The name was a bit strange and after I had made the mistake a long time back of watching an Big B flick named Boom…was not sure about this one!
The opening scene shows 2 sets of agitated young men & women rushing off in cars late in the night.
The car with 3 women drops them to the house they share in South Delhi, clearly distressed and the 3 young men go to a private hospital with one of them sporting a serious injury to his eye.
Over the next few sequences, the audience understands that the 2 groups have met a rock concert and one of young women, Minal has clubbed Rajvir when he tries to molest her after the concert.
The girls are clearly worried about the incident and the young men are outraged, swearing revenge.
The young man who is injured is politically connected and his friends threaten, stalk and intimidate the girls.
Minal decides to file a case against the men, while Falak – who seems older tries to make the quieten the matter by apologising for their actions.
But it is Falak who loses her cool when Rajvir calls Minal names and it is then war- which the well connected political types can fight dirty. A case is made up against Minal, who is first kidnapped and molested to scare her out of her wits. Falak gets fired at work when inappropriate images of her soliciting are emailed to all the staff. The girls are firmly backed into a corner.
An elderly lawyer, Deepak Sehgal, who lives across from the 3, takes their case.
In the courtroom, the deepest prejudices of the middle class Indian are hung out to dry.
Girls living independently, working late, wearing “western” clothes, going to rock concerts and parties, having a relationship, having a drink…..the prosecution paints all 3 girls has in the worst possible light by playing these up.
Deepak Sehgal challenges these notions, showing the hypocrisy for what it is, how we have 2 very different set of rules- one for the girls and one for the boys. How, these have become so ingrained that even the women think they are doing something wrong, when they are doing exactly what the men do. How their freedom comes with chains.
In the end, Falak asks the judge that even if the girls did solicit, does no not mean NO?
Once each prejudice is unpacked for us, we realise how unfair they are and where the blame lies- when Rajvir is enraged when confronted with an image of his sister drinking and claims loftily that the women in HIS house don’t go to parties, they go to family gatherings!
It is a movie with phenomenal potential. So much could have been done with this……and while in parts it shines, when it ends, you are disappointed- especially if you believe that Indian cinema is pushing the envelope now. This one does not.
AND even more sadly, for a die hard Big B fan, the biggest hurdle in this movie is Amitabh as the lawyer Deepak Sehgal.
Why does a lawyer need to have mental health issues, aging, a dying wife and have the weird habit of wearing a gas mask to take on a tough case?
The message this sends is that no “normal” lawyer would touch such a case. The menacing looks that Deepak gives the girls, maybe in an attempt to hint at mental health issues, are just plain silly. The scenes with the wife adds nothing but extra length to the film and would have been much better shown as a montage or flashes.
Would have loved for someone like a Boman Irani to be cast, this did not need to be a vehicle for Amitabh. Or if it had to be him, he did not have to have an overpowering back story- he could just have been normal!
The first half of the movie is largely well done, the 3 girls look so natural, they could be our neighbours. The intimidation is not over the top and it flows well.
In the 2nd half, once we hit the court room the movie stalls. While the court looks real, the screenplay loses its pace, appearing stilted.
Anirudha Chowdhary, the director has fallen at the alter of Amitabh, scared to get him to play natural. Deepak Sehgal looks contrived, sadly overacting in places and does Piyush Mishra, the prosecuting lawyer.
The director takes clear leave of courtroom process, getting witnesses to come in willy nilly. The choppy screenplay kills the drama and tenseness in the courtroom, which would have served the story much better.
Even more unforgivable is the conversion of Minal’s character, but Tapsee salvages the bad writing!
The sermonising by Amitabh is unwarranted, the message would have been heard loud and clear, without him spelling out everything.
However, some of the court scenes are stellar, the cross examination of the lady cop and Rajvir are outstanding, but Tapsee’s testimony is clearly the highlight of the movie.
The closing statement from Amitabh is beautifully done and the director should have finished the movie there! Sadly he chose to go to verdict and made the biggest faux pas- the judge clears the accused of the crimes they are charged with and sentences the 3 men for crimes they have not even been tried for!!
Clearly this is a story that needs to be told and not just once, but many times. But this one just needed a bit more finesse and some sharper editing….
Rating: 3/5 (mostly for Tapsee & Kirti)