Banner: Bhandarkar Entertainment
Producers: Bharat Shah, Bhandarkar Entertainment
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Kirti Kulhari, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Anupam Kher
Writers: Madhur Bhandarkar, Sanjay Chhel and Anil Pandey
Music: Anu Malik
This political drama takes you back to the Emergency in 1975. It’s a time when the government ordinance declaring a state of Emergency holds the population virtually hostage. It is a time of forcible population control and when people are even shot for disobeying government orders.
The main protagonist of the film, Indu (Kriti Kulhari), makes an entry a few minutes into the movie. Indu is an orphan who suffers from a speech defect that makes her stammer. Due to this, no one wants to adopt her. She grows up in the orphanage and dreams of becoming a poet one day.
As the years go by, Indu is encouraged to forget her dream and to resign herself to becoming a good housewife. No one takes any interest in her but she meets Naveen Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury), a government employee who dreams of earning pots of money.
One day, she goes to Turkman Gate, where riots break out. Indu is stuck and injured. In the midst of the riots, she comes across two kids and takes them home. When her husband Naveen asks her to take the kids back to where she found them, she refuses and leaves the house. Eventually, the couple gets divorced.
Meanwhile, Indu acquaints herself with the problems people are facing due to the Emergency and meets social activists who are opposing the government. She eventually throws in her lot with a group of activists led by Nana (Anupam Kher). Then, there is the Chief or the villain in this political drama.
As the director of this film, Madhur Bhandarkar is in his element and has handled some of the scenes exceptionally well. Had the writers worked some more on the main characters in the film and made the story easier to understand, the result would have been another hard-hitting film from the National Award-winner. Detailing is always crucial to a period drama and it is good but nothing to write home about.
Another drawback is that the film is ‘too political’ and confusing if you’re not a history buff. And we’re guessing most movie-goers are not. Dialogue and the story itself could have been far better.
Another major drawback is that the characterisation of the Chief is weak. And if you are expecting to see more of Neil Nitin Mukesh, you’re going to be disappointed. Also, despite the backdrop of the Emergency, we get to see only a few glimpses of the then Prime Minister.
Performance-wise, Kriti Kulhari carries the entire film on her petite shoulders. She essays the role of Indu, stammering et al, exceptionally well and does full justice to her part. Sadly, a weak screenplay keeps the audience from connecting properly with her character. Neil Nitin Mukesh as the Chief is fantastic but has very little screen time. Tota Roy Chowdhury as Naveen Sarkar is a treat to watch. He is fabulous in his role. Anupam Kher has only a small part to play but delivers a decent performance. The rest of the cast does justice to their respective roles.
Verdict: Yet another daring attempt from Madhur Bhandarkar but he is let down by his writers