In Car movie review: An emotionally-draining survival drama that needed better writing
While the film attempts to portray the problem of the abduction of women, it hardly rises above the patience-testing and emotionally draining episode
Recently there is an increase in films that deal with themes of harassment, rape, abuse, and other kinds of crimes against women. In some way or the other, every film tries to stand out and portray these themes differently. Going by the promos we know that Harsh Warrdhan’s In Car too revolves around the abduction and molestation of a girl. Major portions of the 105 minutes of the film are set ‘in the car’ as the name suggests, and extensively show how this girl gets tortured by the perverted male abductors. The problem however is we never get a clear idea about the objective of the film. If the idea of the filmmaker is to make the audience feel uncomfortable, it is a big win as it makes us squirm within minutes and the experience continues till the end. But In Car hardly rises above the patience-testing and emotionally draining episode it tries to be.
Director: Harsh Warrdhan
Cast: Ritika Singh, Manish Jhanjholia, Sandeep Goyat, Sunil Soni, Gyan Prakash
In Car starts by introducing siblings Richie (Manish Jhanjholia) and Yash (Sandeep Goyat) who are prepared to travel along with their uncle (Sunil Soni) to Bawal, Haryana. A force-fit conversation between the two brothers reveals that the former is a convict who has stabbed his sister’s cheating boyfriend and is on bail. Yash reminds Richie that if the victim dies, then Richie has no other escape, and will be arrested. Meanwhile, their jeep breaks down, and their uncle hijacks a random old man’s (Gyan Prakash) car at gunpoint. From here, the three threaten the unknown driver to take them to Bawal.
The dialogues exchanged by the three of them are lewd and obscene, establishing that they are perverts. When news arrives that the man Richie stabbed has passed away, Yash and his uncle realise that his future is completely ruined. But, even at this point, all they decide to do is get into more trouble. In order to satisfy Richie’s libido, his uncle decides to kidnap an innocent girl, who they all plan to take turns and rape. Their desire and motive to commit such a crime are very impulsive and do not provide us with enough background to process why they would go to such extents, especially when they’re already in legal trouble.
The film then shows them kidnap Sakshi (Ritika Singh) in broad daylight, from a bus stop. The camera focuses on a policewoman and several other people who stand at the bus stop when this happens. Oddly, none of them move a limb, let alone react, to the abduction happening in front of them. No there is no trace of them being scared to react, they just don't care. The convenience in the writing is jarring, it is as if the writer wanted to get done with the scene soon and move on to the part where the film makes us squirm.
The three perpetrators think of no consequences while abducting Sakshi. From the abduction, the film just moves on to a long stretch of vulgar dialogue spoken by the three. Richie particularly keeps making slurp sounds almost every two minutes in the film, rubbing his pervertedness on the face of the viewers.
Sakshi does not make many efforts to escape. Not to blame her, she is captured and kept at gunpoint by three men. But, even when she gets a few opportunities, she does not use them well. Harsh Warrdhan conveniently makes her wait till the very end of the film to find a way to escape.
Ritika Singh’s performance as the victim is one of the saving graces of the film. Gyan Prakash also manages within the limited scope he gets. The rest of the cast delivers one-dimensional performances as the abusers.
It is surprising how most of the dialogue and camera angles in the film even passed the censors. The vulgar dialogues pointed at Sakshi after a point start to sound like male fantasies, which don't serve a great purpose in propelling the story forward.
In Car ends with a note about the number of kidnappings that happen in India every day. The idea of Harsh Warrdhan is to give a film that enlightens people about the fact that almost 100 women are kidnapped every day, many of whom don’t escape. But I am afraid the film might end up being a 101 piece of advice for potential perpetrators to carry out a successful kidnap. I really doubt the purpose of the film is conveyed as the film is a major trigger to most survivors of abuse and harassment.