This is National-award winning director Madhur Bhandarkar’s 13th feature film. He first came into the limelight with his brand of commercially accessible ‘realistic’ cinema back in 2001. Chandni Bar won him his first national award (Best Film on Social Issues). Later, Page 3 won the Best Feature Film award, while he won his first and only Best Director award with Traffic Signal. His last film, Calendar Girls (2015), was a rare box-office flop.
However, Indu Sarkar will only be his second ‘different’ film after romantic comedy, Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji. While it isn’t based on current affairs, it certainly is a dramatization of a real period in history.
The Indu Sarkar trailer sent a wave of panic through Indian politics. The Congress National Party protested against the plot, which is based on the Indira Gandhi-enforced ‘Emergency’ period in 1975. Neil Nitin Mukesh plays the controversial figure of Sanjay Gandhi, her son, who was the alleged force behind a forced mass-sterilization campaign. The film seems to be about a traumatized, stuttering mother (Kirti Kulhari), who hits back against the authoritarian system and contrives to bring down the Emergency on her own. The villains, of course, are the government in power. A familiar lady rules the country and curtails the idea of freedom with an iron fist.
As Bhandarkar has stated, the environment and period may be real, but the story is mostly fictional. He has kept in tone with the recent spate of feisty woman-oriented Hindi cinema.
This week, Indu Sarkar was passed by the CBFC Revising Committee with a UA certificate, two cuts and a few muted words. This was a relief, compared to the 12 suggested earlier with disclaimers by the Examining committee (led by who else but Chief Pahlaj Nihalani).
Out of the four Hindi films releasing this week, Indu Sarkar is expected to pose stiff competition to Anees Bazmee’s comedy, Mubarakan.
Anees Bazmee’s 12th feature film as a director – his first after the sequel Welcome Back in 2015 – releases this Friday, too. Mubarakan is an all-out Kapoor family vehicle. Arjun Kapoor is in a double role, with his real-life uncle Anil Kapoor playing his on-screen uncle, in a typically birdbrained comedy-of-errors entertainer. Arjun plays Karan, a London-bred boy, as well as Charan, a Punjab-bred lad. Karan and Charan fall in love with Athiya Shetty and Illeana D’Cruz, who’re matched to marry the wrong Arjun, thanks to a bumbling uncle’s mistakes.
Anees Bazmee was one of the most prolific Bollywood writers of the 1990s. He wrote many hits, such as Swarg, Bol Radha Bol, King Uncle, Raja Babu, Ladla, Gopi Kishan, Army, Deewana Mastana, Sirf Tum and Raju Chacha. Most of us grew up to cherish these movies, no matter how they have aged over the years – especially the David Dhawan classics. Bazmee, too, has tried to imbibe that brand of chaotic and irreverent low-denominator humor to his movies as a director. After starting serious with Ajay Devgn–Kajol starrer Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha, he succeeded with No Entry and Welcome, and even Singh Is Kinng.
Whether it’s Mubarakan or Indu Sarkar, both will have to make merry in this one week. Both look like the kind of mainstream fare that concentrates mostly on the first weekend. Next week, Imtiaz Ali’s Shah Rukh and Anushka starrer, Jab Harry Met Sejal, releases – a film destined to monopolize the multiplexes across the country.