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Inkaar review: Mishra's latest makes a mockery of sexual harassment

Movie:
Inkaar
Director:
Sudish Mishra
Cast:
Chitrangada Singh, Arjun Rampal, Deepti Naval
Avg user rating:
What’s the point of the film you wonder, feeling a bit cheated towards the end. The promos promised a tale woven around the sticky, serious topic of sexual harassment. But in addition to trivializing the subject, the film doesn’t take even its characters seriously. Indeed, the film is nothing but a well-packaged, very good-looking film much like slick ad campaigns our protagonists conjure.

An ad agency honcho, Rahul (Arjun Rampal) takes newbie Maya (Chitrangda Singh) under his wing. He mentors her and she’s a quick learner— perhaps too quick for his liking. As their relationship turns to sex and then fizzles out, the former lovers turn fierce competitors. And when the sexual harassment case is slapped by Maya, a school teacher-like mediator (Deepti Naval) is brought in. Much like the storytelling style in Hollywood film The Social Network, we watch the story told through flashbacks interspersed with each side telling their version of the story.

Intermittently, we are engaged, as we are thrown into a world where sexual politics merges dangerously into murky office politics. You wonder how guilty Rahul is and you find that he is, but the film wants us to let him go scot-free. Several characters from the film remind Maya how she can slap a sexual harassment case, when she earlier willingly slept with him. Shown as a talented, ambitious professional, one wonders why director Sudhir Mishra chose to make her so weak—weak enough to make a boyfriend out of a man she doesn’t love, weak enough to consider using sex as a tool to take revenge.

Then you have dialogues like, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ and ‘What is wrong with you women, why are you so irrational’, and another that says that women are too emotional to hold senior management positions in companies. The finale is a messy cop-out.

The very talky film will disappoint those who, led by the promos, came to the film looking for titillation. On the other hand, those looking for an arresting drama that seriously explores sexual harassment will also be unhappy. What saves the film are the performances and the sizzling chemistry between the pair. Perfectly cast, Arjun Rampal and Chitrangda Singh have what it takes to make these very urbane characters come alive. Unfortunately the writing doesn’t do these characters justice.

The film has taken an important subject and turned it into slush. In the end the film is a mockery of sexual harassment, of love, of the ad fraternity and of professionalism. Too bad, really.

Rating: Two stars

 

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