Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inkaar (1977)

After watching Chhoti Si Baat, I was browsing through Vidya Sinha’s filmography on Imdb, and there I discovered Inkaar. Described as a thriller on the website with an average rating of 7.9 (40 odd votes), I decided to check it out. And thankfully, watching this movie starring Vinod Khanna as a CID officer turned out to be quite a good call.

A taut, fast paced thriller from the 70s, Inkaar is a stylishly made highly entertaining movie directed by Raj Sippy. The movie is a kidnapping drama and has its central theme right in sight throughout its run-time. The movie opens with a very interesting scene in which Inspector Amarnath Gill (Vinod Khanna) enters a restaurant where a man has reportedly suffered from a heart attack causing quite a concern amongst its patrons. Inspector Gill, however, identifies in a jiffy that the man is faking the attack to escape from paying the restaurant bill. This scene firmly establishes Gill’s character as a sharp, no-frills inspector who keeps emotions out of his already very tough job.

The focus then shifts on the professional and personal world of a successful businessman Haridas Choudhary (Shreeram Lagu in a typical patriarchal role). He is shown to be living a near perfect life; a fact thumped down by a typical ‘sukhi ghar sansaar’ family song featuring a special appearance by Rakesh Roshan; and like it happens in so many of our Hindi movies, as soon as the song ends disaster strikes. Choudhary receives a ransom call from a maniacal criminal Raj Singh (Amjad Khan) and his two accomplices, claiming that they have kidnapped his son. Chaudhary starts hyperventilating and immediately agrees to pay the ransom. However things change rapidly when they realize that the kidnappers had taken the wrong kid with them. Instead of the businessman’s son, they had abducted his driver’s young boy (Master Raju) of the same age.

Things take an interesting turn here, as the story runs on two parallel paths. While a team of CID officers led by Amarnath Gill start chasing the kidnappers, on the other hand there is the emotional melodrama involving the faithful ‘almost family’ driver and the Choudhary family which also includes inspector Gill’s love interest (and Choudhary’s young sister) Geeta (Vidya Sinha). The movie then becomes a riveting crime thriller with an intelligent team of CID inspectors chasing an intelligent and dangerous villain. The good thing is that it stays that way till the end. The narrative is highly engrossing, and despite a few clichés, manages to keep you interested. The last ten minutes or so are somewhat protracted, but the way they have been shot is very interesting (though they remind of the climax of another Vinod Khanna starrer Achanak).

Films like these don’t leave much scope for histrionics, but Vinod Khanna is superb as a plain clothes cop (mostly dressed in black suits throughout the movie). His character is suave and unrelenting and has a strange cool quotient that is hard to explain. Amjad Khan is equally impressive as the mad villain, and adds a lot of weight (no pun intended) to the enterprise. Shreeram Lagu gives the impression of overacting, and the same goes for the actor who plays his driver. Vidya Sinha has nothing much to do, and unfortunately neither does Master Raju.

The songs by Rakesh Roshan are forgettable. Ah wait! The movie also boasts of one of the most favour Helen number ever ‘Mungda Mungda’ (Katrina’s item number in the upcoming film Agneepath seems designed on the same lines). This song, and a small portion following it, seems forced into the otherwise hiccup free screenplay.

Parting Note: ‘Inkaar’ is an extremely engaging movie and fans of the thriller genre will definitely enjoy this one. It would have been rated as one of the best Hindi thrillers ever had it evidently not been a scene by scene copy of a Japanese classic Tengoku to Jigoku by Akira Kurosawa.


  1. Actually, Inkaar isn't a scene by scene copy of Tengoku toh Jigoku - just the first half is. ;-) But anyway, it worked, so it doesn't really matter! In any case, I'm a staunch Vinod Khanna fan, so that was a big plus for me.

  2. Oh so it is not an exact copy! I intend to watch the Japanese film in the upcoming christmas vacations!

    A staunch VInod Khanna fan? Its unfortunate then that you don't write about films post 70s on your blog! Would have loved to hear from you on his films.

  3. I had no idea it was part inspired Japanese flick, I'll look out for it none the less

  4. @bollywoodeewana I too got to know it through dustedoff :)