Article 15 movie review: Powerfully painful & soothingly healing

Bingo!!. How to twine a real-life tragedy as a thriller to impart a bitingly trenchant commentary on caste divides that underlines a sweepingly fearless and relevant political comment?. Anubhav Sinha's ARTICLE 15 does that.

ARTICLE 15 movie review is here. Directed by Anubhav Sinha and produced by Zee Studios and Benaras Media Works. The movie is based on Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra and Manoj Pahwa, ARTICLE 15 is releasing on June 28 2019. Does it makes the right noise?. Let’s find out in ARTICLE 15 movie review.

Immediate reaction when the end credit rolls
Bingo!!. How to twine a real-life tragedy as a thriller to impart a bitingly trenchant commentary on caste divides that underlines a sweepingly fearless and relevant political comment?. Anubhav Sinha’s ARTICLE 15 does that. Certainly Anubhav Sinha is a filmmaker who is unflinching in making cinema that matters the mind, heart and soul. MULK dealt with the nation, ARTICLE 15 deals with people of this nation who are still slaves of the caste and religion prejudice.

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Memorable moments
Quite a few. This may dilute the excitement and label us as spoilers but cannot resist to say one dialogue from the movie which sums it all = kabhi harijan, kabhi bahujan, jana gana mana wale jan toh kabhi bane nahi (translation may spoil the impact, a true Indian and a human will get the point instantly).

The Story of ARTICLE 15
Based on Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The movie is inspired from the 2014 Badaun gang rape allegations and other true incidents.

IPS officer Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) gets transferred to Lal Gaon a place in Uttar Pradesh. It’s just one day Ayan has joined his duty, corpse of two minor girls Shalu and Mamta is found hanging on a tree and one more girl – Pooja is missing. All the girls belong to the village dominated by SC, ST, and backward/Dalit community. Gaura (Sayani Gupta) and fathers of Shalu and Mamta had tried to file a police complain but in vain.

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The assistant police officers in Ayan’s team Brahmdutt Singh (Manoj Pahwa) and Jatav (Kumud Mishra) and his PA Mayank (Ashish Verma) don’t pay much attention to the matter. But Ayan smells something fishy and things take a serious political turn when leaders of upper caste – Mahant and Nishant (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub) start getting involved.

Writing
Human and the prejudice about the said origin (caste, sect) is a poison that is getting transmitted since centuries and the writers Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki waste no time in plunging the audience into a series of dehumanization sequences that at times is far from comfortable viewing, but its brazen and brutal look at the caste divide and discrimination which is necessary. It comes out with penetrating truths, unpleasant facts. Dialogues are clap worthy – for example – we don,t need heroes, we need people who don,t wait for an hero. There are moments of sly humour as well.

Direction of Anubhav Sinha
The man does it again. After the brilliantly thought provoking MULK, Anubhav Sinha now throws light on the caste divide plight in ARTICLE 15. Opening as a thriller drama then penetrating into painfully unsettling issues of caste system that underlines the plight of women, the abuse and misuse of power, the toxic male machismo, the polarization and the politics behind with stunning sequences and brilliant metaphor right from the word go. The image of Ayushmann Khurrana walking over a pile of garbage has stayed in my mind. So telling and the climax. ARTICLE 15 is a refined work by Anubhav Sinha that doesn’t chest beat about its qualities. The ability of the helmer to go deep in the depths of such cruelty by humans towards humans provokes recognition and an urge for redemption in no matter what religion, caste, creed and sect we belong. There is wit, humour, melancholy, disgust, anger, tears and hope with a lasting comment.

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Ayushmann Khurrana
Ayushmann Khurrana ups his ante in a role that can make Aamir Khan proud. His control nuance and probing eyes does all the talking. Excellent – arguably his most intense performance till date.

Performance of other actors
A showcase of acting brilliance by renowned talents like Manoj Pahwa – outstanding. Kumud Mishra – exceptional. Sayani Gupta – brilliant. Aakash Dabhade – Satyendra Rai – praiseworthy. Ashish Verma  as PA Mayank is very natural. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub nails it with perfection. Ronjini Chakraborty – very impressive. Veteran Nassar is in his element. Isha Talwar as Aditi is competent.

Technicalities
Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography is extraordinary and well toned as per director’s vision. It works as a metaphor as well. Amazing. Nikhil Kovale’s production design is authentic. Yasha Ramchandani’s editing is fine.

Music
Mangesh Dhakde’s music is as per the flavor of the movie.

Flaws
Disturbing at places (actually it’s an achievement for those who have an eye and ear for good sensible cinema) but those looking for more masala may find something missing. A couple of incidents take place without proper explanation.

Final words
ARTICLE 15 by Anubhav Sinha is the resilience of one man triggered by a tragedy faced by a particular community which in fact reminds the horrors and inhuman behavior of a certain section of humans towards a certain section of humans since centuries. It’s a reminder how the cruel caste and religion divide has resulted in countless souls beaten down, literally and metaphorically. Powerfully painful & soothingly healing, an empowering piece of cinema that offers hope and salvation that is so necessary in today’s time. Very highly recommended.

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Critic review
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