'Pink' review: A feisty take on social prejudices

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Pink review: A feisty take on social prejudices

Pink is not about women power; it is about overcoming all the social prejudices that rule men with a single word, 'no', writes Deepa Gauri

By Deepa Gauri

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Published: Fri 16 Sep 2016, 1:53 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Sep 2016, 9:51 PM

 To call Pink a courtroom drama is to miss the forest for the trees. The court in this finely executed film is the collective conscience. And the audience becomes a part of the proceedings.
That, I believe, is the beauty of this film. It doesn't count for its courtroom arguments or the predictable end but for the nuances that shine through, especially in the climax. 
The story of three Indian women, living in Delhi, paraded in court on an 'attempt to murder' charge, Pink is evocative, impactful and by far the most woman-empowered movie than the gimmicky NH10s of Bollywood. 
And that is because it doesn't show the protagonists as superwomen, but as ordinary people with everyday fears, who unwittingly challenge all social prejudices that rule the minds of men. 
The arguments that Pink bring out, especially through the 'Rulebook for Women' that lawyer Deepak Sehgal (played with extraordinary command by Amitabh Bachchan), are what India needs now: More so with the disturbing incidents of violence against women reported every day. 
So it is that the film, on its surface, shows the courtroom where debates fly on the 'loose character' of the three protagonists Minal (Taapsee Pannu), Falak (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang). Pitted against them are the usual suspects - the rich, connected and powerful of Delhi - guys who can buy into anything. 
Rather than dwell on the obvious, the film puts forth one argument after another that challenges every social more that is used to character-assassinate women. And the resounding conclusion of the film is what India must drive into its boys: When a girl says no, no matter whom, who or what she is, the answer is no. 
And when the verdict is passed, the guilty looks on perplexed: They don't understand their crime. In that passing shot of befuddlement in the faces of the guilty, the film says a lot. 
Naturally, Pink is not the typical Bollywood film. It doesn't resort to melodrama. It doesn't give us back-stories of everyone. It doesn't moralise. It doesn't resort to gimmicks. Even the so-called courtroom drama is not to create villains or victims but to question ourselves on the prejudices we harbour. 
Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Pink also has some brilliant subtexts - the plight of women from the North Eastern states, for one. There can be no better and respectful tribute to the wonderful people of this region than Pink. It shows them for what they are - and it challenges the prejudices that rest deep about them in the minds of people - be it in Delhi or Bangalore. 
Pink is performance-driven. And the race is between Taapsee and Kirti as to who is better. The two are terrific and deliver such evocative performances without being over dramatic. Giving the film its strength, pull and power is Amitabh Bachchan; we are only told he is mentally unwell. But the nuances he brings out without theatrics underlines why he is Indian cinema's pride. 
For its strong jab at our collective hypocrisies, Pink indeed wins hands-down. 
Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari
Now playing at theatres in the UAE
Rating: 4/5

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