Article 15 is a 2019 Indian crime drama film directed by Anubhav Sinha and produced jointly by Zee Studios and Benaras Media Works. Written by Gaurav Solanki and Anubhav Sinha, it stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa and Sumbul Touqeer.
While not based on one specific event, the film is inspired by multiple true life events including 2014 Badaun gang rape allegations and 2016 Una flogging incident. Filming began on 1 March 2019 in Lucknow. The film follows a police investigation that commences after three teenage girls go missing from a small village.
Anubhav Sinha makes a return with a compelling subject matter yet again
Let’s find out if he delivers
The movie inspired from true life incidents puts us smack in the middle of Laalgaon
We witness a song(Kahab toh lag jaayi dhak se) being sung by the villagers(Dalits/Lower Caste/Scheduled Caste) which describes their plight in comparison to privileged folks
We see this sequence being played out in the foreground while the backdrop suggests the beginnings of a heinous crime
This entire sequence gives way to the arrival of the new IPS Officer(played by Khurrana) with a song by Dylan playing out in the background
This particular opening sequence sets the mood for what’s to follow
Bureaucracy, the ease to please, sycophancy, disparity in treatment of different levels of designations is amply evident
All of this is a setup for the 2nd Act as Ayushmann’s character is trying to adapt to all the Quirks of the town
It is fun when you see him and his wife conversing about these Quirks and their reactions to them
The crime that occurs right after his arrival is what starts the ball rolling for the 2nd and the Final Act
Thus, here onward it is a journey of the Why and How the Cop begins a Lone Crusader
His Crusade is based on the need for Truth, Justice and Equality
So, does this one deliver?
Yes, you’re damn right it does!
Anubhav Sinha crafts a Socio-Politico Thriller with smart allegories that portray hidden meanings
So, what doesn’t work?
- A slight dip in place between the 2nd and Final Act tends to drag, however it is a narrative trope
- This drag is essential as it leads to layers being unveiled and narrative arcs achieving closure
What Actually Works?
- The deft humor inherent to the individual characters and their quirks
- The dialogues that are delivered without any attempt to appease
- The impact of these dialogues are immaculate and hit you in the gut
- Sinha infuses them with subtle humor while highlighting the atrocities
- This ruse ensures we remember our reality cannot be ignored no matter the laughs
The Cinematography by Mulligan is truly Haunting, Searing and Eventful
- It invokes a sense of impending doom all along at every point of the narrative
- Certain shots have been executed with such beauty that you’re left gazing with awe
- Look out for the sequence where Khurrana’s character drives off leaving behind a cop with a task
The Musical Score for Article 15 adds to the effect of dread and in a few key sequences put you on the edge of the seats
The Performances in Article 15 work in Perfect Synchronization
- All actors in this movie; be it minor or major, work like well prepared parts of an Orchestra
- They all work in tandem with each other capturing the essence of the setting
- The dialects, eccentricities and their body language capture what the Director intended
- They essay their place in society just by being the character
- The entire cast does this with effervescent zeal and conviction
- Pahwa, Mishra, Gupta, Arora, Ayyub and Talwar are some of the ones leading this cast
- Lastly, I would want to talk about Khurrana!
Ayushmann pulls off the role of this Cop with a passion that is hard to ignore
- His initial struggles, apprehensions are portrayed with a sense of naivety
- The transformation to a confident Officer trying to do what is right is displayed seamlessly
- His attempts to weed out all that is ancient and bring in the new is beautifully essayed
- Ayushmann is truly becoming the new poster boy of Cinema that strikes a balance between content and entertainment
- However, his Intuit to pick scripts that also peddle a message is Absolutely Remarkable!
The Direction by Sinha
- His control on the narrative is on point and impactful
- Certain scenes are executed with some unflinching brutality which makes us squirm literally
- The Sequence where the drainage outside the Police Station is being cleansed(Genius)
- The Search for a missing character through the swamp lands
- A character’s disparate treatment of humans as opposed to animals
- A discussion between Police Personnel about their Voting Choices
- The hitting realization of the death of a certain character involved in the shenanigans
- Ayushmann’s final attempt to convey all information possible to an investigative officer
- These Scenes are truly evocative of how much we want to deny these truths yet fail to do so
- The last sequence which leads to a destruction of all invisible barriers of caste and creed
Article 15 truly deserves to be seen by each and every Indian Citizen irrespective of Caste, Creed, Religion, Gender, Race or Place of Birth
We cannot afford to have any discrimination on this aspect
After all, yeh Raita Purana Hai!
I truly believe that Bahut Farq Hogaya, Ab Fark Laana Hai…
Toh, Shuru Karein Kya?