One of the biggest blemishes in Independent India was the Emergency imposed during the period of 1975-77 by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on the behest of the PM Indira Gandhi. The mastermind behind this decision was said to be Sanjay Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru dynasty & it was a curb on all sort of freedom of the citizens, not to forget the forced sterilization of men. Madhur Bhandarkar's films have always focused on the vices & virtues of various industries be it "Fashion", "Page 3" etc. This time around he has turned his attention to Emergency & it remains to be seen whether he has given an unbiased account of events???
The protagonist of the movie is an orphan Indu (Kirti Kulhari) who suffered from a congenital stammer. It proved to be a hindrance during her days at the orphanage as many potential parents refused to adopt her. In time, she grew up to be an educated lady with a flair for poetry though her ultimate wish was to get married & settle down. However, her stammer was too big a problem for many prospective grooms & their mothers. But destiny finally smiled on her as she got married to a civil servant, Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury) who was the go-to man of a prominent minister in the Government. It was around this time that Emergency was imposed, which made Indu witness to many unsavoury events. How it brings about a change in her attitude forms the crux of the movie.
Madhur Bhandarkar's credentials as a director needs no introduction as it is well documented with some classic films. But it's been quite a while since his movies have made an impact at the box office which is understandable as most of them were abysmal. This track record is unlikely to change for his latest venture as well as his script doesnt offer anything substantial rather than just barely skim through some of the prominent events. Despite the uncanny similarities to prominent political figures, he refrains from using their names & reduces them to typical Bollywood villains, rather than attempt to make it into a thrilling political drama.
On the positive side, credit ought to be given for the casting; as the choice of artists was impressive & they have delivered as well. Kirti Kulhari continues her fine form from "Pink" & was spot on with her portrayal of the protagonist. Tota Roy. Sheeba Chadha (as Mekhla) & Manav Vij (as Inspector Sodhi) have done justice to their roles. Neil Nitin Mukesh could have been the doppelganger of Sanjay Gandhi but he was handicapped by being reduced to a stereotypical Bollywood villain.
Verdict: Apart from the clever choice of words for the title, there is hardly anything worthwhile contrary to what the trailer conveyed. There was ample scope for a riveting political drama but what we get is mundane stuff. However, kudos to the sincere effort of the artists though the same cant be said about Madhur. In short, wont hurt to give it a miss!!!