Posts Tagged ‘ Ritesh Shah ’

Pink

pink-poster

Now only if there was a picture of the women being more prominently featured.

Pink
Release date: September 16, 2016
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Angad Bedi, Raashul Tandon, Tushar Pandey, Vijay Verma, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Piyush Mishra

The year is 2016 AD, humans have existed for over 200,000 years and the concept of civilization is already 6,000 years old. Or at least, that’s what my Google query springs up as an answer from Universe Today to “how long have humans existed”. And yet, it’s no short of a travesty, that the concept of a woman’s consent is still difficult to digest for many men and the society alike.

If the entire world is still trying to grasp this, then how will the prudish uncles in your Delhi neighbourhood get with the program so fast? And how will the entitled princes of pricey cars and extremely fair complexions have an iota of respect for women and their choices?

In a moment, much towards the final third of the film, Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) says, “Maybe we have been doing it all wrong. Maybe it’s the boys who need to be saved. Only when they are saved, will the girls feel safer.” Maybe he’s not too far off from the truth.

Pink starts off with two different sets of friends rushing to places. An all male group, rushing to the ER with Rajveer (Angad Bedi) and his bleeding head, and the other, the trio of Falak (Kirti Kulhari), Andrea (Andrea Tariang) and Meenal (Taapsee Pannu) asking the cab driver to take them home quickly. Meenal is mentally traumatized, Rajveer has severe head trauma.

The cause of these events is kept undisclosed, and remains self-descriptive, as the film builds as a courtroom drama in the post-intermission half. Rajveer is an influential politico’s son, and naturally dabbles in intimidating people beneath him, first with consequences, and then by getting the dirty job done by his lackeys. The women face the wrath of these men and Deepak is almost a lone witness to the entire ordeal.

When Meenal walks in to a police station to complain about the harassment that she’s facing, the cop at the desk gently shames her into withdrawing her requests for any action to be taken by them. “Anyone can make threats, let barking dogs lie.” or much like, “you could be equally blamed for this.” Falak wants peace and approaches the only calm-headed member of the men’s group to resolve the issues between them. Things come to a head when Rajveer enrages her so much so that she calls off the whole truce pact.

Here starts an all guns blaring campaign by Rich Boys & Daddy to frame the women as perpetrators of physical violence, soliciting and much more. Deepak is an influential figure himself, which is evident in an earlier scene. He vows to come out of his retirement to fight their case and grapple with his “manic depression”.

The court proceedings make up for the rest of the film. The prosecutor (Piyush Mishra) makes arguments that may well remind you of a particular Advocate Chaddha of lore (from Damini), he’s even as ruthless as him, but this isn’t the year 1993, where one of the counsel members tries to beat up the other. They shake hands after the verdict is announced. Minor details of the court are overlooked, possibly to include more of Deepak’s private life, and his ailing wife (?)

Technicalities of the judiciary aren’t the film’s best selling points, but the arguments raised definitely are. All four of the film’s protagonists, i.e. Pannu, Kulhari, Tariang, and Bachchan, present compelling performances. The ladies are strong, yet vulnerable in the face of allegations, and mud-slinging. All three of them have different coping mechanisms, Pannu’s character goes in a shell, with a trembling voice; Andrea rebukes the lies and the accusations vehemently, Kirti agitates at the consistent name-calling and the finger-pointing and ends up debunking the opposition’s argument entirely. Bachchan imbibes the mumbling genius persona of his character and underplays his rage at being a first-hand witness to the abuse that the women face, and still makes for a believable underdog.

There are gentle beings too, like the women’s flat owner in Delhi, the non-supportive Rich Boy friend, but they are only a few and subdued for the most part of the film. Much like the real world, the fair and just voices get outnumbered and perhaps numbed by their surroundings. Pink reins in the exacting issues of the rights of women making decisions for themselves and our reactions to them. Be it moving out of their familial setups, choosing to have a drink with someone that they like, or even just flashing a smile to a member of the opposite sex without meaning anything else.

Pink doesn’t make any new discoveries or present any new insights on the patriarchal regression and domination, yet, it depicts important observations on our times. Labeling, patronization, character assassinations, abuse, molestation and rape are a chain of events that women tread closely with every day, every moment of their lives, and  the film is more than a finely-executed and well-made outing for the debutant director. It’s a compelling commentary that makes for compulsory watching.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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Madaari

madaari-poster

Madaari
Release date: July 22, 2016
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Vishesh Bansal, Jimmy Shergill, Tushar Dalvi, Nitesh Pandey

In a world filled with corruption, and its consequences on the creatures inhabiting it; Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan Khan) decides to ask the questions which no one can or hasn’t bothered asking yet. The incident which stemmed a major plot point of the film was a sad one, and yet it passed by unnoticeably. A slab of the then under construction Mumbai metro bridge had collapsed and caused the death of at least one immigrant site worker.

Home minister Prashant Goswami (Tushar Dalvi) finds that his son Rohan (Vishesh Bansal) is kidnapped from his boarding school in Dehradun. With no direct clues to give away any answers, he hires Nachiket Verma (Jimmy Shergill) to solve the case. Nachiket decides that the whole operation should be carried out in a covert manner, so that the general public wouldn’t feel unsafe and uphold the sanctity of the government by not letting the news out to the TV audiences.

Nirmal is a mystical figure for a long part, often slipping in and out of costumes to keep up with his act of vigilantism. More details about his origins are carefully strewn around the screenplay to build up a sympathetic backstory for him. He wishes to bring the system to answer the questions which often remain unanswered.

Much like the film’s poster, Irrfan Khan towers above the rest of the film’s cast and other departments. He overshadows the campy background score, the caricaturish depiction of politicians, the tiredness induced by the tardy pace of the film towards the last act and an apparent overall substandard production value. He refuses to revel in a Hollywood afterglow, unlike quite a few other compatriots who fail to ground themselves back to the Indian-ness of their characters in Hindi films after tasting the Californian waters.

Jimmy Shergill is a dependable hand as the narrowly confusing top cop Nachiket. He becomes sidelined when the film ceases to be a cat-and-mouse chase between the two sides of the fence in the post interval half. The abductee Rohan, played Vishesh Bansal is a very (generally) savvy seven year old, who is, like many other kids of the same age, well aware of things beyond his years. It’s charming to see that certain amount of smart alecky display, but grating when he talks of Stockholm Syndrome, only to break the fourth wall in an implicit way to make the viewers feel, “Yeah, hey, look! Shades of Stockholm! The kid said it himself!”

With his very diverse film repertoire, Nishikant Kamat’s attempt at a desi V for Vendetta, sans the Guy Fawkes masks and a deep politically philosophical commentary, is an entertaining watch but not without its flaws. Who needs a mask when you’ve got Irrfan in such fine form though?

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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