What happens one night when three independent working girls go to a rock concert? What leads one of them, Meenal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), to bash a glass bottle over a guy’s head? Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Pink’- a movie directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury- has just hit the theatres. And throughout its main narrative, it doesn’t even need a proper flashback to visually show you what happened that night. And yet, you go through all the emotions of actually being there at the scene of the incident.
What follows is a series of events trying to threaten and intimidate them. And when they refuse to cower to the cowardly attempts, the powerful and well connected guys get Meenal arrested with charges of attempt to murder, soliciting and prostitution.
Post interval, the courtroom drama is riveting, with Amitabh Bachchan playing Deepak Sehgal, the defendant’s lawyer who goes through mood swings. Piyush Mishra plays Prashanti, the eloquent prosecution lawyer who you want to slap at times for his lopsized grin as a response to any argument. Dhritiman Chatterjee as the judge with a heart as big as his brain leaves an indelible impression.
There are moments in the film which made me squirm, shudder or break down. But it is after a long time that I have sworn loudly or clapped spontaneously in a movie- not for a star- but for the projection of reality which we go through every day. How quickly do we judge- depending on the presence or absence of a dupatta, the length of a skirt, the timings of a job, from the state one comes from, the religious background, the choice of a drink or simply from how someone looks like. Prejudices along with deeply ingrained feudal mindsets- what is the kind of lives that we give our women? And how heartening it is to see young women fight these barriers and defy these sexist norms each day. For a change the males in the audience were completely silent, while the sniggers, comments and claps came from the women. And that was certainly different!
Each of the actors fits their role to a T. Taapsee Pannu plays Meenal, who goes through the nuances of her work trying to be unaffected by the storm in her life. Andrea Tariang is the girl from Meghalaya who is dismissed as ‘from somewhere in the Northeast’ and has to suffer just because she uses the toilet in a hotel. Kirti Kulhari plays Falak Ali who changes her stand from ‘let’s apologise and compromise’ and breaks down in court with an argument that cannot be countered. Amitabh Bachchan is the doddering lawyer who fumbles over his concentration and is often at a loss of words. Yet, in his quiet pondering he shakes up your conscience, and leaves you questioning your truths.
This film must be made mandatory viewing not only for all those who carry the disease of discrimination in their brains, but for each one of us. Simply because we all carry stereotypes in our minds, in some form or another. Time to shake our beliefs.
Leaving you with Qurat ul ain Balouch’s Kaari Kaari whose sonorous refrain throughout the film fills up the darkness of the night.