Movie Review: Shoojit Sircar’s PINK
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Piyush Mishra, Angad Bedi, Dhritiman Chatterjee
Producers: Rashmi Sharma, Ronnie Lahiri, Shoojit Sircar
Dialogues: Ritesh Shah
Cinematography: Aveek Mukhopadhyay
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chaudhury
Genre: Courtroom drama
Rating: 4.5 stars
It’s a difficult society to live in. Deeply patriarchal to the core where women do not have an easy life and can’t breathe fresh air. When it comes to justice, the commoners often feel powerless and helpless when they knock the door of the justice system often emasculated by the powerful, rich and corrupt politicians. Women issues are not new to us. A girl getting harassed, leered or raped is a common sight. The aspersions cast on her character, she asked for it or must be soliciting the poor guys and doubling as a prostitute anger us. Patriarchy is forced down the throat.
PINK serves as a reference point, coming of age cinema that comes very rarely where it questions the system which is wrong in so many ways. It’s about women but also men. How we assume she is ready for sex with anyone if she smokes, is a working woman doing the graveyard shift, is not a virgin, sexually active or drinks! Herd mentality. Does it help our cause for a better society? I am not sure about that. PINK sends a strong and powerful message: NO! As in NO. When a woman says No to you, it means a big NO. PINK is gritty, dark, disturbing but thought-provoking. It’s gut wrenching. I couldn’t react after watching the film. The best film of the year, by far. It’s the movie to watch. Every woman in India or elsewhere must watch PINK. It has a strong message. There are no subtleties. It’s honest to the core. No overacting, theatrics. It blows the truth on your face, whether you want to hear it or not. Let’s analyze what makes PINK the best film of the year. It provokes. It breaks the silence.
The film is set in Delhi where reference is made to Surajkund resort, the place an unfortunate incident happened that will change the lives of three independent women Meenal Arora (Tapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang). They are harassed and made living hell in the city by the henchmen of Rajveer (Angad Bedi). It’s during a rock concert when the girls met the guys and defend themselves by smashing a bottle on the head of Rajveer. The entire system is on their trail, right from the corrupt cops to the henchmen when they cross path with retired famed advocate Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) afflicted by bipolar disorder.
First class and crisp editing right from the word Go as the camera inches on two separate cars, close up of the three tensed women and three privileged men showing Rajveer bruised head. There is silence. disturbing background music that haunts and a script that never fails the actors. Aniruddha Roy Chaudhury’s directorial baton doesn’t have a dull moment in this gripping film that shakes your state of being and soul. An eccentric lawyer Deepak Sehgal who plays the messiah and lends protective eyes to the three women in his locality. He roams at night like the judge which reminds one of Shahenshah. But, PINK is no commercial outing.
Amitabh Bachchan as Deepak Sehgal is sensational and he is lost, angry, sarcastic at the same time. A toned down performance by Bachchan but with a power stroke And, how! He is old and battered in a role that is considered to be one of his career’s best surpassing himself in every frame. His eyes are menacing, body language in sync where he represents the voice of reason as an enforced prayer. He is the medium that makes a sweeping statement on how we treat women in society and brandishing them as easy. Only someone like him who can enforce such a bold statement on equality. He gives a different shade to acting histrionics and courtroom drama. The legend never ceases to surprise with every film and proves that there is Amitabh Bachchan and then there are actors. He competes with himself. Bachchan will sweep all major awards.
The three girls, Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang explodes like volcano on-screen where they match Bachchan histrionic in every frame and step. The girls are sensational and show stealers in quite a few scenes. Thunderous performances. The three of them deserve applause and gives, along with Bachchan, award-winning performances. Piyush Mishra as the conniving lawyer is supremely talented and delivers a stupendous performance. Angad Bedi is menacing and plays to perfection. Ritesh Shah’s writing and dialogues along with Shoojit Sircar’s make a bold statement echoed by the three female protagonists and Amitabh Bachchan on the state of women in our society. At a time when we are hitting against patriarchy, it’s heartening to see men speaking from the point of view of women.
Stand out scenes:
1. When Deepak Sehgal walks with Meenal Arora in the park, she hides her face with the hood to avoid the glares, the former pulls it down. It’s a telling scene and what a way to hit at this hypocrite society.
2.Tapsee Pannu (Meenal Arora) lungs out, ‘Who likes to be touched like that?’ One needs to sit in silence and watch.
3.Kirti Kulhari breaks down in court and delivers one of the best scenes, effectively showing her helplessness and angst at the system, confessing to the crime of soliciting that she never committed. Superbly executed with gusto.
4.Amitabh Bachchan is the soul of PINK as the defense lawyer, asking in the crudest way to his client on her being a virgin, age she first had sex and whether she solicited Angad and his gang. He makes a powerful statement and nails it. And, how! The voice that sends a strong message that a woman’s character is not defined by smoking, having alcohol or sleeping with a man she loves. And, the monolog about women wearing shorts, men are innocent and provoked for committing rape or saving our boys for women to be safe. A much deserved statement in today’s time.
5.In the climax, the three girls clutch to Bachchan and the lady police officer in tears saluting him and after he closes his argument with ‘When a woman says No, it means No. The raw intensity in the eyes makes you sit and watch or how he destroys the lady police officer fabricated case and that of the prosecution. It simply moves you.
On the flip side, the relationship between Bachchan and the ailing lady, Sarah lacks layers and somehow has no bearing on the film’s story. It appears a bit unnecessary.
Who says PINK is a color? It’s an ideology and thought where many men, unfortunately, think that a woman should be taught a lesson for challenging them. Chauvinist male aggression is used to shut down a woman in the form of sexual violence. It’s the hard-hitting message that PINK conveys. It’s the coming-of-age cinema and credit to the team, right from Shoojit Sircar, Ritesh Shah and Aniruddha Roy Chaudhury to put across this hard-hitting message. It speaks about Assam, or other parts of the country where its inhabitants are not considered citizens. The issues are real!
A film like PINK doesn’t come every day. It’s the film of the year which deserves to be patronized to pave the way for more such path-breaking cinema. It grips and makes you uncomfortable, rightly so. It stuns, grips and makes you choke. I couldn’t react after watching this movie. A masterpiece in the truest sense. I was silent for a long time. That’s the power of PINK. The music whether it’s Kari Kari, the PINK anthem and Bachchan’s poetry in this songless flick captures and enraptures your soul. Every woman but also men not only in India but elsewhere must watch PINK.
Take a bow , say PINK to prejudices and a deeply patriarchal society. PINK! Change our attitudes. Make sure you watch PINK in theaters.