COURT is not a movie. It is brilliance in motion. It is a must-watch film.
For those actively involved in democracy, or the ones following the court proceedings of cases which involve the common man, this will be deja vu
as they will be reminded of members of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM).
Kabir Kala Manch is a cultural organization that was formed in Pune, Maharashtra, in 2002, in the wake of the Gujarat riots. Through music, poetry and theatre, it is spreading anti-caste, pro-democracy message to the society. It was made up of students and young professionals who performed protest poetry and plays in slums and streets, shaking up the cultural scene in Pune as they presented a voice for the voiceless
This cultural group came into news when the activists of KKM were framed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as being Maoists and Naxalite by the state government. In May 2011, a crackdown by the Anti-Terrorism Squad on musicians and poets accused of promoting Maoist or Naxalite ideology led to Sheetal Sathe and other members of Kabir Kala Manch going into hiding. In April 2013, Sheetal Sathe and her husband Sachin Male, also a member of KKM, surrendered to the police in Mumbai, after two of the members of KKM, Deepak Dengle and Siddharth, got bail by Bombay High Court, while maintaining that they were innocent of charges. But in spite of her pregnancy, Sheetal, along with her husband, were denied bail immediately and again on June 4, 2013 by the Mumbai Sessions Court. Finally she was granted bail by the Bombay high court on June 28, 2013 on humanitarian grounds. (Source: Wikepedia)
For one so young (27 years), Chaitanya Tamhane has shown intelligence beyond comprehension as he uses stark reality to bring you into the center of the proceedings. COURT does not tell you anything; it makes you think, and adapt and marvel at the line of story-telling technique used by Tamhane which is 'inclusive'.
You are the protagonist. You are the accused. You are the lawyer. You are the judge.
How much more can a film consume you?
The settings are real; you can almost reach out and touch it or smell the stench. The characters are not made-up; they are ordinary human beings who you will identify with and the performances are just normal, with far-reaching implications. In stark contrast is the lawyer Vinay Arora (Vivek Gomber) who is fighting the case of Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar) an ageing folk singer who is arrested and accused of performing an inflammatory song, which may have incited a sewage worker to commit suicide.
In the court he is all respectful, while at home, he is short-fused as his father is constantly nagging him. The Gujarati scenes with him and his parents, adds layers and layers of ingenuity that gives the movie this wholesome feel. It is not only the Court proceedings, but also the daily, simple life of the lawyers, including the Public Prosecutor played by Geetanjali Kulkarni and the judge played by Pradeep Joshi, that gives this simple, yet hard-hitting film the edge.
You can catch the apathy of the Public Prosecutor when she is discussing the case of the 65-year-old Narayan Kamble who has been framed when she tells her colleagues during a break, ''Throw him in jail for 20 years and forget about the matter. The same faces, the same matter...'' Watch her use archaic laws to strengthen her case.
You can even see how 'stock witnesses' are used to prolong the case and how those who have been arrested on baseless charges and are cleared by the court with no evidence a few years later are again arrested by the police on some other frivolous charges.
In the end we are given a peak into the private life of the Judge when the Sessions Court is on a month-long vacation. You make your own conclusion of his behaviour in and out of the Court.
That's the beauty of this film; it does not preach or try to influence you in any way.
COURT is a fictionalized account of hard-hitting facts!