Mega Bollywood Pvt. Ltd. and Bhandarkar Entertainment’s Indu Sarkar (UA) is a fictional human drama set against the backdrop of the Emergency declared by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975.
Indu (Kirti Kulhari) is an orphan raised in an orphanage. She stammers while speaking and, therefore, lacks self-confidence. Prospective grooms reject her because of her stammering problem. But Naveen Sarkar (Totaroy Chowdhry) meets her, likes her and marries her. While Indu is simple at heart, Naveen is a go-getter who wants to earn a lot of money and lead a luxurious life. He is a government servant and is very close to minister Om Nath (Satyajeet Sharma). He knows that if he works to the satisfaction of the minister, he will be able to climb the ladder of success fast.
One day, the ruling Congress government declares Emergency in the country. Atrocities on common men and exploitation of the poor increase manifold, all in the name of the Emergency. Indu is disturbed by the sufferings of the people but husband Naveen chides her for speaking, even in private, against the government and the Emergency.
One day, Indu brings home two poor kids who were separated from their parents while a whole colony of hutments and shanties was being demolished by irresponsible officers. Naveen doesn’t approve of this as he is very particular about not antagonising anyone in the ruling party. He asks Indu to leave the kids at some camp but Indu doesn’t have the heart to leave the little siblings unattended. She continues keeping them at her home. Then, one day, she gets the news that the parents of the kids had been murdered and they had been declared Naxalites. Naveen throws a fit that two children of Naxalites were at his home. Exasperated, he asks Indu to choose between him and the home on the one hand and the two children on the other. Indu walks out of the house with the kids.
She starts life afresh with social activist Mekhla (Sheeba Chadha) who is part of an underground movement, Hamara India, which is involved in exposing the atrocities perpetrated on the public by the government in the name of the Emergency. Before she knows it, Indu also becomes a part of the underground outfit. Meanwhile, Naveen initiates divorce proceedings which Indu does not resist.
All hell breaks loose when one day, Indu and her colleagues of Hamara India shout slogans and throw pamphlets against the Emergency, in front of visiting foreign delegates. Minister Om Nath recognises Indu. Under pressure from his chief (Neil Nitin Mukesh), Om Nath dismisses Naveen from work.
Soon, Indu is arrested while trying to ensure group leader Nana Pradhan’s (Anupam Kher) escape. She is produced in court alongwith her other arrested colleagues. In court, Indu raises her voice against the government so effectively that the tremors are felt in the corridors of power.
Anil Pandey and Madhur Bhandarkar have written a story which puts up a human drama against a political backdrop. They have ensured to balance the two very well so that the film does not become a mere historical. It rather becomes an interesting and engaging drama. The duo’s screenplay is engrossing. It is about an underdog’s victory and, therefore, holds appeal for the viewers. Of course, the screenplay holds appeal only for the class audience as not many among the masses may be interested in going back in time to 1975. Again, since the Hamara India movement believes in non-violent methods of revolt, the masses would not be able to sympathise with the same. Another minus point is that matters seem very simplified for the revolting group. Sanjay Chhel’s dialogues are inspired and weighty.
Kirti Kulhari performs splendidly in the title role. Her stammering act is excellent. She deserves to be praised for acting so beautifully. Totaroy Chowdhry puts in an admirably restrained performance as Naveen Sarkar. Neil Nitin Mukesh is effective as Chief, a character designed on Sanjay Gandhi. Satyajeet Sharma shines as minister Om Nath. Anupam Kher leaves a mark as Nana Pradhan. Sheeba Chadha is natural to the core in the role of Mekhla. Manav Vij does a fine job as police officer Sodhi. Ankur Vikal makes his presence suitably felt as Shivam. Zakir Hussain (as Mishra) and Mohan Kapur (as Sahani) lend very able support. Parvin Dabas is good in a special appearance. Rashmi Jha, Supriya Vinod, Jashn Agnihotri, Ishika Taneja, Bikramjeet Kanwarpal, Mujtaba Aziz Nazan and the rest lend able support.
Madhur Bhandarkar’s direction is inspired. Anu Malik’s music goes very well with the film’s mood. Lyrics (by Puneet Sharma and Sanjay Chhel) are impactful. Adil Shaikh and Longines Fernandes’ choreography in the ‘Chadhta sooraj’ and ‘Delhi ki raat’ songs respectively is alright. Amar Mohile’s background score is dramatic. Keiko Nakahara’s cinematography is eye-catching. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes are realistic. Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s production designing is lovely. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is crisp.
On the whole, Indu Sarkar is an effective period drama meant only for the classes and it should do well in the good multiplexes of the cities only. However, given its dull start, that won’t be enough as it has to face the opposition of Mubarakan this week and of at least one big and/or star-cast film every week thereafter.