Watch this film for Arjun Rampal’s performance, Chitrangda Singh’s striking screen presence and Sudhir Mishra’s unquestionable mastery over his craft
Within the first 10 minutes you hear the word sexual harassment and you know that director Sudhir Mishra has already got to the focal point of his riveting drama Inkaar without keeping the narration of the story simplistically linear.
And yet, as the narrative unfolds, you realise that the film – starring Chitrangda Singh and Arjun Rampal in the lead roles – is not just about sexual harassment at work place. In fact, there is much more to this captivating drama. Situations and characters in Mishra’s production are indeed never segregated into blacks and whites; they are always grey and very often much more complex.
In this tale, you get two contradictory points of views narrated by Arjun and Chitrangda’s characters. While the former claims that the lady in question has used her sexual charm to move up the corporate ladder, the latter maintains that she is being sexually harassed and denied the power she rightfully deserves just because she is a fiercely competitive woman. So whose story would you believe, and how do you find out who is fabricating the story to save a flourishing career? Is there something more to this grey drama where the two super-ambitious, incredibly driven, intelligent individuals are crossing the line to achieve the end result with consummate passion?
The CEO of a leading advertising agency Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) takes the spunky Maya Luthra (Chitrangda Singh) under his gracious wings after discovering that the sizzling beauty is gifted with a raw talent which needs refinement. Rahul guides Maya. He tutors her and practically nurtures her to get to the post of the national creative head in the same organisation. The two come too close for comfort on their business tour abroad. What follows is a narrative filled with intrigue, drama, contradictions, conflicts, and more importantly, plurality of thoughts and views fuelled by their ambitions and ulterior motives.
Mishra takes you back and forth as he narrates a beautifully layered story with clinical precision and incredible tautness. As Maya cries of sexual harassment and Rahul denies her claims, Mishra intensifies the drama by giving some overlapping, but consistently balanced and believable viewpoints. He tries to draw the dividing line where flirting stops and sexual harassment begins, and also sheds light on the power equation that can turn an innocuous act into a potentially harming situation. He also questions how far we can go, in today’s age of fierce competition – in the name of professionalism – to achieve a distant dream that contradicts our moral values and leaves us emotionally hollow and vulnerable. All these things and more make Inkaar a must watch!
As for the performances, Chitrangda is delicious to look at. She moves dramatically from an effervescent small town girl filled with impossible ambitions in her heart to the commanding leader in the cut-throat corporate set-up. Her expressive eyes and seamless body movements synchronise with amazing fluidity, as she displays a range of emotions with conviction. But the real surprise here is Arjun Rampal who is both stunning and sensuous with his arresting screen presence and incredible restraint. Arjun has certainly grown from strength to strength in the last five years, and with this film, he makes a solid impact. If Rock On!! can fetch him the National Award, then this role should easily get him an Oscar nomination!
A special mention here for Dipti Naval and Vipin Sharma of Taare Zameen Par fame. If Naval brings a lot of dignity to the plot with her character, Vipin Sharma eases the tension of this gripping tale with his unmistakable micro emotions and those witty one-liners. Shantanu Moitra’s music does full justice to the storyline.
In a nutshell, Inkaar arrests your attention with brilliant performances from its actors, sharp editing, excellent screenplay and director Sudhir Mishra’s ability to tell a compelling story with an urge to drive home a solid point. Don’t deny yourself this cinematic treat!
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Reviewed by Prathamesh Jadhav
**** Very good