Indu Sarkar Movie Review: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Kirti Kulhari And A Thrilling Second Half Make This Madhur Bhandarkar Film Exciting
There are a couple of scenes in the first half of Indu Sarkar where Neil Nitin Mukesh announces loud and clear that he is THE chief, especially in the times of emergency. That pretty much sets the stage for how Madhur Bhandarkar would be narrating the tale of Indu Sarkar which is told from the eyes of Kirti Kulhari but tells the story of how emergency was scripted by the character enacted by Neil. As long as the film sticks to this conflict, it stays on to be largely engrossing and that ensures that you look wide eyed at the proceedings.
However, while this is the factor that keeps you interested in the proceedings as the era of national emergency is narrated in front of an audience which has been largely unaware of what truly inspired four decades ago, it is the personal life of Indu that slows the film down, especially in the first half. While the back-story of Indu is relatively short and still makes for an okay viewing, if not extremely exciting, the entire chain of events where Indu brings two homeless kids home is over extended. Yes, it is pivotal to the film's core plotline since it changes the life and times of the central protagonist (Indu), the turn of events and quite a few sequences that lead to interval point makes one wonder aloud about the core plot.
This is the reason why you love what Madhur Bhandarkar has to offer in the second half since it totally changes the graph of the film. From being an emotional drama centered on Kirti and her husband (Tota Roy Chowdhury), the film takes a thrilling turn. Stepping in of Anupam Kher on the scene, the plan that is hatched in order to reach out to the international process, the conspiracy that follows, the frustration that looms large on Neil Nitin Mukesh - each of this makes for an engaging watch. The best of the lot is the episode set towards the pre-climax where Parveen Dabas gets on to the trail of senior activist leader (Anupam Kher) that leads him to Shiela, a popular single screen theater in Delhi. With a retro feel to it, this is very well done by Bhandarkar.
The climax appears a bit sudden though and while the court proceedings are kept to the point, one would have expected a bit more drama in there. Perhaps the filmmaker wanted to keep it all realistic instead of making it come across as overtly filmy. Moreover, somehow one feels that the character played by Neil Nitin Mukesh could have enjoyed more scenes towards the end. More so since the actor is terrific in the film and gives his best performance ever since his debut flick Johnny Gaddaar. He is simply superb, right from mannerisms to body language to expressions - he is brilliant in each of his five scenes.
Kirti Kulhari had a tough part to enact since she had to play it all subtle without going overboard. Moreover, she had to stammer as well and that was a thin line to walk as it can border on overacting or boring. However, she doesn't allow that to happen. Tota Roy reminds one of the kind of role that Rishi Kapoor had in Damini and he is effective. Anupam Kher is as usual and reliable. Zakir Hussain (as the senior cop) is menacing yet real. The actor playing the senior minister is very good and this is one of his meatiest part till date.
The film too is meaty especially when it gets into the details of the emergency. Though one does get a feeling that at places Madhur Bhandarkar has held himself a bit from going all the way in terms of exposing the depth of the emergency era, you are still excited enough to see some of the key chapters of the times gone by.