By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Corporate"; Starring: Bipasha Basu, Kay Kay Menon, Sammir
Dattani, Minissha Lamba, Rajat Kapoor, Harsh Chhaya, Sandeep Mehta,
Achint Kaur, Raj Babbar, Lillete Dubey; Directed by: Madhur Bhandarkar;
So finally it's about the conscience. All of Madhur Bhandarkar's
best works, including his latest "Corporate", certainly qualify as fine
progressive pieces of cinema - which finally boils down to the question
of the conscience and the individual.
Kay Kay Menon, who plays the ambitious but conscientious corporate
wheeler-dealer in a company run by an unscrupulous tycoon (Rajat
Kapoor) who would go to any length climb his way up the corporate
ladder, is so adept at showing his troubled conscience that you wonder
which came first - the conscience or movies crystallising its
The corporate world, which is so much a part of television serials,
has never been exposed on the large screen since Shyam Benegal's
"Kalyug". To his credit, Bhandarkar, with considerable help from his
editor, slices through these ambition-driven personalities with the
urgent hiss of a car negotiating a craggy highway.
The bumps and jerks in these snarled lives are seldom detrimental to
Bhandarkar's tremendous knack for storytelling.
This is a director who packs in a precious punch in the plot. The
screenplay that Bhandarkar has co-written with Manoj Tyagi has enough
twists and turns to make the corporate jargon decodable to a
Like "Chandni Bar" and "Page 3", "Corporate" sets its feet firmly in
a culture-specific work-oriented milieu. It then finds an emotional
bedrock in its innumerable characters, portrays them as people trapped
in ambitions and desires over which they have no control after a
Though Bhandarkar forms an amazing criss-cross of undercurrents in
the two rival families headed by Rajat Kapoor and Raj Babbar (even the
peons are shown making nudge-nudge-wink-wink remarks about their
bosses), the narrative finally narrows down to being a burnished love
story between two colleagues, played with rhythmic restrain by Kay Kay
While they both work on the same side of the fence, yet they drift
away due to their inability to control the swing of destiny.
As the morally upright Nishigandha who steals her rival's project
only to pay an unimaginable price for her indiscretion, Bipasha Basu
pulls out all stops to deliver a performance that avoids artifice.
This one is straight from the heart.
Though this is all about agile entrepreneurship, it is the heart
that eventually triumphs over the head in this smartly told drama of
doom and redemption.
Bhandarkar moves quickly and surely through the corporate labyrinth.
His well-researched plot finds its level within the characters'
We're finally watching them with their souls naked to the
Every performance from Bipasha Basu to Sammir Dattani (who plays a
brief but bright role of a young executive in her office) is credible
and often compelling. Rajat Kapoor and Lillete Dubey (also in a brief
role) are front-runners in the performing sweepstakes.
Yes, the film's industrial mood and language may be impenetrable to
those who think tycoons wear expensive suits and have meetings in five
One look at the lies beneath, and the gloss vanishes, the grime
bubbles to the surface. His plot is wide and often deep, giving
incidental characters a sudden but sure sweep of self-expression. Rajat
Kapoor's domestic life or the beginnings of a romance between new
recruit Minissha Lamba and Sammir Dattani are dealt with in just one
Bhandarkar is a past master wielding the whip over his plot until
the characters sing in a language of pain hurt and atonement. The
larger picture brings out some startling comments on morality in a
To begin with, "Corporate" may lack the dramatic intensity of the
director's earlier works. But once Bhandarkar takes you in, he turns
the screw hard, reminding us of how far away ambition has driven us
from our dreams.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3