Irada: Conscientious but not compelling

Irada has its heart in the right place—dealing with the theme of ecological and human hazards that points to big corporations and their irresponsible disposed of chemical wastes. But alas, it fails to fashion a compelling film out of it.

There is talk of reverse boring, of chemical contamination, groundwater pollution but the script is not cogent and coherent enough to take the issues forward forcefully. The action is too disjointed and writing gets slapdash. A handful of semi-formed characters are sprinkled all over — an RTI activist here, his drone-camera using journalist girlfriend there. A bunch of them, however, do come alive what with consummate actors playing them.

Naseeruddin Shah is compelling even if he merely stands in a frame and looks at the camera. Here he does more than that. Shah plays an army man Parabjit Walia who loses his daughter to cancer, a consequence of the chemical game. The ever-reliable Divya Dutta makes evil look good as the corrupt Chief Minister Braitch who is in cahoots with the remorseless industrialist Paddy Sharma played by Sharad Kelkar (even though the two parts could have done with a lot more subtle writing than easy caricaturisation).

Arshad Warsi is easy and effortless as the intelligence officer Arjun Mishra investigating a factory blast case and unearthing a lot more along the way. In fact, things perk up when Warsi enters the scene, and his interactions with Dutta and Shah liven up the otherwise dull narrative. There are needless back stories of love that come riding on equally pointless songs, poetry by Dushyant and Nawaz Deobandi, Bhagat Singh references are shoved in to add gravitas.

If you aren’t aware of the Cancer Train that runs from Bhatinda to Bikaner and haven’t read reports about the “wheat bowl” that was Punjab turning into cancer epicentre then the film might be an eye-opener. If only it was a better made eye-opener.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 12:28:40 AM |

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