Directed By: Madhur Bhandarkar
Produced By: Bharat Shah, Bhandarkar Entertainment
Cast: Kirti Kulhari, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Tota Roy Chowdhury
Duration: 2 hours 19 minutes
Heard a lot and read a lot about it, but it was now time to witness it on the big screen. Well, we are talking about the Emergency period, from June 25, 1975 to March 21, 1977 which Madhur Bhandarkar has got on the celluloid with his film ‘Indu Sarkar’. Madhur is known for showing the reality in his films. While ‘Page 3’ showcased the life of page 3 journalists, ‘Fashion’ showed the dirty side of the fashion world, this time the filmmaker has opted to show us the reality of a government, one of the most successful ones of our country, though with a disclaimer that the movie is not related to any person, living or dead.
Madhur narrates the story of Emergency through the point of view of Indu Sarkar (Kirti Kulhari), an orphan who has stammering issues because of which she never gets adopted, and after turning an adult, it even becomes difficult for her to find a groom. Indu, who also writes poems, finally gets married to Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Choudhury) a government employee. During Emergency, Indu comes across some circumstances that make her question the government’s righteousness. Of course, being a wife of a government employee, she is not allowed to speak against the government, especially about Emergency. However, one of the situations makes Indu stand against her husband, and join an activist organisation which is against the government and wants the Emergency down. Will Indu’s association with the activist organisation bring a change? While a daughter of the country has imprisoned the whole nation, will Indu be the other daughter who will show the country a way of freedom?
Madhur Bhandarkar surely has a great story in his hands which will make you sit back and think; was the government actually wrong or their way of development was wrong? The story is very impactful because it really hits you hard in your head about the government everyone believed in. But, the problem here is that the story just gets too jumbled up in facts and fiction. We really wonder that the things which are shown in the film are reality or just the imagination of the writer. Even Madhur has resorted to a dramatic narrative. Though the movie is good in bits and parts, it fails to keep the momentum up. The screenplay of the film gets a bit stretchy, especially in the first half. A genre like this surely required a tight screenplay. There are sequences which could have easily been edited out, and there are points that clearly show that the Revising Committee has also used scissors. A few sequences which we had seen in the trailer are missing from the film. Though the runtime of the movie is just 2 hours 19 minutes, it could have easily been shortened by at least 10-15 minutes by editing out not so important sequences. Indu is a poetess and there’s a sequence that hints that Kirti’s character will bring a change with her words, but then nothing like that happens (disappointing). Right from the beginning of the film, Indu’s poetic side has been given prominence in the film, but then, that goes haywire.
While we have spoken a lot about the not-so-impressive things in the movie, it’s not like there are no good elements in the film. As we said, the story is quite good, Madhur has also wonderfully crafted the characters in the movie, especially the character of Chief (Neil Nitin Mukesh). One glimpse at the actor and you know who his character is based on. However, Madhur has been very smart here, and has not named any of the characters of the political party. The confrontation sequences between Indu and her husband are amazingly directed, and are surely the highlight of the first half. Even the climax of the movie is quite impactful. The movie is set in the Emergency period, but the monologue of Indu in the climax is very relevant in today’s time too.
Kirti Kulhari has proved her mettle as an actress with films like ‘Shaitan’ and ‘PINK’, and ‘Indu Sarkar’ is just another feather in her cap. The actress is simply fantastic in the film. After Kirti, the one who steals the show is Neil Nitin Mukesh. His role can be credited as an extended cameo, but believe us, you really want to watch him more in the film. Watch out for his expressions in the song ‘Chadhta Sooraj’. As we have written earlier, the movie sometimes fails to keep the momentum up, but then as soon as a sequence of Neil or Kirti comes, the film just goes a notch higher. Tota Roy Chowdhury as Indu’s husband is also damn good in the film, and even Anupam Kher makes a mark. A special mention to Sheeba Chaddha who is amazing in her brief role. Well, talking about Supriya Vinod, she gets no scope in the film as we can clearly see that her role has been edited out. She just has two scenes that too without any dialogues. However, let us tell you that her look too will make you understand which real-life character she is playing.
Talking about the music, the track ‘Chadhta Sooraj’ surely takes the cake. Many people might feel that the song just came abruptly in the film, but then once the track starts you will come to know that it suits the situation wonderfully. Even the song, ‘Ye Awaaz Hai’ is quite good.
On the whole, Kirti Kulhari and Neil Nitin Mukesh are the saving grace of this half-baked Emergency drama of Madhur Bhandarkar.