With hotties like Chitrangda Singh and Arjun Rampal, the latter though an ageing one, and a theme that is the subject matter of much debate, sexual harassment at work place, Inkaar was something I was looking forward to. However, I missed it and after seeing it on TV recently, I can just say Thank god I did! So where does “Inkaar” falter? Well, pretty much everywhere.
The subject matter per se is definitely worth a dekho. And to its credit the movie steers clear of any black and white answers. As Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) puts it very succinctly, it’s the woman and her mood that decides what is harmless flirtation, and when this flirtation becomes something as strong and politically loaded as sexual harassment. The narrative rapidly moves back and forth in time and place as we, along with the Women’s Rights social worker played by Deepti Naval, try to decipher what conspired between the two protagonists. That is just about where the novelty ends and clichés take over.
Rather than being a textbook or even real life example of the ambiguity of something like sexual harassment and the lacunae that such laws have, the movie becomes nothing more than a typical case of an office romance gone sour and the woman trying to get even by using the weapon most readily at her disposal- sexual harassment suit. Both the main characters, despite their small town roots, want to make it big in the dog eats dog world of advertising and leave no stone unturned in the process, including a so very typical affair with the boss. For all her rant about alpha males and the need for a woman to become an alpha female, Maya (Chitrangda Singh) is anything but a hapless woman fighting the glass ceiling. She knows the rules of the game and uses them to her advantage. There are plenty of hints on her capabilities that extend beyond office skills and how she has used her sexuality in landing some plum assignments. Her fiancée is not unaware of her wanderings either and in the light of such a background advises her to drop the case. Only that “hell hath no fury like a woman spurned” and she uses all available means to bring to ruin the man who has been her mentor, boss and lover. Not that Rahul is a saint by any stretch of imagination. He clearly is not but in a fight unto death, all is fair and Maya uses the one weapon only a woman can- sexual harassment.
The characterisation of both Maya and Rahul is sketchy and inconsistent at best. Ambitious, strong headed with few moral qualms both are quite a match for each other. Battle lines are pretty much drawn from the very beginning. How and when the casual affair becomes more than that for either, or both, of them remains unconvincing. In fact, it is only towards the end that we become aware of this deep-rooted, misdirected love or whatever one might want to call it. Moreover, it seems bruised egos and lack of communication is what led to lost love. Quite a volte-face after a damning suit! And then suddenly, abandoning the path of the greys where every side has two versions, the movie falls in the clichéd Bollywood love movie trap. What did I miss? This is all that I could ask.
Inkaar is quite a let down from Sudhir Mishra who has films like “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi ” , “Chameli” and “Yeh Saali Zindagi” to his credit. It seems promising enough but only tentatively touches upon the subtleties of a sexual harassment at work place – that there are more than one versions of the same story and that women can be as sinning as sinned against- all this and much more could have taken the movie to a different level altogether but sadly that is not to be and we are left with yet another Bollywood cliché.