Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Kumud Mishra, Sayani Gupta, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub
Music by Mangesh Dhakde, Anurag Saikia
Cinematography by Ewan Mulligan
Edited by Yasha Ramchandani
Written by Gaurav Solanki, Anubhav Sinha
Directed by Anubhav Sinha
Ayushmann Khuranna has become the face of Indian Alternate Cinema which is slowly trying to change the dynamic of commercial dominated cinema structure to a more script driven film arena. This new film, Article 15, deals with caste system and the segregation of humans in the name of it. Some thrive but they do better because they are able to be the “friendly mild” person from the lower caste who ‘learns’ to respect the higher caste person more and they can be their ‘voice of reason’ against any rebellion.
Anubhav Sinha centres an investigation of three young teens who have been raped, tortured for three days and then two of them are killed by local upper caste goon who has political connections with the help of police officers. Even one good cop is dragged into the mud. Literally, Ayushmann’s character as to get into the mud to bring a solution to the problem.
Article 15 provides a clear, unflinching portrait of India’s systemic evils particularly illuminating the sins of a small town in the deep north of India as a symbol of entire division – politically, socially and subconsciously as well. Movie doesn’t really try to victimize everyone and at the same time doesn’t try to show villains are from one community only. Movie keeps moving at a space that tries to invest you in the crime investigation at the same time make you feel cringe about the divide.
The way low/high caste are shown in this film is so realistic and it’s terrifying to see how people were treated and how people got away with it so easily even in 2019. You learn a lot of things that were done in the 80s (and tradition continuing even now) so it gives a really good visual of the present era of certain areas. The symbolism (Ramayanam connection, Drainage/polluted lakes, and School) in the film are amazing, showing that casteism still exists today. It is shown in such a way that it says if the rules are not properly followed by book (Constitution) then it should be burnt.
This is best film, in recent times after No One Killed Jessica, Mulk, Mukkabaz, that touches on segregation by caste in society and talks about what should be done by people/us to identify the issue and make things right. It’s packed to the brim with superb—but never too loud—performances, top to bottom.
Ayusshman performs as if he is the person who is in the situation. Isha Talwar, Kumud Mishra and others perform with subtility showcasing their talent in understanding the complexity of the subject well. Anubhav Sinha as a director/narrator dwells so deep into the characters that his stylistic over the top loud action entertainers like Dus, Ra.One look like utter waste of time from him. This is a good watch and must for those who try to fight these wars on social media than in reality.