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  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - December 30, 2013 2:45 PM IST
    2.8DM (306 ratings)

    Verdict - A complex issue is haphazardly handled.

    InkaarWatch trailerRelease date : January 18, 2013

    Sudhir Mishra's portrayal of contemporary issues which are usually delivered in a manner that reflect a conflict/understanding between certain societal classes (Think Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi, Chameli) is by and large done with a skillful sensitivity that exhibits genuine concern.

    The man has a portfolio of enviable titles that are strongly rooted with contemporary themes which among other things, also make for a great reflection of our times. He makes cinema that is challenging to critique, in terms of the ideology it represents.

    So one is rudely under-whelmed when Mishra employs an Asghar Farhadi-excelled tactic while borrowing an Aaron Sorkin-pioneered set-up.

    In Farhadi's A Separation, a splitting couple is forced to confront moralistic nightmares that demonstrate the almost indistinguishable subjectivity of truth. In Aaron Sorkin-written The Social Network, the narrative intercuts between three timelines, two of which are legal interrogations against the guy who revolutionized the way we would communicate.

    Mishra, if not flawlessly, but effectively makes use of both these ploys, but flatters when it comes to providing a satisfying resolution to a complex issue that he so boldly talks about. Work-place harassment in the prevailing corporate culture is a thriving reality, and also something that is immensely challenging to address.

    In Mishra's Inkaar, a woman has an affair with the company's top-brass and promptly climbs the success ladder, raising questions about her character and the means she used to reach the coveted chair.

    Instead of steadily focusing on the core problem - that of a certain prejudice attached when a woman is flourishing in her career and the subsequent abuse that in turn may prevent her from pursuing her ambitions, Mishra distracts you with an annoyingly stylized cinematography which is unexplainably sepia-toned. In a failed attempt to be non-judgmental about the central concern, Mishra doesn't address it at all, providing laughably ridiculous conclusions which would entirely turn-off a dynamic woman about to enter her professional life.

    His reading of gender-roles is often misguided, or quite stereotypical. He makes his leading lady fall in love with the man she sleeps with the first time they are out on an outdoor assignment. When the man shows an oh-it-was-only-a-fling kind of an attitude, Mishra quite literally makes the girl fall on her knees, making her trip over and over again, while weeping miserably all that time.

    When she has moved beyond that zone, and doing particularly well in the same advertising firm, the man in Rampal is baffled and at one instance, collapses. It suggests that how we still live in the times when the growing success of a woman becomes highly unbearable to the man she has had a relationship with, and so much that he gets a stroke.

    In these staunchly restrictive roles, it helps that Rampal and Chitrangada share a genuinely strong equation which makes us worry about both of them. Despite its sexism, Inkaar for a greater part leaves enough ambiguity for you to actually believe that Rampal may not be the sleaze after all. The rampant politics at work is sharply executed, but some of the lines are excruciatingly bad, and at times, unintentionally funny.

    Nonetheless, the film has got enough saucy content to keep you consistently engaged. Had it not been for the uninspired use of technique, Inkaar could have been elevated to a better standard. At least better than classifying it in the same bracket as a Bhandarkar soup.

    The camera movements are jarring, and oddly reminiscent of a scene from any of Ram Gopal Verma's nightmarish products, while the dialogue and the sexual puns are a result of typical Bhandarkar cases.

    In terms of performances, Arjun Rampal looks like he's saved his life from a zombie-house, but hasn't got entirely free from the after-effects. His expression remains unchanged most of the times. When he feels bored, he scowls with his eyebrows, or creates a forced air of seriousness. On the other hand, Singh, isn't flawlessly competent, but sustains the anxiety and frustration, the anguish and the helplessness with an identifiable persona.

    Inkaar could be lauded for raising a very grave concern - that of sexual harassment in an environment where the woman should be least worried about it, but it lacks the courage or the intelligence to take a thorough stand, and provides ridiculous solutions - one that doesn't solve the problem, but only neglects it.

    Trust the world Mr. Mishra, if running away was the answer, we'd all be tumbling over each other by now.

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