Indu Sarkar is an Indian political thriller film released on 28th July 2017. It’s co-written, co-produced and directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. The film’s storyline is based in the timeframe around 1975-1977 when the Indira Gandhi Govt. had imposed emergency on the entire nation. The story revolves around the turn of events in that era. The lead star cast includes Kirti Kulhari, Tota Roy Choudhury, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Anupam Kher.
This film is the story of Indu Sarkar, played by Kirti Kulhari, who is an orphan suffering from stammering. Indu becomes Indu Sarkar after she gets married to Naveen Sarkar played by Tota Roy Choudhury, a highly placed official at the Center. Soon after they get married, emergency is imposed and the plot revolves around that.
First of all, we must give 3 cheers to Madhur for attempting to make a movie on such bold a theme as the Emergency, which is generally looked upon as a dark era in independent India, wherein reportedly large scale violation of human rights was initiated by the Govt. at power in an almost fascist fashion. Not to mention, infamous mass sterilization program initiated under Sanjay Gandhi’s supervision. Subservience to him and his mother was such high that there was no one to speak against them. And for, Madhur, to pick up such a topic in itself is a bold step.
Next, we must also give him full marks for the detailing that he has done in recreating an era 40 years back, more so, because in those 40 years, dramatic and drastic changes have taken place in India. From the number plates of cars, to the landline phones, to the movie posters being displayed, everything pertains to that era, even the dresses and the ambiance of parties. A lot of time and effort has been spent on recreating that era and showing it almost accurate.
However, the movie plot moves ahead very slowly. Too much emphasis is laid on the personal life of Indu Sarkar which does not seem to have much relevance with the actual plot. And let me bring in the spoiler, the actual plot is not that of the emergency (though the ill-effects of the emergency have been shown at multiple places including reference to the infamous MISA Act).
The actual plot is very commonplace fight between the corporates and the poor, which has already been shown in many movies including some by Madhur himself. There are passing references to emergency with the mention of the names like JP, RSS, etc. however many real names which should have been taken are shielded including ministerial portfolios. The projection of IB officers also looks flimsy.
The screenplay appears very confused as its pace varies dynamically from a very slow scene to a fast paced action scene or drama. And the story clarity is lacking as it oscillates between taking a dig at the Govt. which passed the Emergency and the emergence of Indu Sarkar who dares to take a stand against the mother-son duo as she refers in one dialogue – “tum log bas maa-bete ki gulaami karte rehna” (you people continue to remain slaves to mother-son duo).
The suicide by Indu Sarkar’s husband, Naveen Sarkar has been underplayed and it was largely motivated by the fact that he was driven to it under the ill-advice of sending a divorce notice in the hope that their separation would end and Indu, being a woman would not want a divorce. Reinforcement of this conservative mindset could have been avoided. The unnecessary jig taken at Mahabharata also appeared superficial and melodramatic because Indu’s divorce was already in process at that time.
Overall, we must congratulate Madhur for attempting to make a movie on Emergency and bringing to light the state sponsored crime had engulfed India’s fate at that time but this film could have been a very well made film with a stronger storyline and a tighter script. The story lacked elements and that’s where the film’s grip loosens.
Acting wise, Kirti Kulhari and Tota Roy Choudhary have given their best. Waiting to see more of both of them as they have put in commendable efforts to essay the roles offered to them. Needless to say Anupam Kher is brilliant as usual and Neil Nitin Mukesh offers a refreshing change as a conniving fascist politician son.
Overall, I would give a rating of 2.5 to this movie, because when it’s Madhur, we expect magic and the film certainly lacked magic.
This review has been contributed by our Guest reviewer