‘Indu Sarkar’ movie review By G9 Divya Solgama

Expectations: If we look back into the history of India, there was a time when our country went through the Emergency period from 1975 to 1977. It was that time’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had declared the state of emergency which was officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. The Prime Minister had authority to rule by newly set laws and all her political opponents were imprisoned along with censorship of the press and media. Along with these political agendas, forced mass-sterillisation
The campaign was headed by Sanjay Gandhi making this phase one of the most controversial phase of Indian political history. The phase had also affected our Hindi films, which resulted into forced editing in films like ‘Sholay’, ‘Ram Balram’ and many other big films. Also, films like ‘Aandhi’, ‘Kissa Kursi Ka’, ‘Nasbandi’ and few more were banned from public viewing. It’s said that the original print of ‘Kissa Kursi Ka’ was burned by Sanjay Gandhi and his associates as it was a spoof on the emergency. Many other filmmakers from various languages tried keeping this phase in the background of their films, including Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’. This movie used the Emergency phase as right backdrop for its story and tried to narrate some untold tales in it. Director Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest film ‘Indu Sarkar’ also has Emergency as it’s backdrop, due to which loads of controversies are surrounded around the film and its release. Many organizations wanted to stall the release of this movie as they feared that the director might show their leaders in a bad light. Thus, let’s find out whether ‘Indu Sarkar’ will manage to showcase the real tale behind the dark curtains of the Emergency phase or might end up being among all those films which try to cash in over its one liner controversial theme.

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Story: ‘Indu Sarkar’ is a story set in the times of the Emergency period in India. The movie narrates a tale of Indu (Kirti Kulhari), an orphan who has a stammering problem and loves writing poems. Indu gets married to Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury), a government offer who is fulfilling his dreams by supporting important ministers. One day Indu gets stuck into a rehabilitation of a slum area and rescues two kids from the police firings. She brings those kids into her home due to which she ends up fighting with Navin. Navin does not want these kids in his house as it could tarnish his political ambitions. Indu tries hard to find parents of those kids and later comes to know about their death, which occurred due to bad administration of government and its workers like Navin. Indu decides to keep those kids with her due to which Navin asks her to leave his house. This leads to a new phase in Indu’s life and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.

Screenplay & Technical Details: The story related to Kirti’s character is interesting. The stories related to Emergency phase are good, but not in full detail. The movie starts with a hard hitting scene of forced mass-sterillisation followed by the development of Kirti’s character. This track is interesting and has been presented in a proper manner. There are some good scenes such as Kirti getting rejections due to her stammering problems, Kirti’s meet with Tota Roy Chowdhury, Neil Nitin Mukesh’s entry scene with his associates discussing the five point agenda followed by Kirti getting stuck in the slum riots, Kirti’s tiff with Tota over kids and a few more which will keep you highly engaged in the first half of the film. Sadly, the second half of the film goes on a dragging mode with repetitive scenes and less detailing of political happenings related to Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi (not to forget their names have not been mentioned in the film). The viewers are left with all the alienated words related to Emergency phase. There should have been more detailing in these parts of the film. Nevertheless, the protest scene followed by Anupam Kher’s escape part and Kirti’s statement in the finale are worth cherishing in the second half of the film. There is one scene which displays Supriya Vinod as Indira Gandhi and it’s at that time you will curse our censorship and politicians for deleting major part of her’s from the film. After a great built-up the second half fails to match up to the mammoth expectations. The cinematography is good and goes well with the flow of the film. The minute details attached to the film are fantastic. Dialogues by Sanjay Chhel are hard hitting and up to the mark.

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Music: The background music is powerful and goes well with the film. Usage of Aziz Nazan’s popular Qawwali ‘Chadta Sooraj Dheere Dheere’ is rightly placed in the film.

Direction: Director Madhur Bhandarkar is known for many hard-hitting films like ‘Page 3’, ‘Chandni Bar’, ‘Fashion’ and others. Sadly, his last few films lacked the intensity especially ‘Calendar Girls’. The good news is that ‘Indu Sarkar’ is much better film than his last few films but is again nowhere in comparison to his great films. Nevertheless Madhur breaks his stereo styling and delivers something different and unlike what he has been making. Full marks to him for coming up with such a daring subject and presenting it with full detailing. Sadly, the censorship and political issues dilute the intensity of the film due to which the movie ends up being an above average type of film. If only this ace director would have got his free hand, the impact of ‘Indu Sarkar’ would have been mind-blowing.

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Performances: Kirti Kulhari is amazingly outstanding in this film. She looks beautiful and carries her character with total grace. Neil Nitin Mukesh looks fantastic in his character. His devilish eyes are something to watch out. Tota Roy Chowdhury is good in some scenes while in others overacts. Anupam Kher, Surpriya Vinod and others are fine in their small part.

Final Verdict: On an overall basis, ‘Indu Sarkar’ is a mild tale from the forbidden times which could have been a hard-hitting tale. The movie is decent with good performances, direction and some effortful writing in the first half of the film. The second half lacks the hard-hitting factor which I assume might have been majorly toned down due to censor and political pressures. If that’s true, then it’s quite sad as the ghost of the monarchy still haunts and we hope that one day someone might finally reveal the horrifying happenings related to Emergency.

Rating – 3/5 [Source- Bollywood Times]