One of the many things that I liked about Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Piku’ was that it was progressive without being preachy. ‘Pink’, co-produced by Sircar and directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury is a courtroom drama that aims to throw light on several issues faced by the women in the country and the discrimination they face because on account of gender discrimination. One expects Chowdhury to deal with the subject as sensitively as Shoojit did with his earlier films like ‘Vicky Donor’, ‘Madras Café’ and ‘Piku’.
Vishwa (Tushar Pandey) and Dumpy (Raashul Tandon) rush their friend Rajvir (Angad Bedi) to the hospital after he is hit by a bottle on his head by Minal (Tapsee Pannu). Minal and her friends Falak (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) come back to their flat and are worried about the repercussions of the incident that happened that night. The next day, their landlord gets a call from a person urging him to ask the three girls to vacate his house. When the landlord does not comply, they use unscrupulous means to send across their message. When the girls realize that the people they are dealing with are dangerous, they decide to talk to them and get themselves out of the situation. That does not work and the men, who come from powerful families, use their muscle to put Minal behind bars. Deepak Sehgal, a retired lawyer who happens to live in the same neighbourhood as the three women, decides to help them out of this situation.
There have been a couple of Hindi films that have championed the cause of gender equality and have spoken against the unfair treatment meted out to women in our society. Last year, a wonderful film called ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ dealt with some of these issues in a very sensitive manner. However, that film was an exception and most of the films that pretend to talk about feminism and deal with issues faced by women, shy away from making strong statements and standing by them. They fear that if they talk about things just the way they are and present the truth in an unadulterated form, a section of the audience, which happens to be conservative or adheres to a feudal mindset would not be able to digest it. ‘Pink’ does not do that.
The film hits the nail on the head and does not mince words when it talks about the atrocities a society, deeply rooted in patriarchy, inflicts upon women. It would not be surprising if a bunch of people who come to watch this film will not concur on the message that it aims to send across. Girls who come from ‘good families do not drink, wearing a short skirt is inappropriate, if you accompanied a man to his room you were asking for it’ – these are some of the statements that will play out in the minds of some of the people who will watch this film. This sort of a mentality needs to change and that is exactly why we need more such films to be made. The writers should be lauded for sticking to their conviction and not resorting to any cheap tricks to appease a section of the audience which is not as open-minded. There is, thankfully, no sugar coating, no subtle hints and the message is delivered the way it should be. The audience is given enough scope to analyse the incidents that unfold on the screen and then, decide as to whose side they are on. The key incident that drives the film is shown in the closing credits. In the opening credits, you only get to hear some dialogues and then, you see an injured Rajvir being escorted by his friends. Though the film takes a firm stand, as a viewer you have the discretion to decide who is right and who is wrong.
While the film is a superior product by itself, Amitabh Bachchan’s character serves as a strong pillar which it stands on. The actor gives the character gravitas and brings out the sense of righteousness which helps you connect to it. Having seen Tapsee Pannu only in a handful of Hindi films she has done, I was not fully aware of her potential. After seeing her in this film, there is not an iota of doubt in my mind about her being a powerhouse performer. The scene in which she is confronted with some very personal questions in the court is a testimony to her talent. Despite giving a good performance in her maiden Hindi film ‘Shaitan’, Kirti Kulhari was seen in films sporadically. One hopes this film opens the door for many opportunities for her as apart from having a soaring screen presence, she is a very skilled actress. Andrea Tariang, like the role she plays, hails from the North Eastern part of the country and gets the nuances of her character right. Piyush Mishra is terrific as the defence lawyer. Angad Bedi does not get too many dialogues to mouth but brings out the menacing side of his character very well in some crucial scenes.
Aniruddha Roy Choudhary, who has several Bengali films to his credit, makes a striking debut in Hindi cinema. He demonstrates solid control over the taut screenplay written by Ritesh Shah. With the help of creative producer Shoojit Sircar (who has shot ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Piku’ in Delhi), Aniruddha adds several nuances to the film which make you feel that the film is set in the capital. The hard hitting dialogues (Ritesh Shah) compliment the tone of the film. Shantanu Moitra’s background score and the only song (“Kaari Kaari”, music: Shantanu Moitra, lyrics: Irshad Kamil) that plays in the film are highly effective. The song is heard twice in the film; the first time it is played you feel it arrives too early but the second time around, the sombre song leaves the desired impact.
‘Pink’ is the most important Hindi film to have come out in recent times. It is a brave film that talks about issues with a conviction that is so rarely found in our films. In today’s times, when people standing up for women’s rights are accused of being biased and bashing up males in order to prove their point, the film shows you the mirror and makes you understand there is a reason why people champion the cause of gender equality and feminism.