By- Pallavi Sondhi
“Acche ghar ki ladkiyan drink nahi karti.”, “Have you seen how short that skirt is?”, “She was flirting with me! I obviously took it as a hint.”, etc.
How many times have we heard this?
Being a 21 year old girl from the upper -middle class strata of Delhi, I know I’ve heard it more times than I should have.
Pink is a rare film for Indian cinema, one that uses rhetoric against the backdrop of a court room to challenge the offensively misogynistic notion, that a woman’s character could be categorized into good or bad according to the length of her skirt, whether she drinks/smokes, if she hangs out alone at night with boys and of course, her virginity.
Pink, directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, does exactly this. It makes you realise that these patriarchal stereotypes have become so entrenched in our conscience and applied to an extent that as a matter of fact – we’ve forgotten that there is something grossly wrong with them.
The first half of the film, though slightly sluggish, uses shared silences, fleeting glances and an ominous subtext in conversations to subtly build up the plot to the gripping court room drama that follows the intermission.
One that will have us believe that if a girl is laughing and drinking with you freely, it obviously gives you the license to touch her, because she is “that kind of girl”. One that will have us believe that if God forbid, a woman is not a virgin, she has an available sign board on her because apparently, “Achhe ghar ki ladkiyan don’t believe in pre-marital sex” either and a woman’s virtue lies in her vagina.
WOOHs (a whole lot of them!):
- Amitabh Bachchan’s senile lawyer act is nothing short of brilliant. He uses the cross-examination of the witnesses to almost mock with little subtlety our society’s twisted concept of consent, promiscuity and a warped notion of male entitlement.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of the three girls – especially Taapsee Pannu and Kirti Kulhari. They play real women sans any candy bubblegum gloss. Independent, working, 20-somethings that you and I see everyday, struggling to live in a society that is modern in technology but so backward in thought.
- In one of its many brilliant moment’s, we see Kirti Kulhari’s character completely breakdown from the prosecution ruthlessly badgering her and yet, make a stunning comeback to smartly drive home the point that till a woman verbally says she wants it, her consent dare not be implied.
- The supporting actors are well-cast and provide just the apt amount of support to the dark and tense narrative. Angad Bedi as the over privileged brat with an inflated ego, Mamta Sgarma with her Haryanvi cop accent and Dhritiman Chatterjee as the ageing, pragmatic judge.
MEHs (there aren’t many, though) :
- The film does have certain glitches such as a slow moving first half which gradually builds pace to an enthralling ending, but yes, the opening acts are quite sluggish.
- Bachchan’s health that conveniently improves as the trial begins, which has been shown without any plausible explanation.
Being a law student, I can vouch for the fact that the court room scenes were as real and dirty as it gets and I could detect no false note in any of the performances.
Also, do stay around for the end credits as they beautifully bind the whole narrative together like a seamless and solid thriller. In the end, Pink effortlessly gets its message across – when a woman says no, there is no need for a contextual reading or interpretation. It means just that. No.
I’m going with 4 out of 5 stars. You need to watch this one!
Pallavi Sondhi is a 21 year old law student from New Delhi. She loves writing prose and poetry. She is also very fascinated with the world of cinema and enjoys watching all kinds of films. She loves to travel and has a solo backpacking trip to Eastern Europe on the top of her bucket list. She hopes to be a published author some day.