Indu Sarkar, Movie Review

indu sarkar movie review

indu sarkaar movie review

Emergency remains one of the most critical periods in the history of India. Yet it is also one of the eras that have rarely been tackled in what is supposed to be the biggest film industry in the country – Bollywood. This is not that surprising given the fact that Bollywood has always been averse to tackling political topics that are as controversial as this. Yet, Madhur Bhandarkar, a director known to tackle topics and issues that are off the beaten track, has attempted to buck the trend yet again. It can jolly well be said that as far as the Bollywood pantheon is concerned Indu Sarkar by Bhandarkar fills a gap of sorts.

The political context right now

The movie tries to throw light in an intense way on the mother and son duo of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, who controlled the country like their personal fiefdom almost four decades back. However, Bhandarkar fails to do that. The film can be described as an insipid and half-hearted effort to portray what can be rightly called one of the darkest periods in the history of independent India. It can be described as an inconsistent political potboiler at best. There is no political neutrality as such and the characters have been described as black and white, which is essentially the director’s vision and not necessarily the reality.

Calculated steps

A film of such stature and subject needs a director to go all out without always being bogged down by the thought of political repercussions as well as backlash. But watching the film one gets the idea that all that Bhandarkar is interested in is taking calculated steps like the earlier movies when he was focused more on telling true stories rather than offering his opinions on various industries. Here he attempts to break from his usual formula of laying waste to an industry (Corporate, Fashion, Heroine, Calendar Girls, and Page 3) and attempts to tell a realistic tale a la Chandni Bar, Traffic Signal, and Jail.

Indu Sarkar – the character

The character of Indu Sarkar is an inspiring one nonetheless. She is an orphan who also stutters. She is rejected throughout her life for this issue, first in childhood by prospective parents, and then later on in youth by prospective suitors. She marries a man who looks past her speech impediment, the first person to do so in her life, and settles into a normal life finally finding acceptance. Before her marriage her future husband asks her what she wants in life. She keeps on searching for the answer to that question and finds it post marriage when she sees her husband associating himself with leaders who are bending rules for their own interest during the Emergency. She decides to leave this life and fight for her right as an Indian citizen and the general betterment of the country as such. The story is all about her journey.


It is definitely one of the strongest points in the film. Kirti Kulhari has been one of the strongest actresses in the country for quite some time and in this film too she shines through gamely bearing the burden of the film on her able shoulders. Tota Roy Chowdhury also appears as an able foil to her complementing her absolute righteousness as an opportunist who has no qualms in doing whatever it takes to rise to the top of the food chain. However, the same cannot be said of the other characters. Neil Nitin Mukesh plays an important character but his characterization leaves a lot to be desired as it becomes a typical Bolly villain rather than one of the most influential individuals of his era.

All in all this is one film that you can definitely see but not with the lofty expectations that people normally have from a director of the stature of Madhur Bhandarkar.


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