The moviegoers have developed a taste for innovative, out of the box stories. Topics that were once considered taboo are being attempted on the Hindi screen. Pushing the envelope within commercial parameters is the new mantra. Known for attempting diverse stories in film after film, Sudhir Mishra takes on a hitherto untold topic for his newest venture INKAAR: Sexual harassment in a work environment.
A film like INKAAR is extremely relevant, topical and relatable in today’s times. Sexual harassment is a reality and one needs to address it. We ought to discuss it — with students, with grownups, with working men and women, within and outside organizations. One has to be vigilant, on the guard against those indulging in it and getting away scot free. The ones who endure harassment are often scared to come out in the open, fearing that it may ruin their personal/professional life.
INKAAR may revive memories of DISCLOSURE [Michael Douglas, Demi Moore] and also Abbas-Mustan’s AITRAAZ and Madhur Bhandarkar’s CORPORATE, but INKAAR depicts the clash of egos most differently. Beneath the sexual harassment issue that it addresses, there’s a love story that comes to the fore during the culmination of the film. However, the writing isn’t watertight this time. More on that later!
At one of India’s leading ad agencies, the battle for the top job between Rahul [Arjun Rampal], a venerated advertising CEO, and Maya [Chitrangda Singh], his ambitious protégé, takes a dramatic turn when she files a sexual harassment complaint against him. It’s the job of the committee set up by the agency to hear both sides of the story and work through the layers of lies and accusations to find out who’s really telling the truth and who’s lying. The stakes are high because only one of them [Rahul or Maya] will walk away with their reputation intact. Will the committee really be able to uncover the truth?
INKAAR is a tough film to make and one must compliment Sudhir Mishra for sticking his neck out. Let me add, INKAAR is not just about sex. It’s about greed, ambition and power play. Generally, in a majority of Hindi films, it’s the man who seeks sexual favors, while the woman is projected as someone who’s meek. But the woman here is shrewd and spiteful. When the two sexes collide, what the spectator gets to see is not just the issue that the film raises, but also the games the ambitious play to reach the top spot.
Mishra is a sensitive storyteller. At the same time, he’s a director’s actor. Given the subject matter, INKAAR would’ve turned into a sleaze fest, a cheesy film, but the director handles the provocative moments elegantly. However, like I pointed out at the outset, the writing is gripping in parts, not in its entirety. A few episodes are engaging, but a couple of them lack the hammer-strong impact. Besides, the screenplay should’ve been exhilarating and engaging towards the resolution. Also, the track of the father [Kawaljit Singh] is a little difficult to comprehend. What was the writer trying to convey in those scenes? Dialogue are incisive, razor-sharp and acidic, depending on the situation.
INKAAR succeeds in bringing out the right emotions from its actors. Arjun Rampal displays remarkable understanding of the character. Post CHAKRAVYUH, which released a few months ago, this is yet another power-packed performance that makes you realize that this supermodel has transformed into a super actor. Chitrangda immerses herself into the role brilliantly. She uses her lustiness in a wicked, dominating way and that’s what catches your eye. It’s great to see Deepti Naval after a hiatus. The film has a collage of talented actors, which includes Vipin Sharma, Mohan Kapur, Asheesh Kapur, Shivani Tanksale, Gaurav Dwivedi and Rehana Sultan [cameo] and each of them stands out in his/her respective part.
On the whole, INKAAR is for spectators of serious cinema. Caters to a niche audience!