Film: Article 15
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa,
Duration: 140 min
Anubhav Sinha, who presented Mulk last year with talented actors like Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu, bagged an even more controversial story with an impeccable actor like Ayushmann Khurrana. This is the first time the actor is seen in a cop role, which will be miles apart from Dabanggs and Singhams, but will have the same impact, on and off the screen. Ayushmman starrer Article 15 is based on real events that took place during the Badaun gang-rape case in Uttar Pradesh. While the story sets in the same space, it borrows from the real events to tell a similar breathtaking tale.
The film makes for a great story done right with casting, screenplay, music, and direction by Anubhav Sinha. Other than Ayushmann we have Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, and more who bring the story to life. The film starts with a group of people from the lower cast singing a song that talks about how their lives are different from the Brahmans, who have chandeliers and can send their kids to school and tuitions, while they have no electricity, and have to send their kids for labour work. Unphased by the reality they have accepted their fate and life they live, but it soon changes when IPS officer Ayan Ranjan aka Ayushmann agrees to lend a hand and search for the missing kid.
Article 15 is filled with moments that defy its genre, sensitivity, and takes on a bold face with witty humour, killer comebacks and a screenplay that inspires immediate reaction from the audience. Ayushamann Khurrana shines bright as the IPS officer, who is out of place, in the dull tone of the film that matches its grim theme. Even though the story focuses on the case, Aysuhamann's investigation we see a glimpse of Ayan Ranjan, his life and its influence on him. Similarly, in 140 mintues, we see and understand every pivotal character in the film, which makes it a gripping thriller.
The direction leads the film smoothly throughout the first half into a rising climax, while Article 15 wants to inspire a conversation and express the angst of a certain community and the inhumane case it never preaches or steps out of the line. In fact just like, in reality, we see political, media, criminal, legal, and even religious influences on the script, but there too it does not falter and keeps a tight grip on the message it wants to share. Anubhav has been very mindful of his audience, while the IPS introduces Article 15 to his unit members the Constitution Page remains on screen for a long while so that viewers can read and take a look.
Overall, the film leaves an impression as a story, and as an art form to keep in mind for years to come. Article 15 is a guideline on how to present sensitive cinema.