of accusers and the accused. Mishra attempts to present some justification for the actions of every character in realistic way as demanded by the real-world situations involving ambition, lust and corporate rat-race. He does well in invoking emotions as he building up the plot. Whether in portraying Maya's arrogance after being promoted to National Creative Head (especially where she ruthlessly sacks people for minor issues), or the suppressed anger of Rahul while Maya was going nuts (which really blew up once), Mishra has confirmed nothing big can be built in a single day, not even issues. He has also managed the plot well, never letting it cross into the zone of the melodrama. He successfully retains the feel of realism about an issue which mostly goes unreported due to social taboo in India.

Mishra has also dealt well with factors that act as catalysts in the protected corridors of corporate power. Cut-throat profit-making policies, manipulation, the lobbying system and corporate politics have been introduced at the right times and doses such that they do not seem irrelevant. But Mishra could have done better in working with his cinematographer who seems to have overlooked the audience preference for closer shots of lead actors, not the extras, especially when doing so is not at all relevant.

Arjun Rampal has done a decent job as the corporate boss but at times he wears the body language of a model. Okay, agreed that that can be passed off as portrayal of a flamboyant and energetic young boss. But Arjun could have been a more dignified CEO had he not been so energetic and turbulent with himself on the screen.

Chitrangada Singh’s effort deserves nothing but appreciation, but at the end of the day it will still be her effort which will be appreciated, not so much her performance. She should remember that though she has expressive eyes and impressive curves, she cannot afford to leave her performance to them. Occasionally she looked too mechanical on camera. One wonders if she may have been advised to be so, as corporate life makes people very mechanical.

Inkaar overall is a film which is watchable for the rarely tried bold theme with not too many steamy sex scenes and a few ambitious dialogues. Sudhir Mishra’s venture to the depths of the corporate world is impressive.

Watch the Bollywood Hindi movie Inkaar trailer (youtube).

- Jyoti Prakash Mandal (