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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Indu Sarkar - A Review

Team Being Cynical
This is the first movie review that I have posted on my blog ever. And there are two simple reasons for this apathy. First thing, I am not a movie buff and very particular about the movies I watch. So in last year or so there aren’t many movies that I have watched in the first place. Second thing, there isn’t much to be written about our Bollywood except maybe incompetency and mediocrity. So staying away from watching mediocrity on celluloid and then taking the pain of writing a review on them is what I judiciously decided to abstain from. Indu Sarkar came here as an exception; no, the mediocrity level hasn’t gone away or improved by any means here, if you are concluding that way. It is the content and the alleged or rather promised storyline that made me watch the movie. And what made me write a review? Of course thanks to the ruckus and noise that followed leading up to the release of the movie which I now feel was totally unnecessary after watching the film.

Now moving on to the core business of this post. For starters, I would prefer to call the movie an average affair. In fact, my disliking for the Congress party could be a catalyst in putting it in the average bracket but if I be honest, I may very well put it in the ‘below average’ category. The era and the event on which the movie revolves around was always a dark secret in our democratic history. Most including me aren’t aware of the details. So the expectations even before purchasing the tickets were well set – may be, just maybe, Madhur Bhandarkar would pull a masterpiece from thin air and expose juicy stuffs about emergency that we aren’t aware of. But what I got instead? I went there to see some classical Test Bowling of the likes of Wasim Akram but what Mr. Bhandarkar offered me is Santhakumar Sreesanth instead. That is such a dampener right there.

The movie starts with a five minute long ‘disclaimer’ narrated in two different languages about everything the movie never had. I can’t recall in recent past if I have seen any movie that had its ‘declaimer’ read out at the slowest possible speed punctuating at every single word. As if the movie makers were suggesting us to scan through a dictionary, if required, and believe me there was enough time in-between words to do that even, to get the correct meaning/context of each of those words used before we are allowed to watch the movie. That is some high quality mess right there at the beginning. And as is the proverbial ‘morning shows the day’ seldom disappoints me. So the two hour long pain starts right after the word-play.

The first scene in the movie straightaway zooms into some nondescript Muslim ghetto in a failed attempt at highlighting the demon of forced vasectomy that was carried out during emergency. In fact every time the discussion about vasectomy came around in the movie it had a Muslim loitering around somewhere in the screen. That was like RK Laxman having his ‘common man’ in each of his cartoons. But then it is only the brilliance of Mr. Bhandarkar that can reduce the entire emergency era to vasectomy. Sadly Mr. Bhandarkar missed all other points that were matter of concerns during emergency and latched on to forced sterilization as if Sanjay Gandhi himself was flying around with a pair of scissors in his hands to do the needful. For me this one point approach in movie making describes that Mr. Bhandarkar and his team went about doing their job without much research and intent. Like many of us they based the movie on their imagination of the little they had heard of emergency and added the typical Bollywood mediocrity to fill the rest. I wish he had named the movie ‘Vasectomy’ which in hindsight would have made more sense.

Now coming to the acting part – well in want of a better word I will call it ‘horrendous’. Except Kirti Kulhari and Tota Roy Chowdhury rest all are unbearable. The last time I had similar unbearable feeling was when I attended the ‘Power Electronics’ classes in my engineering days. That said the girl seems to have come of age from her sundry TV advertisement days. Well for the rest, how about starting with Neil Nitin Mukesh? For the first time I saw him and his acting prowess or the lack of it, I had safely concluded that the only character this chap can do justice with his acting is that of a doorknob and I am not going to change that after seeing his performance in this particular movie. He still is a doorknob. His facial expressions in each of the scene he appeared could be a guideline for all the doctors to detect acute constipation in their patients first hand. I am not sure if he was asked to throw that expression every time the camera zoomed on him or in reality Sanjay Gandhi used wear that obnoxious facial expression all the time but what’s the take? If not for anything Congress chap must and should revolt for depicting one of their well protected leaders with a facial expression matching, well, again in want of a better example, a convoluted clitoris. But there is more fun to the Sanjay Gandhi character than just this weird facial maneuvers. It is not the skewed facial expression only that always accompanied the screen character of Sanjay Gandhi without fail. There were three other characters as well. They followed SG in each scene he appeared. I mean it gave an expression that Sanjay Gandhi used to take Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler and Rukhsana Shultana wherever he went, except may be while visiting the loo. And the three people who appeared in these three characters had nothing to offer except smirking like idiots and smiling as inappropriately as one can. It again takes me back to my engineering days as I can correlate with the very shameless smile that we too used to wear after being thrown out of our classes for no reason. Except the woman’s character (barring couple of times) the other two never even had a single dialog to them. I am sure those two gentlemen aren’t going to tell their grandkids that they ever acted in a movie called ‘Indu Sarkar’ because there was no acting for them to begin with. May be, which I am not quite aware; it could be a habit of Congress party to have a Manmohan Singh in each era and Kamal Nath and Jadish Tytler were the MMS of the emergency time who were strategically placed there to stay put like logs and mindlessly smirk at regular and pre-scheduled intervals. Who knows, Mr. Bhandarkar might have pulled this secret out with his movie making.

Another thing that the movie tries to expose desperately is the lethargic technical team that worked behind the camera. The movie was edited the worst way possible. I am not sure of the technicalities but as a viewer I found no connection between the scenes that followed one-another. Mr. Bhandarkar just jumped abruptly from one thing to another in an attempt to complete the movie. The manner he let lose the Sanjay Gandhi character on the gullible audience without any warning appeared whole lot inconsequential. I may blame our overzealous film certification authorities and their last minute cuts that may have left Mr. Bhandarkar with no time to make the cuts appears non-noticeable but still it was a highly unprofessional job in whichever way you look at it. The scene where he lets the husband of Indu Sarkar commit suicide has no value addition to the movie. As if Mr. Bhadarkar was asking himself – an entire movie and not a single accidental death? Let this Naveen Sarkar commit suicide for fun. As is the poor chap and his character was rendered redundant after his fiery scene where he was seen thrashing couple of Vasectomy touts black and blue for suggesting him to go under the surgeon’s knife in exchange of 125 rupees and a bottle of Deshi Ghee. Desi Ghee, Mr Bhandarkar? Where you got this little cute detail? Or is it another of your great research work on the content that led you to this marvel?

For me the only takeaway from the movie is the line – “Aur Aap Log Jindegi Bhar Maa Beton Ki Ghulami Karte Rahenge”. It’s an irony that the line fitted to the ‘Darbaris’ of the grand old party back then and it still fits today for all practical purpose. More than going for an episodic outrage the servile ‘Congressi’ must ponder on this line and see how pathetically predictable they are since last forty odd years.

All-in-all I would give the movie a thumbs down 3 out of 5 and trust me I am being totally generous here. That said I still want to give the benefit of doubt to Mr. Bhandarkar. To be fair emergency is too big and complicated a thing for anyone to capture the real essence in a two hour long movie. 

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