Movie Reviews

Article 15 Review: A Powerful Crime Noir With Scabrous Socio-political Realities

Written By Chetna Kapoor | Mumbai | Published:

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  • Directed by Anubhav Sinha, 'Article 15' starring Ayushmann Khurrana is a dark, gripping and mind-boggling investigative drama inspired by the Badaun gangrape and murder case (2014).

Take a bow, Anubhav Sinha! 'Article 15' will literally dazzle your senses and mind.

Ewan Mulligan's cinematography, the background score, the stellar act — every single frame will leave you with goosebumps, shock, tears and in an uncomfortable position. One powerful scene was when the man goes deep inside the drain and comes out filled with stinking black water — a scene that in India 'sab dekhte hain lekin yaad nai rakhte' . Each dialogue is impactful & hits the right nerve.

Showcasing the grim, dark and a disturbing (in a positive way) truth about casteism in our society, 'Article 15' is a powerful and one of the best films made in Bollywood. A dialogue that sums up - 'Harijan ban gaye, Bahujan ban gaye, bas jan nai ban paa rahe - ki hamari ginti jan gan man mein ho jaaye' (We are sometimes considered Harijan, and on other times, Bahujan. But we still struggle to be counted as ‘jan’ — to be included in Jana Gana Mana')

For those unaware, Article 15 in our Constitution of India states that "the State shall not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth."

Setting the Scene

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark — A line from the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare and a line that fits right for Anubhav Sinha's 'Article 15'.

Heavy rains and Gora (Sayani Gupta) is singing a song which highlights casteism in our society. Next scene shows two girls in a school bus being raped.

Europe returned IPS officer Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) enters a fictional village Lalgaon and describes it as 'Wild Wild West' and is trying to solve a case of a gangrape and murder in a village that practices caste discrimination. While two of his colleagues - Brahmadutt (Manoj Pahwa) and Jatavji (Kumud Mishra) wants to make it an an open-and-shut case of honour killing, Ranjan investigates and uncovers the truth that will leave the viewers uncomfortable.

Plot

Two 15-year old girls were raped and hanged on a tree to die in a village. Third girl is missing. 

'They are looking at me as if Britisher wapas aagaye hain', says IPS officer Ayan Ranjan (Khurrana) as he enters Lalgaon village where the mentality of the people echoes 'Pasio ka gaon hai, choti jaati ke hain, hum inka paani bhi nai peete'. 

The plot revolves around Ranjan's character who wants to get to the bottom of this gruesome crime and wants to 'Unmess' it as he rightly tells his wife Aditi (Isha Talwar).

Verdict

If the purpose of art, as Banksy puts, is to comfort the discomforted and discomfort the comforted, Article 15 exemplifies it totally.

What makes Article 15 powerful? A sudden widening of the perspective about social layers in our country and viewer's own discomfort in watching some gruesome scenes — is what Anubhav Sinha has captured and written in a beautiful way.

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Nassar

What Works:  Every dialogue, every actor - lead, supporting and extras, every frame, the colour palette, the right sense of humour, the subtle yet poignant blend of social-political issues — it's just simply nerve-shattering, terrific and full of unexpected twists and turns.

What does not work: Some parts where the pace slows down and it gets over-the-top.

Rating: 4.5

 

 

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