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Upperstall Review





Hindi, Action, Thriller, 2013, Color

At one of India's leading ad agencies, the battle for the top job between Rahul (Arjun Rampal), a venerated advertising CEO, and Maya (Chitrangda Singh) his ambitious protege takes a dramatic turn when she files a sexual harassment complaint against him. Now its the job of the committee set up by the agency to hear both sides of the story and work through the layers of lies and accusations to find out who's really telling the truth and who's lying. The stakes are high because only of one them will walk away with their reputation intact and get the top job...

Inkaar is a film that is not only all muddled up but it also confuses one at the end what quite to make of it and what was really the point of it all especially after the cop out ending. However, one has no such doubts in certain aspects when it comes to having to write this review - the film fails to work, does not engage one at all after an interesting enough beginning (thanks to The Social Network) and is further let down by some distracting camerawork, patchy editing and particularly the weak acting by the leads, good though they make look.

Enough has been said and sniggered at in the twitter and face book world by those in advertising about the depiction of the agency, the lousy but supposedly creative campaigns shown within the film and the job profiles of the CEO and the National Creative Director - but even giving the film cinematic liberty and getting past that, unfortunately, the main story flounders. Though the movie is spread over 2 days over a committee examining a sexual harassment charge brought by the National Creative Director against its CEO and us listening to each of their viewpoints, the heart of the film is not really about sexual harassment or gender equations or even about the politics of the workplace (which are supposed to have gotten hotter!) except for the token nod. And even that would have been okay if the central track of a love affair having gone sour with the two protagonists hitting out at each other in their own way, as their personal and professional lives collide, was treated better with these issues being properly woven into the story and the filmmaker able to maintain the tension and interest level in the proceedings.

The film had scope for some complexity and layering to be woven in but it just doesn't seem to be there in the writing, the stilted dialogues - especially the English ones with deliberate avoiding of the F word - or the limited performances of Arjun Rampal and Chitrangda Singh. In fact, there is nothing particularly exciting about their characters either to hold any interest for you in the case especially post interval, and you really don't care. Different interpretations of what really happened, exploring how relative truth can be depending on how it is seen don't quite come off - for that stick to Kurosawa's masterpiece Rashomon - while sequences like Chitrangda imagining a campaign while she is being fired by the boss or the 'visualization' of what Arjun and her wanted to do to each other fall totally flat and appear to be totally out of sync with the rest of the film.

Deepti Naval brings some dignity, depth and even light humour to her role as the the social worker and outsider, and in a way us, listening in on to the facts to try and understand what really happened and easily takes the honours in the acting department. But the rest of the stereotypical committee are there just to fill up a few gaps on a very general scale and it is sad to see a waste of talented actors like Vipin Sharma and Shivani Tanksale. What each of them do in the agency is never clear as they just hang around Chitrangda or Arjun as the case might be or are partying with them and little else.

The music is energetic and enthusiastic but not quite going with the way the film and its narrative flow uses it, the shot taking is strange in a number of places and you don't really see why one must be subjected to extreme close ups of lips or eyes when nothing dramatic enough is being said to justify those shots. The editing is uneven barring the odd smart cut between Arjun's version of events against Chitrangda's.

All in all, a misfire this time from Sudhir Mishra. Let's just say he's done better in the past, in fact, much better.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan




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