Irada is a film about eco-terrorism. That’s a word which I had heard before but never really cared to dwell deep into finding its meaning. But once you have seen this film, you are bound to look deeper into finding the meaning of this word. The film starts with us following the daily routine of an aging father and his daughter. The girl seems to be preparing for some swimming competition and seems to be a quality swimmer. However that very day she is rejected from joining the Combined Defense Services. She is crestfallen but continues her routine the following day. However, this time around, disaster strikes and as she collapses halfway through her routine, she is taken to the hospital, where it is found that she is suffering from cancer and the doctors give her a month to live.
A year later, an environmental activist is kidnapped by a powerful businessman after he uncovers evidence against the businessman who has been dumping toxic wastes in the suburbs which has resulted in the ground water of the area getting contaminated by cancer-causing agents. During the same time the businessman’s plant is attacked and is blown to pieces by a blast. The chief minister of the state who also happens to be a close associate of the businessman brings in an NIA official to quickly wrap up the investigation of the blast so that the businessman may claim his insurance money. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative.
Did you know that at 9.20 pm every day, a passenger train leaves Bhatinda town for Bikaner in Rajasthan? It’s full of cancer patients. The patients are bound for the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Center, one of the 19 regional cancer research centers in the country. A train full of cancer patients. I didn’t know that. Irada opened my eyes to this almost unheard of truth which has seriously left a bitter taste in my mouth. Here is a film that will give you a seriously bad feeling about it from start to finish. There isn’t a moment in the film where you will feel comfortable. It’s not so much because of how it is made but because of the issue that it brings forth.
Looking at the film from a cinematic perspective, I am forced to raise multiple questions here and there. Yes! It’s not a well-made film. The screenplay is sloppy. The manner in which the story unfolds is plain out stupid at many junctures. Some of the performances are simply bad. Divya Dutta is the worst. The way she behaves and moves is hardly reminiscent of a CM and that’s just one bad thing about her whole act. Sagarika Ghatge is pedestrian in her role of a journalist. She has all but two expressions which really hit the believability of her character which needed more range.
But thankfully what these two women spoil among them is saved to a certain extent by Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi. While Naseeruddin is in his elements and breathes fire, Arshad’s character suffers an initial bout of confusion to later regain his composure and become likable. Sharad Kelkar is a stereotypical villain and remains off-screen for most of the second half. The biggest problem with this film is that it remains uneven all throughout. While it shakes you up with sequences like the one where we ride the Cancer Train with Arshad’s character, there are also some extremely stupid sequences which make no sense and jolt whatever good is done by the better sequences.
Suffice is to say that this is one film which had a lot of potential and also had a haunting story to tell but the lackluster way in which it is presented really takes the film down. I don’t say this often, but I still feel that even though this is a bad film, it should still be watched at least once. The reasons for that are two. Firstly the story that it has to tell and secondly, it tries to be different. Unlike “The Ghazi Attack” which released this week, it is unable to hit all the right notes but it still gives us something different and something to ponder over. Keep your expectations low from this film and concentrate on the massage and not the cinematic in this case if you may.
Rating : 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)