Thursday, April 23, 2015

" Court " the film.

The Multi language  film "Court "  was released last week .My parents wished to watch it. We had read reviews by Shanta Gokhale & others. .All had immense praise for the movie.So ,we decided to watch it as soon as it was possible. We finally got to watch it yesterday.Well ,the movie is worth a watch not just once but many times over.

It tells the story of Narayan Kamble a folk poet who pens poems & sings them on stage .A BMC ( Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai ) cleaner of gutters, Pawar  is found dead. Kamble is accused of causing the death by aiding &  abetting Pawar's suicide. Kamble had performed in the slums where Pawar resided .It is alleged that Kamble's songs & performance  instigated Pawar's death.

Narayan Kamble is arrested. His lawyer,Mr Vora is a Gujarati .At one stage, he says that he is unable to understand the public prosecutor speaking in Marathi.The judge says that he will translate it for him. The bail application keeps getting postponed & postponed for some reason or the other. Just goes to show that delays are the only reality of our judicial system.The police officer makes excuses for the absence of the witness. The judge reprimands him & yet ,the feeling it evokes is of indifference & apathy. Nobody seems to be bothered about the death of the sweeper. The State is more inclined to make a scapegoat of the poet more than anything else.  After all ,such small & irrelevant things keep happening in Indian metros.

The  dead man's wife tells the court that he used to drink & then enter the gutters for obvious reasons. No gloves, masks and or gum boots were ever provided. Her evidence makes the audience cringe. And if this is the indifference, shown by one of the richest Municipal Corporations in Asia  , it is better to leave things unsaid about other municipal bodies .

Narayan Kamble ,the poet is made to look like a terrorist by the police & the State .This evokes humour. There are no bombs, no guns & yet his singing of songs exhorting people to revolt is enough to arrest him on charges of Sedition under the Indian Penal Code .Sedition is waging war against the Government by law established.

Pawar's wife says that if she keeps attending the hearing at court,she will lose whatever savings she has .Mr Vora offers to help financially.She declines & tells him to find  employment for her. This makes one ponder about the quiet dignity & self respect of the woman in times of grief .Such scenes make the movie very poignant .Kamble gets bail & how .And yet, the case has not ended Kamble has  constantly been under the State lens for his alleged activities of giving speeches, singing songs, publishing etal .His lawyer pays the bail amount. Kamble protests & the lawyer tells him," Please do not worry.This case is going to go on long & you can pay me later ." All the parties know that no case ever ends in our judicial system,especially irrelevant ones like arrest &  charging  artists of instigating people against Governments.Yet ,the law enforcers will strictly pursue such cases while the criminals,black marketeers, rapists,murders go about freely creating horror & havoc. Maybe, the police believe that the terror unleashed by such elements is enough to maintain peace.And they can do the real task of protecting the State,  from elements like Kamble !

Kamble is booked again .Will his lawyer bail him out this time ? And what about his health ? Kamble is a senior citizen & ailing in health. Will the judge grant  relief in time & on what grounds ?

All the actors have acted superbly.The court scenes are subdued & real . and yet the irony of the judicial system  hits home very hard. It leaves one questioning our judicial system ,our metros,the sweepers who keep our surroundings clean & just about everything else that is going wrong. It makes us aware of the pitfalls & the irony of  it all.

This film  won  the Luigi De Laurentils ( Lion of the Future Award ) for Tamhane,the director at its premiere at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in September, 2014 .This movie was awarded  the best feature film award at the 62nd  National Film Awards.It has won 18 other awards at various international film festivals .

In the film, there were subtitles in English throughout the film. Moreover,the Gujarati lawyer speaks in Hindi,English & Gujarati. So,non Marathi audiences can understand the film with ease.

I felt ,that I was back again in the courtroom which I had left years back for a desk job. The Industrial  & Labour court where I started learning the nuances of law was just the same as the courtroom in the film.It was yesterday once more !

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