Inkaar is a case of a thing well-begun, but not even half-done. The film starts off fairly engagingly as Sudhir Mishra lays out a spread of some rather believable characters from the world of advertising. We meet a feisty Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh) who has lodged a sexual harassment complaint against mentor, boss and one-time lover Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) and Mrs Kamdar (Deepti Naval) is there to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
The narrative is built on the testimonies of the two, as well as those of their friends and colleagues. It’s an engrossing search for truth through several scattered, disparate and often conflicting tales that take us back and forth in time. It’s like riding a pendulum, believing and disbelieving each of these supposed truths. And then, things come undone. The second half gets needlessly stretched and pointlessly convoluted. A sub-plot involving Arjun’s childhood and his relationship with his father doesn’t add much to the film and might as well have not been there. It all gets capped by a climax that disengages clumsily and detracts from the complexity of the sexual harassment debate that the film had ostensibly started out to involve itself seriously and intelligently with. Mishra’s take becomes disappointingly facile, more in the Madhur Bhandarkar genre of cinema, if we may recognise it as one. In fact, is it about sexual harassment at all? Or is it just another twisted love story?
The lead characters’ relationship, swinging from flirts to ambitions, jealousies, betrayals to corporate power play, feels more inane and futile than complex and compelling. Arjun fares better than expectations, but Chitrangada gives in to laboured histrionics. Is yet another refreshingly natural actress on her way to becoming a synthetic diva? Deepti is her usual warm, easy and compassionate presence—in lovely raw silk sarees. Once again, it’s the characters in the backdrop who impress more, especially Vipin Sharma as Gupta. And was that Rehana Sultan playing Chitrangada’s mother? Recognising her proved to be the most significant and memorable moment in this one’s viewing. I will remember Inkaar for encountering the Dastak star again on the big screen.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
It takes some doing. I think Ms. Singh is an actor, because she can connect and interact, with people, when she is not acting in movies. She has acted in very significant movies. This is also one. Now I remember, Sudhir Mishra also made, Hazaaron K... Aisi. I saw Inkaar, because I remembered, Sudhir Mishra had made a different movie. The movie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a psycho(logy) masterpiece. This is much more subtle. I haven't seen 'Hazaaron Kh.. Aisi'. I think the movie is pretty good. The very significant thing about acting is that Ms. Singh gets roles, because she might not act perfectly, but she likes to act in certain movies, and does it whereby, she is appreciated perhaps, as are Shabana Azmi, and Smita Patil. I think, that she is an honest person, and herself, when she acts, is what is great.
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