A recent courtroom drama came with the concept of NO MEANS NO. The victim in that drama, turns lawyer in this film to prove their theory of US V/S THEM….. that is the impact and beauty of this movie.
Anubhav and DOP Ewan Mulligan manage to create a Varanasi full of the rush of life as they know it, with its religious threads intertwined at the same time the claustrophobia of the courtroom, especially whilst portraying Bilal and Aarti’s angst is simply brilliant.
A screenplay that takes its time to unfold and brings with it, its own bittersweet realities of the times we live in. People are decent enough to interact, not to break bread with.
The radicalisation of Prateik, the helplessness of Bilal, the change of friends like Chaube, all presented in such realistic form, kudos to Anubhav for the pure writing.
It is not that they have captured the nuances of a particular family lifestyle, belonging to a minority community, it is more to do with the characterisation of each of the players. Danish Javed with his single point agenda, Santosh Anand via his theatrics etc. But what the film hits upon, is the fact that the lives that we lead, are PREJUDICED.
Anubhav hits bulls eye with this view and makes that his focal point of the second half. Well presented too.
All in all you can relate to the anger one feels in the communities affected, both, minority and majority. It is this latent anger that is used to its hilt.
Sumit Kaul & Prateik both are good in their respective roles. Whilst the supporting cast of Chaube and Sochan too, lend adequate colour to the grey scheme.
Ashutosh Rana, though excellent in his theatrics, somehow feels more of a caricature rather than a strong prosecutor out to nail his victim. Something Anu Kapoor too suffered in Jolly 2.
Rajat Kapoor is menacing hence effective as the Muslim ATS officer out to prove a point. Wonder how it would pan out if he had played the role he was initially signed for, Bilal.
Manoj Pahwa is excellent. As the obese, relatively good for nothing Bilal, he steals the show due to his sheer helplessness. Playing the father of the accused and later victim to the system, Pahwa shows so much gravitas.
Neena Gupta, Prachi Shah are both effective in their supporting roles.
Rishi Kapoor is expected to be good and he is. Playing the confused, yet determined citizen, he plays his role brilliantly. The 2 scenes that he does stand out, one is the interval point and the second, is his testimony in court.
Taapsee Pannu is on a roll ever since Pink and she is nailing it. Playing the daughter in law of a minority community, in an inter caste marriage, the practical issues of a failing marriage, the angst of wanting to help, she nails it. The film definitely belongs to her and she does a brilliant job at it.
But the star of the film, both in terms of character and performance, for me, was Kumud Mishra. Playing the cynical, yet practical Judge, he turns out to be the only voice of sanity in the film. His entire demeanour in the courtroom is simply awesome.
A must watch film for us to see the mirror of the times we live in…and accept and work around it.
Does it have The Y Factor : YES
RATING : 3.5/5