Veteran Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna has left for his heavenly abode today (27.04.2017). Through this review, I am paying my tribute to him who was unarguably one of the most handsome as well as the most talented heroes Hindi cinema has ever seen.
Seventies was the decade of crime thrillers in Bollywood. However most of the crime-based stories made during that period were average and run-of-the-mill type. Only a handful of them were well-made and deserved admiration. Inkaar (1977) is one such crime thriller in which the crime that takes place is the kidnapping of a child for the dual objective of extracting ransom from his father as well as seeking revenge from him for an old grudge. It’s definitely a very impressive drama containing an engrossing cat and mouse game between the criminal and the investigator.Inkaar (denial) starts with the kidnapping of a child in the household of a rich shoe manufacturer Haridaas Chaudhary (Dr. Shreeraam Laagoo) by Raj Singh (Amjad Khan) and his associates Manmohan (Bharat Kapoor) and Preeti (Sheetal). Raj Singh has done it mainly because he has to settle an old score with Haridaas Chaudhary. Besides, he wants a hefty sum of Rs. 20 Lacs as ransom to release the kidnapped child.
However the kidnappers themselves commit a blunder by kidnapping the son of the servant of the household (Saadhu Meher) instead of the son of Haridaas Chaudhary. Initially reluctant Haridaas Chaudhary gets ready to pay the ransom for release of his servant’s son also. The kid gets released but the investigating cop Amar (Vinod Khanna) is not ready to leave the case at this stage. He deeply investigates the case and trails the principal kidnapper, i.e., Raj Singh. There is no love lost between himself and Haridaas Chaudhary also because he is in love with Haridaas’ sister Geeta (Vidya Sinha) and Haridaas has refused for their marriage. However Amar does not allow his personal feelings to affect his duty. He not only catches Raj Singh in the end but gets the ransom amount back also.The specialty of this brilliant thriller is that it focuses less on the crime and more on its investigation. In fact, the bulk of the narrative has gone into the investigation exercise done by the hero Amar and his sidekick Yadav (M. Rajan) only. The script has been written quite logically and intelligently for the investigation activity and the hero solves the case and catches the criminal like a normal human-being only and not a larger than life hero of a typical Bollywood movie. This drama despite some blocking due to the romantic track shown in flash back, keeps the viewer engaged for around two hours. The writer Jyoti Swaroop and the debutante director Raj N. Sippy have kept the things as realistic as possible and it’s this approach only which has made this movie extra-ordinary and a cut above the regular Bollywood flicks.
Besides, the crime and its investigation, the movie examines the paradoxical human nature also with realism and sarcasm. The rich businessman himself has arrived at his present position from a very modest background but he refuses to marry his sister to a cop because of status difference. He promptly gets ready to pay the hefty ransom amount for the release of his own son but hesitates in doing so when it is known that the kidnapped child is actually the son of his servant. Despite these human weaknesses, he has a kind heart and takes the side of truth and honesty in business and life. These are the beautiful tassels attached to the main drama which certainly add value to it. All the characters including the villain appear to be real and from this world only which itself is a big achievement of the filmmaker.Technically the movie is up to the mark. The scene of chasing of the villain by the police dogs in the climax is very thrilling and sensational. The movie is not unduly long and the narrative moves fast with the sole blockage coming in the form of the romantic track of the hero and the heroine.
Director Raj N. Sippy has extracted admirable performances from his talented cast chosen quite prudently. From this debut movie of himself, he seems to have developed a good rapport with Vinod Khanna and he made some good movies with him later also. For the first time, Amjad Khan was able to come out of the hangover of Gabbar Singh (of Sholay) in this movie and present a different kind of villain.Rajesh Roshan’s musical score with the lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri is decent. Mungda Mungda Main Gud Ki Dali sung by Usha Mangeshkar is exceedingly popular even today.
As said earlier, only a small percentage of crime thrillers made in Bollywood deserve to be termed as quality products. Hence Inkaar which had unfortunately flopped on the box office, is entitled for appreciation. Those who like crime and investigation based thrillers should not miss it. And it’s definitely a treat for the fan-following of Late Vinod Khanna.
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