Pink: Not Hard Hitting Enough

So I watched Pink as everybody was going gaga over it. I was curious. Was it really a pathbreaking film? Or was it another of those films praised to the skies by the media due to sheer dearth of decent films in Bollywood?

Shoojit Sircar & co do have a decent track record. Those films are not necessarily masterpieces but generally enjoyable with a well intentioned message. So, I walked into the theatre with a glimmer of hope but without any excessive enthusiasm. I have not seen his other flms but they seemed to be generally well received. This one has been directed by Bengali director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

To be honest, the film mostly achieves what it sets out to do. It delivers a message regarding consent on part of the women in the sexual matters. It should have been obvious anyway but in a society like this, it had to be told, and told by someone with the stature of Amitabh Bachchan to sound convincing. Secondly, a message film like this with a lightweight crew would have sunk without a trace. But this film is doing well commercially. So, we can hope that a good number of people will see it and at least some of them will rethink about their values and attitudes.

The film is also backed with good performances, not only by Bachchan but also by female leads as well as the supporting actors playing characters such as the male chauvinistic offenders as well as corrupt and incompetent cops.

Still, the film left me somewhat unsatisfied and I’d like to explain why.

Firstly, the core of the film, i.e. the court case, felt weak. Both sides kept repeating male chauvinistic barbs and emotional feminist preachings respectively. Is this how a real court case works? There was no clinching evidence or pursuasive, rational argument to prove or disprove anything by the two seasoned lawyers. When a film is designed as a courtroom drama, one expects more intricacies and twists during the proceedings.

Another problem I had was the character of the opposition lawyer played by Piyush Mishra. Much as I admire Mishra’s past work as actor, lyricist, and singer, this one stuck out like a sore thumb. His portrayal was hilarious and over the top and would have been a perfect fit for Damini or Aitraaz but to a realistic, slice of life film, this treatment does a great disservice.

Another aspect that bothered me was that the makers took the easiest route to define the villains, typical politically connected MCPs of Delhi. Haven’t we already seen them in No One Killed Jessica? The problem with them is that they are easy to hate and everybody else probably hates them already. This just takes the focus away from the real issue, that of misogyny in the society which is present at different levels of the society. Some for the worst real life offenders in recent memory were from underprivileged classes. So, that kind of characters would have been much more disturbing and hard hitting.

So, overall I think Pink was indeed a decent attempt but it remained just that, decent! Also, I am not sure why it is even named Pink. A feminine stereotype of a name for a film against stereotypes? They had to think a bit more!

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