INKAAR review


Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Tipping Point Films’ Inkaar (UA) is about sexual harassment at the workplace. Maya (Chitrangda Singh), who works in a leading advertising agency, K.K. Doyle, files a sexual harassment case against Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) who is her senior and her mentor.

Rahul is the CEO of K.K. Doyle and sees a lot of potential in Maya. He takes her under his wings and trains her till she becomes very good at her work. Rahul and Maya get very close to one another and have physical relations too. Both seem to be in love with each other. The owners of the ad agency, John (Jan Bostock) and K.K. (Kaizaad Kotwal), give Maya a promotion and make her the national creative director and also take her on the board of directors. Rahul feels, Maya has had to grant John sexual favours for the promotion and, obviously, resents this. On her part, Maya is upset with Rahul when he gets too close to a model he is shooting with.

One day, Maya files a case against Rahul for sexually harassing her at the workplace. Mrs. Kamdar (Dipti Naval), who is associated with an NGO, heads the commitee which is appointed to look into the case. Other committee members are co-workers of Rahul and Maya.

As the investigation begins, it is revealed step by step that Rahul and Maya were madly in love with each other. While it is not clear whether Rahul was serious about Maya, it is very clear that Maya had more or less found a life partner in Rahul. Kavita (Sujata Segal) from the commitee is convinced that Maya has a case but Gupta (Vipin Sharma) and Nimmi (Shivani Tanksale) are supportive of Rahul and feel, Maya’s case is baseless.

Both, Maya and Rahul, argue their case in front of the committee. Meanwhile, the company is impatient and wants the case to be closed because it might have an adverse effect on the business.

Mrs. Kamdar, after hearing both the sides, is unable to arrive at a decision about who is right and who is wrong. She is in favour of a more in-depth enquiry but in the meantime, Maya is consulting a lawyer, advocate Rajni Mathur (Mahabanoo Mody-Kot­wal).

What happens thereafter? Who is ultimately proved right? Did Rahul actually sexually harass Maya? Or was Maya’s case false?

Manoj Tyagi’s story is novel in the sense that thus far, one has seen films with sexual harassment being a sub-plot rather than the main plot. Sudhir Mishra and Manoj Tyagi’s screenplay has its plus points (few) and minus points (many). The biggest plus point is that the tension between Maya and Rahul is suitably built. The drama is narrated in a way that Rahul and Maya present their sides of the story at regular intervals in quick succession one after the other, clarifying each point of the accusation/counter-accusation. In that sense, the drama builds up in a way that the audience waits for the outcome – was Maya really harassed sexually by Rahul, or was she bluffing?

On the flip side – and this is a big minus point – the audience’s sympathy hardly ever goes to Maya so completely that she would be considered a victim by them. In other words, Maya does not come across as somebody who has been victimised. And in a film in which a girl has filed a sexual harassment case against her senior, it can never appeal to the viewer till she is made to look like a victim. Because Maya willingly had physical relations with Rahul, her complaint, for a good part of the film, would seem – for the Indian audience – to be a case of a love affair gone wrong. One must not forget that even today, a large chunk of the audience in India thinks in a very orthodox fashion and views a girl who has sex before marriage as one who can­not be sympathised with.

If the aforementioned are major weaknesses of the screenplay, the last part of the drama is another very big minus point because it gives the viewer the feeling that the writers have taken a very easy route to resolve the complex situation. In fact, it can be said without revealing the climax, that a good part of the audience will, in the end, feel that the drama was much ado about nothing. The film repeatedly oscillating between the present times and the past (going into flashback) will also confuse the audience.

All in all, the screenplay would app­eal to a thin section of the class audience but it has very little for the masses. The film, therefore, has the potential to be understood and enjoyed by one small section of the audience in the big cities only. Frankly, the jargon used in advertising agencies (copywriting, client’s account etc.) itself is a put-off for many viewers from smaller towns.

Dialogues (Sudhir Mishra and Manoj Tyagi) are quite nice.

Arjun Rampal does quite well but his performance is uni-dimensional. He is unable to give his character different shades, which would have add­ed layers to his performance. Chitrangda Singh is also fairly nice but could have been better. Dipti Naval goes through her role with understanding but there is nothing substantial she gets to do. Sujata Segal performs ably in the role of Kavita. Vipin Sharma, in the role of Gupta, is natural as ever. Kaizaad Kotwal (as K.K.) and Jan Bostock (as John) lend good support. Shivani Tanksale (as Nimmi), Mohan Kapur (as Paul) and Kanwaljit Singh (as Rahul’s father) are effective. Rehana Sultan (as Maya’s mother), Asheesh Kapur (as Praful), Saurabh Shukla, Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Sandeep Sachdev (as Tarun), Jeet­endra Bhargava, Gaurav Dwivedi (as Atul), Mithun Rodwittiya (as Jamshed) and Jai Prakash Mishra (in the role of the boss of Rahul’s father) lend ordinary support. Viveck Vaswani is pretty good. Others are average.

Sudhir Mishra’s direction is good but his subject and narrative style will appeal only to a minority (class) audience. Shantanu Moitra’s music is very nice. The ‘Maula’ song is the best. ‘Darmiyaan’, ‘Zindagi ka karobaar’ and ‘Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai’ are also good numbers. Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics are rich. Sachin Krishn’s camerawork is alright. Gautam Sen’s sets are appropriate. Editing (Archit D. Rastogi) is sharp enough.

On the whole, Inkaar is too class-appealing and ordinary a fare and its dull climax is its weakest point. It will leave the viewers dissatisfied. It holds appeal for a thin section of the class audience but that will not be enough.

Plus points:

1. New subject

2. Interesting build-up

Minus points:

1. Girl doesn’t appear to be a victim

2. Rather than a story about sexual harassment, it looks like a love affair gone wrong

3. Climax is poor


About komalreviews

Am a film trade analyst, hence my reviews are from the box-office point of view
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5 Responses to INKAAR review

  1. i loved the trailer and the way the scenes are composed,, would surely give it a shot!!

  2. Abhijith says:

    Please put ratings for the movies…

  3. Dilep maurya says:

    Komal sir, plz tell about DEEWANA MAIN DEEWANA.

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