I really liked the on-screen interaction between Vinod Khanna and Vidya Sinha in Meera, so much so I was pretty sad her role was (very understandably) small. Then I found out they've done this other movie together, called Inkaar (1977 on the source, directed by Raj N. Sippy), which was reasonably recommended so I knew I had to check it out.
Inkaar is a thriller about a rich man Haridas Chaudhry (Sreeram Lagoo), whose servant's son gets kidnapped by bad guy (Amjad Khan). They call the police, officer Amar Gill (Vinod Khanna) and the thriller follows their attempts to negotiate, get the child back safely as well as nab the baddie. Meanwhile there is mild awkwardness in the family, as Chaudhry's daughter Geeta (Vidya Sinha) had a fledgling romance with Amar back in the day...
And for comedic value, quoth the back of DVD box:
Who are the kidnappers? Will they be caught? Watch and see! Inkaar is the only trhuth!
I think I was initially disappointed because this film is an okay thriller, not a mind-blowingly excellent one. I think my expectations were way too high - it's a bit slow-paced at times, though it's got a lot of excellent features to make up for the lamer ones.
For one, Vinod Khanna as a plain-clothes police officer. Named Amar. How can I not be a sucker for it?
Ah, so much family pain. There is of course the rich man who treats his servant's son just like he does his own, for he is that good a man. Nothing about these characters particularly interested me, but thankfully we also get the romantic storyline.
With the beautiful though slightly-too-made-up Vidya Sinha. She was lovely in this, and I don't really see why she's not a more popular or common heroine in 70's films. Her filmography is quite short compared to many others. But I guess - sadly - every era has its share of actors who never quite get their due.
Well, whatever, she gets to be intense with Vinod in this one. Yay!
Though judging by her look, maybe not so yay. Well, they can always angst together.
Their romantic backstory begins quite lightly and comedically, probably the only light and comedic moments in the film. She's friends with his sister, he mistakes her for his sister and ...
Inappropriate touching ensues! Whoopsie.
He apologises, she's a bit coy, they're both pretty much smitten and the sister is much amused. Cue romantic song!
This picturization is definitely cute, but feels strangely out of place in a thriller of this sort. Like, I don't think the movie ever really goes masala on us, but it has those hints, and it's quite a weird mix. It works but I feel like maybe it could've worked better. But I guess every movie has to reflect its time on some level, and the mild masala elements can't exactly be erased from this film.
But of course, the couple works much better when they are being mournful and intense and ever-so-slightly angsty. YES.
The film also features some really nice camerawork. I think the director was really trying to push the envelope - when you compare this film to the camerawork of so many other commercial Hindi films, you can definitely tell the difference. I'm not sure if every angle is considered to the tee, but it does give the film more depth and interest, when we have shots like this, or shots like these:
Bad guys - notice Amjad Khan's first appearance as a menacing pair of boots, and of course the other two baddies in post-coitus. Premarital sex leads to hanging out with Gabbar Singh, proven!
The poor kidnapped child and beer being poured at the forefront of the shot. Alcohol, bad!
But the film never really grabs me so much that I don't remember by initial reasons for watching; intense Vinod Khanna (in a suit) and Vidya Sinha being beautifully sad. Good stuff.
And there's a Helen song! I mean, of course there is. And she sings at a bar and Amjad Khan's character leers at her.
And what about star of our Khanna week, Vinod? Well, I can't say I found any incredibly interesting layers to this character. He's a good guy, he's a cop, he gets the job done and has much compassion for the family of the victims. There's a bit of dishoom-dishoom. He's naturally very involved with the case, still having feelings for Vidya Sinha's character, and struck by the cleverness of the baddie.
On the completely superficial side? Digging this shades + suit look a lot.
Ah, seventies. Such a gift for eyewear fashion.
Would I recommend it? For the Vinod afficionado, yes. For others? Not particularly. Maybe in a year's time I'll do another rewatch and find this film clicks with me more than I realized on the first two watches but my review kind of remains - it's okay, it's solidly made, but it's not particularly inspiring.