Indu’s husband, a government employee, believes in using the state of Emergency to advance his career, but a moral and ideological discrepancy sets her on a own path.
REVIEW: Madhur Bhandarkar seems to be taking calculated baby steps back to the time when he insisted on telling real stories as opposed to making superficial subjects seem real.
To this end, he even breaks with his usual formula of attacking and “unmasking” a particular industry and roots Indu’s (Kirti Kulhari) fictitious tale in the factual setting of the state of Emergency that the country was shrouded in from 1975 to 1977.
Indu, an introverted orphan who stutters, finds a companion in Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury), who is the first person to look beyond her speech impediment and ask her what she wants from life. She only finds the answer to his question after their wedding, when she sees him in cahoots with the ministers who bend the rules to benefit from the Emergency. The moral conundrum pushes her into a life of rebellion and forces her to part with her hard-earned normalcy.
The movie presents a fairly irregular account of the 19 months of Emergency in hurried montages. The party leaders are overtly villainous and members of the rebellious Himmat India Sangathan (including Indu) are overwhelmingly righteous; Bhandarkar fails to achieve political neutrality. Another issue is the film’s dialogue by Sanjay Chhel; some fantastic lines get lost in throwaway scenes and clichs like, “gareebon ko jeene ka haq nahi hai?” take prominence. Halfway through the movie, when you’re just getting used to the pace, a surprise qawwali jumps at you and throws you off.
However, Indu Sarkar is at its best when it focuses on its protagonist’s emotional struggles and dilemmas, leaving the politics behind. Indu and Navin’s story by itself is far more palatable than the elaborate political schemes surrounding them. Kirti Kulhari shoulders the responsibility of the central role with a lot of earnestness and keeps you interested. Tota Roy Chowdhury makes for a good foil to Indu.
With Indu Sarkar, Bhandarkar drops most gimmicks and turns the page. But he is still far from Page 3