Article 15 – Review

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Maharashtra has always been touted as the number one industrial state in the country.

During 2005, due to the demise of a dear one, I decided on a road trip in Diwali to take my father away from Mumbai and spend some time at a hill station called Chikhaldhara (700 kms). Sonny was an infant than, so took a driver along. It would also help me to scribble some notes. We took an overnight halt at Shegaon, a pilgrimage center.

We started again early morning, but lost our way (no gps than). Going through tribal villages, what we observed was abject poverty, we could not believe that this was our own state – number one in India.

And yet when we took an halt for a cup of tea at a rundown shop, and some milk for our son, the shopkeeper flat refused to take money for the milk, saying it would be a sin as it was for a child. Humbled beyond our words, we bought some biscuits that he had.

That man is the essence of India, the state that he is in, is because of the blind, greedy and lethargic bureaucracy and politics. We reached our destination eventually.

However this movie is about the majority of India which is rural india, and feudal mindset is more prevalent in the states of uttar pradesh and bihar.

The movie is based on the true story of two sisters who were gangraped and hanged from a tree in Badayun district, Uttar Pradesh. If I am not wrong similar incidents were reported in Ghaghar, Sambhal in the same year.

Two girls insist on being paid 3 rupees more with a contractor and threaten to leave and work for another. They do so on not being paid and are followed by more. They along with their younger sister are chased by goons. The younger one runs away into a jungle through a swamp.

#AyushmannKhurrana is Ayan Ranjan, an newbie urban IPS officer. Having returned from abroad, he is not so sure of this “India” he is looking at, and lets us know of his thoughts through whatsapp chats with his girlfriend whose answers seem as its his conscience. Khurrana is on a roll with a performance that is easily his best till date. Manoj Pahwa as the corrupt police Brahmdutt is excellent and a surprise too as usually he is typecast as a comedian.

#SayaniGupta is a chameleon. One of the better actors around for sure. #ZeeshanAyub as a Dalit naxal is good too.

The movie may remind you of Mississipi Burning – a cult movie today. Do not miss the Bob Dylan song in the beginning – How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?.. Blowi’n in the wind.

It is the cinematography that immerses you in rural india and also into sewage. Literally scares you about this other face of India, where you may work along side one another but cannot eat from the same plate.

This is the “balance” or “santulan” which needs to be maintained among different castes and religion else there would be chaos – advises Brahmdutt to Ayan.

Unfortunately our elected reps continue to exactly do that, maintain this distorted balance and rule us.

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