Irada is an Indian eco-thriller film co-written and directed by Aparnaa Singh. Co-produced by Falguni Patel and Prince Soni, Irada stars Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutta, Sharad Kelkar, and Sagarika Ghatge in the pivotal roles. Irada is a dramatized account of the cancer crisis that has plagued the Indian state of Punjab. The state has been traditionally known for its agricultural produce, wheat in particular. But in the recent times the state has been plagued by cancer cases of epidemic proportions. The worst hit part of Punjab is the Malwa region that’s known for its cotton farming.
Studies have revealed that pesticides used in farming are the root cause of high cancer rates in the state. The situation is so serious that on an average every family has at least one cancer patient. Irada is an attempt to highlight the grave crisis by exposing the nexus of businessmen and politicians that’s responsible for chemical contamination caused by reverse boring—a process involving deep drilling into the ground to dispose the waste. Deep boring is widely responsible for polluting the groundwater.
Irada revolves around a retired soldier who has lost her young daughter to cancer, a journalist whose activist boyfriend has gone missing, a ruthless business tycoon, a manipulative politician, and an uninterested police officer in the middle of everything. In Irada, Director Aparnaa Singh adopts a realistic style of filmmaking that’s often associated with documentaries. In fact, the best way to describe Irada is as a docu-drama that seems to resemble a TV miniseries more than a feature film. Given the movie’s verisimilitude to the current situation in Punjab one can easily comment on the quality of research that must have gone into it.
Overall, Irada makes for an interesting movie-viewing experience. The acting performances are solid all around. While Irada harks back to movies like A Wednesday, Madaari, and Law Abiding Citizen, it fails to match the intensity of any of those films. Here is a cliché-driven movie with predictable plot elements. Also, the characters lack originality and some of the characters appear to be lifted as it is from other movies. But, nonetheless, the movie manages to draw our attention to an important matter that hasn’t captured the media attention it deserves. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year because of cancer caused by chemical contamination and yet no concrete measures have been taken to put a check on the crisis. One can only hope that Irada would serve as an eye-opener for one and all.
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