“These boys must realize that NO ka matlab NO hota hai, usse bolne wali ladki koi paricheet ho, friend ho, girlfriend ho, koi sex worker ho ye aapki apni biwi hi kyu na ho. NO MEANS NO AND WHEN SOMEONE SAYS NO, YOU MUST STOP”
As I write here, my hands tremble, my throat feels an unsettled lump, my eyes fails to stop the tears from flowing, I can’t believe I just heard this, this one sentence is all what we are fighting for! The whole struggle is about this‘NO’; forget about being understood it’s never even heard. The very reason to feel strange on hearing this dialogue in a film is because I have been hearing “ek ladhki ki naa mein hi uski haan chupi hoti hai” not just in real life but also in mainstream cinema reinforcing this unreal concept.
“Pink” directed by Anniruddha Roy Chowdhury is a film that revolves around the lives of three independent working women Meenal, Falak and Andrea and how an incident one night at a resort near Surajkund involving some boys proves to be life changing for them. What follows next is a powerful and mirroring courtroom drama where a lawyer Deepak Sehgal played by Amitabh Bachchan not only represents them but fights for every women who is judged, stereotyped and humiliated on roads, home, public and private spaces because they practice their choice. The film talks about consent and choices loud and clear.
“Kisi bhi ladhki ko kisi bhi ladhke ke sath, kabhi bhi akele nahi jana chahiye, kyunki aisa karne pa waha ke log ye assume kar lete hai ki wo ladhki willingly wahan pe aayi hai aur unhe usse touch karne ka license issue kar diya gaya hai”
The film starts with the black screen with credits written in the white color without any music or background score which prepares the audience about the intensity they would be witnessing in the film,after a while there is conversation between men and women, some shrieks but no video! Then appears 3 men in a car out of which one is injured and bleeding profusely and in the next scene 3 women who appear to be scared, lost and in hurry, the audience simply has no clue as to what had happened! This conversation unfolds at the end of the movie where what actually happened is revealed that hits really hard.
The film portrays brilliantly how lives of girls’ are always under the scrutiny of society, they are judged on the basis of the clothes they wear, the time at which they are coming back to their home, who is coming to drop them or with whom they are going! And all the hell break loose after the Surajkund incident, a friend of Rajveer who was not even present at that incident (the guy was injured) tries to take revenge by threatening their landlord, verbally abusing them on phone, kidnapping and assaulting Meenal (played by Taapasee Pannu)sexually.
The film also shows dark realities that women faces when they want to report the crime- instead of writing the FIR, the police inspector questions the victim and tries to convince her to rethink on the decision, neighbors questions their character when police arrests the protagonist etc. ‘Pink’ also throws light on the how girls from north east are subjected to more sexual violence as compared to other girls and character assassination.
At the same time the film also shows the important aspects of the legal system and how it can support women in distress- like Zero FIR, Section 354- Any person who assaults or acts in a manner with the intent to outrage her modesty can be charged under this section, Section 503, women and minors can get bail on weekends and Section 164- a woman can record the statement with only one police officer and a woman constable in a convenient place.
“Pink” has a gripping, convincing and realistic plot with hard hitting and potent dialogues. The director succeeds in extracting natural performances from all the actors and makes a meaningful film which strikes the right chord with the audience.Taapasee Pannu convincingly plays the role of Minal Arora, the brave, present day bindaas Delhi girl. She brings out vulnerability of her character with ease when she is jailed and when she faces courtroom trial. Her anxiety, frustration, strong will and angst against system’s hypocrisy is so real that it scares a hell out of me.
Kirti Kulhari as Falak is equally superb as performer. The scene where she tries to apologize and close the fight and then end up warning the rich spoilt brat Rajveer gives me goose bumps. One of the courtroom scene, where she breaks down when the opposition lawyer keeps arguing they have no character and have taken money to do all this is laudable!
Amitabh Bachachan as aged defence lawyer Deepak Sehghal shines like no one else. His entry in the mask, to the way he looks at Minal in the park to the power packed performance in the courtroom leaves me awe-stuck. His well-modulated tone, satirical sarcasm, conversations inside the courtroom adds more power to the well-written dialogues.
“Hamare yaha ghadi ki sui, character decide karti hai.”
“Sharab ko yaha ek galat character ki nishani maana jaata hai, sirf ladkiyon ke liye. Ladkon ke liye to ye sirf ek health hazard hai!”
He digs at society and its pseudo one sided norms and prejudices towards women in the form of “The Rule Book of the Girls’ safety manuals” as enumerated by Deepak Sehgal from time to time. And then he says “We are mistaken, we must save our boys. Only when we save our boys then only girls will be saved”
And yes no other actor would have essayed this role better than Mr. Amitabh Bachchan! Also if anyone has a problem “Why a man has to take stand for women in the movie?” then please stop right there, think and reflect on the question. It is because our patriarchal society, rudimentary mindset refuses to hear ‘NO’ from a woman and very conveniently stigmatizes her character and probably that’s why a 75 years old man has to stand up and say it so that people can hear it.
“Na’ sirf ek shabd nahi… apne aap mein pura vakya hai. Ise kisi tark, spashtikaran,explanation ya vyakhya ki jaroorat nahi hoti”
Ritesh Shah, writer of the film has worked magic with the words! Kudoos to everyone associated with the film :-)