Director Anubhav Sinha’s film, Article 15 is an intelligent and mighty interesting take on certain aspects of our Indian mindset which refuse to change even as we are rapidly progressing in other areas of life. Sinha holds the mirror to how the cruel caste system is still not only existing but also being still implemented to discriminate against our own countrymen and women.
Sinha smartly weaves in a thrilling story of a missing girl to make the film compelling, even as he shows us a mirror on how multiple discriminations are done on the basis of religion, caste, gender etc.
The story narrates the dilemma of an upright IPS officer, Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurana) who has just been transferred to a village called Lalgaon. Soon after Ayan’s arrival, three young girls go missing from the village and two of them are found murdered and hanging from a tree. Ayan is shocked that the villagers and his own colleagues (Manoj Pahwa and Kumud Mishra) seem unperturbed by the disappearances or the murders.
That’s when he realises that the callous attitude is because the girls belong to the lower caste and this is one of the innumerable villages in India where the people belonging to “upper caste” don’t even consider the others as human beings. Ayan wants to do the best he can but feels overwhelmed by the circumstances.
Sinha had earlier given us Mulk which spoke about discrimination in the name of religion and this time he picks up yet another relevant social issue of casteism. The smartly written screenplay (written by Gaurav Solanki and Anubhav Sinha), Article 15 even though dealing with a dark subject keeps us entertained by its wit and humour and its powerful dialogues.
Solanki and Sinha make sure that the writing is so tight that it keeps the viewer totally engaged. A special mention has to be made of the cinematography (by Ewan Mulligan) and background music (by Mangesh Dhakde) that blends perfectly well with the mood of the film.
The film’s strong point is also the actors handpicked by Sinha. Ayushmann fits the character of Ayan, who’s just another regular guy who wants to take the right path but is not sure if he can sustain, is totally relatable.
Ayushmann does a sincere job of playing the character. Seasoned actors like Pahwa and Mishra give good support. The women actors in the film, Sayani Gupta and Isha Talwar are also pretty good. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub who plays a small but powerful character of Nishad, a rebel whose life has taken an unfortunate turn because of the caste he belongs to, is fantastic.
Please watch this film. Such films need to be encouraged.
(Review by Shubha Shetty Saha)