Indu Sarkar - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

Intertwining stories of Indu Sarkar, the protagonist and Indira's sarkar leave the movie neither here nor there.

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Wogma Review

There are a few ways to think of Indu Sarkar. One as a story of a woman who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and that too during one of the most suppressive times of independent India – a coming-of-age movie of sorts. Another could be a historical documentation of the 1975 emergency that uses the story of this woman as a narrative tool. And yet another is a not-so subtle, hint-hint-nudge-nudge comment calling out similarities between people from the “democratic” governments, then and now, who want to control the common man. The problem is that this is not through the viewer's interpretation; the film is actually trying to do all three together.

This is evident from the word go, the pun in the name of the film itself is mildly amusing. The story unfolds in fits and starts. One of the main reasons for that feeling is that the scenes linger way too long to let the drama build or the trauma sink in. But, as is usually so when there is a pause for contemplation, the audience has checked out from the film to check their phones.

Thankfully, dialogue does interrupt the long pauses. But the relief is only brief because the lines are either too filmy, repetitive or are to spoon-feed the audience. For instance, showing an elderly man and a little boy being taken in for sterilization is not enough, their ages are actually called out. Or the comparison of a goddess with the reigning lady prime minister in a poem is actually explained. In that sense, the writers are smart. But they don't want to risk it going unnoticed thus making their effort counter-productive.

As for the repetition, I never understand it when films show the planning of an event and its execution in great detail or when it shows the event and then a character recall the entire thing. Just in case you are wondering, Indu Sarkar is guilty of both.

It is interesting that the timeline in the film was guided through film posters, making the Hindi film industry an important witness to what was going on in the nation. I actually remembered watching films like Upkaar and Namak Haraam as a child that had a similar tone as Indu Sarkar. The importance of the Hindi film world is even exemplified with the common man uniting over a Kishore Kumar song.

As far as the music goes, I liked the rendition of 'chadhta suraj', I liked that the original wasn't tinkered around with much. The background score gets overwhelming at times and stays in the background at others. The sepia tone gives the film the grim look it wants to carry.

That leaves us with the performances. Indu Sarkar, the protagonist, carries the rebellion against the emergency on her shoulders and Kirti Kulhari, the actor does the same for Indu Sarkar, the film. Neil Nitin Mukesh seems menacing. For the first 5 seconds. After that he just seems grumpy and then it all falls apart when he pauses at the wrong places. Tota Roy Chowdhury is the only one who seems to be in complete control of his character.

Despite all its shortcomings, I didn't mind the subject approached. Better getting excited about a film on the subject and being disappointed than not to have a film on the subject at all.

Today, I saw two films that are lesser known chapters in Indian history – one from 40+ years ago and the other from 70+ years ago. Irrespective of the quality of the films and their accuracy, compared to those times and the sacrificers the generations before us made to just survive, we live in superbly liberated times. I wonder what a film 30-40 years later about today's times would look like. Would it feel like they are living in better times than now? I surely hope they don't think our live were like the third film I saw today. shudder

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Police beating people up to evacuate land, police torture
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Frequent talk about sterilization.
  • Concept: A story of a rebel during Emergency of 1975
  • General Look and Feel: A grim, sepia state of affairs.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director:
  • Lyrics:

Indu Sarkar - Movie Details

Indu Sarkar - Trailer

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