Friday, October 2, 2015

The Court of Satire

Expectation
It’s been long that I have been contemplating to watch the much acclaimed ‘Court’. With my personal experience with the daily grind of the court, I had a hint of what story was to unfold. I thought it to be a man’s adversity heightened by the apathy of the courts and endless and meaningless trips for hearings. The last film that moved me to splinters with its thought-provoking theme and unabashed realism was Masaan. Directed by a debutant Neeraj Ghaywan, Masaan captured the quintessential small town and the lives of its characters embroiled in a series of ill-fated events. I anticipated a similar drama laced with pricking realism.

Court
The Court is light years from the larger-than-life escapist dramas and claims to create a genre in itself. It is not a Marathi, Hindi or English movie. The movie surpasses the boundaries set by language and the subtexts of socio-cultural differences of people. It is raw in its essence and greatly captures the fleeting experiences of the ordinary lives in the suburbs.
The hero here is the master craftsman himself Chaitanya Tamhane. Although not very well versed with the dynamics of film making (although I would love explore that prospect someday) but from the wide shots of a middle class kindergarten, an ordinary household  to a court room that is gradually emptied and fades into obscurity the film has succeeded in capturing the tangible reality on screen.
Narayan Kamble, a LokSahir (people’s poet), through his confrontational songs voice corporate invasion in the form of malls, aggrandized consumerism, exploitation of the working class and also the pitiable plight of that dejected part of the society that is left do manual scavenging.
The film mirrors the issues that are very much seen around today. There are hues of casteism, extremism, societal regression and the traces of the trifling xenophobia of a metropolitan towards outsiders. Although none of these are out there jarringly, the creativity lies in the perceptiveness of Tamhane who subtly juxtaposes these issues in an unobjectionable way.
This chronicle of a simple yet rebellious street artist is also a reflection of the stark reality that obliterates any hope for the righteous and those raising their voice against various social concerns. Be it disapproval from the courts or the general lack of interest by the masses, the activists’ fate here is very much condemned.
Comic by Manjul
 Kamble, the defiant poet has been framed over flimsy charges under section 306 (abetment of suicide) after a sewer worker dies while working in a sewer. What follows is a witch hunting of the activist. The absurdity of the functioning of the politico-legal system is exposed grandiosely.
The attempt of lynching or suppressing dissent is brusquely represented. The hyper-realistic depiction of the series of incidents, from court trials to the intricately woven regular lives of the defendant and the public prosecutor is remarkable
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Reflections
Curiosity had me do a Google search on 'ChaitanyaTamhane', he turned out to a 28-year-guy from Mumbai. Interestingly he began writing the script for court at the age of 24. This is evidently a genius at work. Honestly, I feel the youth have tremendous energy, intellect and yes boundless imagination.  The novel script and the movie making here puts a lot of ‘instant’ social causes at shame. A group of young people decide to make a court room drama, their efforts sum upto a much more profound and thought provoking cinema. It is an effort that is self-effacing yet hard hitting on many grounds. This movie leaves you thinking for hours. After a week of binge watching Pedro Almodóvar and Majid Majidi, the universality of the ‘Court’ much like the European and Iranian films is amazing.

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