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‘Pink’ movie review: Punctures patriarchal mindset flawlessly

Tamanna Naseer/thestatesman.com |

Film: Pink

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Angad Bedi, Piyush Mishra, Dhritiman Chatterjee

Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
 
Rating: ****

Some girls drink and smoke without a care. Some often strut around in mini dresses. Some of them indulge in pre-marital sex. Well, the generic argument (yes, even in the 21st century) is, they probably do not belong to good families (achche ghar).

Unfortunately and unjustifiably, a woman’s code of conduct is always under the scutinising gaze of the society, unlike the case of the opposite gender. With ease, debutant director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Pink addresses the matter and the parochial mindset which paints the picture of an achchi ladki (good girl) by depicting the relatable tale of three working women who share a flat in South Delhi—Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea Tariang (Andrea).

One night, the three women attend a rock concert with a schoolmate of Minal, Vishwa (Tushar Pandey) and his friends Rajveer (Angad Bedi) and Dumpy (Raashul Tandon). After the show, they dine in a resort in the outskirts of Delhi, Surajkund. In an inebriated state, Rajveer tries to molest Minal and Dumpy tries to touch Andrea who hails from the northeastern state of Meghalaya, inappropriately. To protect herself, Minal hits Rajveer with a bottle and the three flee from the resort. 

Next, the hurt man and his supportive friends set out to take revenge. The episodes drag everyone to the court and an ‘attempt to murder’ complaint is filed against Minal. The women’s neighbour Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), a retired lawyer returns to fight for them against Rajveer who belongs to an influential political family and his mates. What follows is a court room drama and what sets this film apart is the believable, unadulterated and hard hitting scenes emoted brilliantly by the actors.

It is not surprising to see Taapsee get into the skin of Minal, a Delhi girl with such ease and perfection as she belongs to the city herself. Kirti as the matured Falak raises the bar on many occasions where she breaks down, yet remains unruffled. Andrea, who was born in Meghalaya in real life as well, plays the relatively smaller role by the same name with utmost honesty, reflecting how any connection with Northeast India gives others the warranty to draw a question mark on your character.

Similarly, Angad does not go overboard in any frame. He speaks fluent English and wears decent clothes like any highly educated rich man residing in the national capital does and knows the definition of an achchi ladki (the same archaic definition) and doesn’t forget to say janta nahi mein kaun hun (Don’t you know who I am) when in trouble like many Delhiites. Although, given very limited screen space and time, Tushar Pandey and Raashul Tandon also played their roles well.

While many residents of the capital often complaint that every men residing in the city cannot be painted with the same brush, Pink roughly touches this sensitive issue by showing a few individuals who depict the good-natured Delhi men in the true sense by refusing to desert the women during their tough time.

Like an audience to the courtroom proceedings, Dhritiman Chatterjee as the judge almost blurts out dialogues which cross the viewers’ mind while witnessing the cross-questioning sessions. With dramatic facial expressions, Dhritiman nails his part. Noteworthy is Mamata Shankar’s presence in the film. Even as an ailing partner, she understands and supports lawyer Deepak who suffers from bipolar disorder and adds a soothing tone to the script.

Abhik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography underlines the heart of Delhi and the camera captures some unique visuals reminiscent of the capital and its calmness!

The background score by Shantanu Moitra fills in the void whenever the screenplay goes a bit slower. The well-timed song Kaari Kaari in the beautiful voice of Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch pierces through the soul of the narration.

Although the courtroom proceedings in Pink is inspired by the 1988 Hollywood flick The Accused, director Chowdhury delicately handles the subject and captures minute details from the lecherous neighbour’s ridiculous statement to an emotional lady officer’s outbreak without making any part of it appear like forced in the narration. The editing by Bohaditya Banerjee is equally crisp and the emotions and the potent elements stand out in every frame and nothing looks hurried. Only in the first half, Amitabh’s role does not come across as very refined and the fact that he suffers from bipolar disorder is not elucidated clearly. 

From the first scene, Pink flows effortlessly. However, the two lawyers—Piyush Mishra (prosecution lawyer) and Amitabh—change the rhythm of the film and take it a few notches higher in the post-interval period. Piyush, with another praiseworthy act, protects the bad guys with his strong arguments which find their roots in the patriarchal setup that largely defines the present day societal makeup. Armoured with the best dialogues, Amitabh impeccably plants a tight slap on every nonsensical argument’s face.

Truly, Amitabh breaks the ice in crucial scenes with dry humour keeping his face straight. It is difficult to imagine any other actor enacting the way he does. What makes his role even more special is the fact that he unravels the dark undertones of the male-dominated society layer by layer listing "safety manual" for a girl and says things which every individual who is not a small-minded bigot can relate to.

Big B’s performance echoes the sentiments that he recently evoked in the letter which he wrote to his granddaughters. His act touches a chord and is bound to leave an impact on the minds of the audiences. The bold voice will surely cast a magical spell and make many unlearn the achche ladki definition.

And all the women out there, do not miss Pink