Synopsis – An aged lawyer copes with an unusual case of drama, deceit and lies
My Take – I have always believed between all the glossy romance & item song carrying masala films, its ok to have a film which not only entertains you but also educates & empowers the though process of an audience. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti was one such film. As an avid viewer of Bollywood films, we all know rarely a film like that comes in Bollywood which provokes you, to not just talk but to take action against something which has been of grave importance all this time and just ignored. This is brilliant film is not just a film but a statement against this prejudiced, hypocritical feudal societal fabric that can’t handle modern-thinking women. It is not a film from a feminist perspective, but it does talk about the shackles in which girls of our country are tied even in this century. The film does raise many pertinent questions, talks of double standards, gender discrimination etc. This film is a powerful statement on the existing feudal mindset of a majority of India, where men and women are judged by a different yardstick. And if the man happens to be from a powerful family, then the fight for justice is even more skewed. Presented as a highly engrossing courtroom crime drama, director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury has created a film that is successful in keeping the audience engaged with its impeccable dialogues and fantastic screenplay.
The story follows three single independent working women Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) who share an apartment in Delhi. Their lives take a turn when they go for a rock concert with a friend Vishwa (Tushar Pandey) and befriend Rajveer (Angad Bedi) and Dumpy (Raashul Tandon). Everything seems fine until, Minal is inappropriately touched by Rajveer. In an effort for self- defense, Minal picks up a bottle and smashes it on Rajveer head and escapes with Falak & Andrea. At first, the girls do not approach the police initially out of fear especially after finding out that Rajveer is the nephew of a very influential politician. But upon receiving numerous threats, Minal approaches the polices & files a case. In retaliation Rajveer files against Minal accusing her of ‘attempt to murder’ & for ‘money extortion’. The FIR also labels the three as prostitutes. Minal gets arrested leaving Falak & Andrea helpless. Steps in Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), their neighbor and once famous elderly lawyer who has quit practice mainly due to his bipolar disorder. Sehgal offers to defend the girls in a case which almost appears to be a lost cause as the girls are subjected to humiliation and are portrayed as criminals. Who wins in the end? How efficiently does Deepak suffering from bipolar disorder fight the case? What defense statements were made by Prashant to protect the boys? What was the motive of girls behind accepting dinner invitations from acquaintances, was it to extort money from the rich (as accused)? How were the girls Minal, Falak and Andrea treated in the society, workplace and in court after this incident? How did they handle their character assassination? What makes this film different is the beautiful message on morality and equality of an independent woman when she is says “NO” to getting involved into any sexual preferences. This is a must watch to know what actually a ‘No’ means because a ‘No’ is not just a word; it means a choice, right, and decision of a woman to execute her feeling she is going through then and there. And we men need to learn to respect their choice and right to say ‘No’ and that a single woman, a friendly girl, or a woman who shares a drink doesn’t mean that she is available. The titular color also identifies with women. The film’s title, just as the color signifies calls for understanding, understanding that no means no. It calls for caring, caring to see that you lead by example, caring to see that you raise a generation which understands the concept of consent, caring to see that the society does not prejudice on basis of clothing, social life, etc. In spite of females excelling in almost every field, there are many unsaid rules in our society which decides whether a female is of good character or not. The beauty of the film is that this is not at all a loud film in spite of conveying a very loud message. It talks of the attitudes prevalent all around us which stamps a female of ‘questionable character’ on the basis of the length of the her skirt, the time when she returns home after work, how much she smiles at men, whether she drinks / parties or not, and her virginity status etc. There are enough moral policing for girls. It also talks about the corrupt system in our country, the cops who actually need to protect people, end up in framing people in false cases. The film through its highly engaging plot and courtroom drama turns out to be so powerful that it is bound to make you think. The screenplay by Ritesh Shah deserves applause and especially the dialogues when Sehgal lists out the safety standards for women/girls. Direction by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhary is classy and does not deviate from the plot with inane sub plots. Right from the word go, he ensures every scenes grips our conscience and tugs us into self- examination. He has done a trailblazing job, the subject matter and execution hits you like a bolt.
If you are a sane human being, it surely influences the philosophy you might have been carrying all along even if you are not a feminist. It not only talks about equal rights for women or empowerment but the way male fraternity thinks about women. One will be impressed and hooked with the narrative in 30 minutes, guaranteed. While police apathy is one theme it touches upon, the film is largely about what today’s society, with its feudal roots, assumes when a woman consumes alcohol, when she hangs out with her male friends, when she keeps a casual relationship with that widower, etc. It focuses on the futile point that a woman’s (or a man’s) character is defined by their behavior, their demeanor, their air at a given point of time and at a given location. It strains to enlighten us with the fact that this assumption is rubbish and full of void. It narrates the assumptions in strong points, delivered, some as innuendos ad others as clearly as text written on iron, by the talented Piyush Mishra as solicitor defending the male group. It also has a lot to say about the discrimination of Indians against their own brothers and sisters who hail from the Northeast. Amidst talk of virginity and sexual modesty and all that falls under the purview of the subject, the director takes us through the lives of three harrowed women who have been shamed for their life choices and smirked upon for saying no to the inappropriate advances of men. The brash pricks have the nosy society and its outdated rules on their side but Shoojit Sircar-Aniruddha never lose sight of utopia. This hard hitting story is rooted deeply in the sharp observations of our day to day lives that the actors beautifully bring to the screen. There is no lecture in the film; rather it talks about what is happening in and around us. There are some parts of the plot which were not very much justified: Amitabh Bachchan‘s Bipolar disorder, his ailing wife confined to a hospital bed. The boys appeared very influential and egoistic in the beginning, wanted to punish girls at any cost, but once when the courtroom drama started unfolding, there was not a single moment of encounter / threatening from these boys to girls, which seemed unlikely. But these are very much unnoticeable in midst of powerful scenes. The film is also backed by some powerful performances. Amitabh Bachchan is a knight in shining armor. Watch out for him in the second half when he questions the witnesses in the courtroom. It is an unforgettable performance which should be lauded for its sheer brilliance. Taapsee Pannu, in her first worthwhile role in a Hindi film (most of her work has been in Telugu and Tamil cinema) is extraordinary. Her body language, her mumbling, frightened looks and especially the scene where Sehgal calls her to the stand, make it the most outstanding performance of the year. Kriti Kulhari is excellent too, especially in the breakdown scene on the stand. Andrea Tariang plays her part well. Angad Bedi who plays the spoiled brat Rajveer stands apart and has done an impressive act. He is well supported by Raashul Tandon as Dumpy and Tushar Pandey as Vishwa who tries to broker peace between the girls and the boys. Vijay Varma one among the boys who actually was not there during the said incident plays a perfect misogynist pig who is hell bent to teach the girls a lesson. Piyush Mishra is amazing. On the whole, ‘Pink’ is a very powerful and outstanding film that needs to be lauded for its impeccable direction, electrifying performances and beautiful message.
Directed – Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Rated – PG15
Run Time – 136 minutes