(+) Just about everything
(-) It’s not reaching the masses. Wish it was dubbed in every dialect.
Indian cinema has always loved courtroom drama. There was a time when half of all Hindi movies made in a year would have a few reels dedicated to the courts. Half of those movies climaxed in courts. The “Nyayadevate” of our courts always stood there in those frames holding the “Insaaf ka Tarazu”, the balance held by the blindfolded goddess that often tilted towards the wrong based on the false arguments made by that crooked lawyer who is defending the rapist, re-assuring the Indian commoners that justice is for the rich and that “Kaanoon” is always “Andha”. Oh, we have seen that so many times, haven’t we? That’s the courtroom drama we’ve seen for decades now. Indian cinema has always loved courtroom drama, after all.
And then, once in a while the case being fought in the court becomes interesting. Jolly LLB was one such interesting journey, albeit handled in a lighter vein. I am no expert in movies and I have watched only a small percentage of movies made in India. There may be brilliant movies made in languages I don’t usually get to watch. Yet, what if I say that Indian cinema can produce courtroom drama that can be as intriguing as the “Baap of all courtrrom drama” – “Twelve Angry Men”? What if I say that Indian cinema can produce an intriguing movie that is also hard-hitting and raw like Clint Eastwood’s classic emotionless western – “Unforgiven”? “Pink” is that movie.
I haven’t read any reviews of Pink. But, I must say this. If there’s a reviewer out there – who doesn’t want to give Pink his/her best-ever score, who tries to find faults in the movie for the sake of doing so or just because s/he’s a critic, then that person doesn’t deserve the job s/he has taken up. Yes, that’s how I feel about it.
Pink is a perfect blend. It’s a mainstream cinema that handles a very sensitive subject in a very “arty” way. It’s an art cinema that doesn’t falter by being too arty. It has career-best performances by every artiste who appears on the screen. It has a riveting script, smart and well-written dialogues, brilliant screenplay and a hard-hitting and not-too-indulgent background score. Abhik Mukhopadhyay, the cinematographer, has done his job perfectly and has maintained a consistent visual tone throughout. While the script has its flaws – tiny flaws, they don’t deserve a mention here.
The performances are top-notch. Taapsee Pannu and Kirti Kulhari have given outstanding performances and Andrea does what the role needs. Piyush Mishra shines in his role and the four spoilt brats are all good-picks for their respective roles.
Amitabh Bachchan? Well.. He’s God.
But, there’s another hero in this movie. Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, in his debut Hindi movie, has handled the subject with utmost care. The characters emote only when they have to and only so much. There are no flashbacks. There’s no melodrama. The director has chosen to slap us in our faces in every scene, and he does it in a very respectful manner. Every scene makes you look back in time and remember the times when you had behaved like a chauvinist or been one. There were scenes where Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogues received applause in the cinema hall. And the best part is that the audience didn’t applaud Amitabh Bachchan or his dialogue-delivery skills there! They applauded the dialogue. They were praising the director’s way of telling the story even as he was unveiling the flaws in our society, one layer at a time.
Standing ovation? Yes. National Award? Yes. Oscar? That too. But, Pink deserves more than that. It deserves a large audience. It deserves to be screened in every senior secondary school and in every college. Corporate companies should drag their employees and make them watch it as part of their Anti-sexual harassment training. Every single teenager and every single adult in this country should watch it, and learn from it.
While the film has been termed to be feminist by most people, I beg to differ. Don’t paint the film with feminism. It’s not feminism. It’s not anti-chauvinism. It’s humanism. Yes, it’s dealing with the male-chauvinistic mindset that’s prevalent in our society. But, the film isn’t just about these -isms. The film teaches a basic human value. To respect other people. The only thing that makes me sad is that the section of the society that needs this education won’t watch this movie because it doesn’t relate itself to the subject. The section that will watch it, are already aware of the issues raised by the movie.
When the movie reached its end, I prepared to leave the hall feeling a bit unsatisfied. It all ended in a win. The end was predictable. But, then, the director pulled his trump card out. He didn’t want us to leave feeling satisfied that justice was served to the girls, so, all’s fine with the world. He didn’t want us to forget the reality. So, he took us back to the crime that the whole story was woven around even as the final credits started rolling. And that’s the first-and-only time you see the crime happening on the screen. He hasn’t glorified it. But he hits you hard this time. Harder than the entire movie. Those scenes of crime were so powerful that 99.9% of all those who were sitting in the theater went back to their seats. As we left the hall, we all knew what we had just seen. We knew how often it happens. Pink had stirred our soul. Not a single person had the guts to speak in a tone louder than a murmur. There was an uncomfortable silence in the air. We all had learnt something today. For some of us, it strengthened our thoughts and beliefs. “No means NO!!!”