Life's this court
'Court' directed by Chaitanya Tamhane is the strongest film I have seen this year. Not only does this off-the-courtroom drama ask blazing questions about identity and freedom of speech and perspectives to the world's largest democracy and supposedly also the most effective judiciary, but it also raises strong points about true rebelliousness.
The film comes with a haunting, gripping tale about a Kazi Nazrul Islam-ish man called Narayan Kamble who is an activism and rebellion poet. He is accused of encouraging a sewage worker to commit suicide. The rest of the film builds on the prosecutions and the series of events happening in this turbulent court- literally and figuratively.
Tamhane builds strong cast. I enjoyed watching Vira Sathidar as Kamble and Geetanjali Kulkarni as the public prosecutor. The rest of the cast performs quite marvelously too. But what holds you with the film is its ability to create tense motions and emotional frequencies which produce in the audience an urgency to complete the film.
'Court' is a rebellious film which deserves being watched- being loved. I will rate this film 4 stars out of 5. Please watch.
Best : Performances by the cast , Direction , Screenplay ( Bitter truths flawlessly and honestly presented )
Weakness : The ending seemed quite abrupt .
Of course the judiciary is not complex for people who know. It looks complex only to the people who don't know. And Chaitanya Tamhane's debut is just that - portraying the judiciary and its invisible background from all available perspectives.
The story about a rebellious folk singer Narayan (Vira Sathidar) who finds himself on the other side of judiciary is an honest critique of the judicial system of world's largest democracy. Narayan is allegedly accused of abetting a sewage cleaner's suicide. While there is no prologue shown in particular, one will follow the plot as it advances. Then starts the real courtroom drama between the people responsible to bring out justice.
Now, the highlight of the film is it reminds us that the people involved in this drama are also human beings and have lives to live and families to care for. The plot focuses on each of these characters with ultra finesse. For example, the climactic sequence shows the carefree attitude of a character who is otherwise constantly sincere and adroit and sharp at his characteristic (portrayal), which is a major part of the judiciary. And that is the single reason why one should choose to watch the film. However, there is a shift in the focus where the plot moves to these characters, concentrating on the subject, but abandoning the protagonist. The mentality of all the people (from the judge to the stock witness) is written with extra diligence and is brought out like pieces of a pie which may not put an end to the apathy that happens around us in reality, but may at least satisfy the armchair activist the hunger he/she has sustained since long. Other than the primary story, there are at least three brief tales that attached before or after, in and around, and further adds to the experience.
Brisk, and sometimes humorous, dialogs that strike the point and take potshots at the way judicial system works in India is real pleasure to watch. And if you understand Marathi, then lo, you are in for a few hearty chuckles. The photography is irreverently smart, especially for the parts where the film takes the track of inconsequential ending, which on the other hand, may disappoint few. Plus, this is the first time I have seen such a great subtitling work. Kudos!
BOTTOM LINE: There are many reasons to watch Chaitanya Tamhane's directorial debut and the omission of an item dance is one of them. Agile yet snappy storytelling. 7/10 - recommended!
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES