Pink: Reasonably engaging and thought-provoking

Film: Pink

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Piyush Nishra, Kirti Kulhari, Tapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang, Angad Bedi, Dhritiman Chatterjee

Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s maiden foray into Hindi cinema packs a punch for sure. The director of celebrated Bengali films like ‘Anuranan’ and ‘Antaheen’ wears his social consciousness like a talisman. He is unabashed about making a film that roots for the independent self-sufficient woman who makes no bones about having the right to say no. That’s quite appreciable under any yardstick.

‘Pink’ has its three independent young women Meenal (Tapsee Pannu), Falak (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) – roommates in a posh south Delhi flat, attending a rock show and then going for dinner to a resort in Surajkund with three guys, one of whom they know from way back. Something happens and we see the three girls rushing out from the resort, slightly disheveled and gunning for home and safety. That’s how the film opens.

We see retired advocate Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) wearing an expensive gas mask and going for his daily walks to the park nearby, staring into the girls’ balcony for several minutes to the point that they are made uncomfortable and also tending to an ailing woman (Mamta Shankar) – the relationship between them is not quite clear. Then comes the anonymous calls to the landlord (Vinod Nagpal) to get them evicted, an attempt to cause bodily harm on him (the landlord) and then an audacious kidnapping, threats and molestation of Meenal.

The girls did not want to raise a stink about what happened at the resort because they come from well-bred middle class families who might not be able to face the insinuations that follow. But now they are forced to file a complaint which of course gets neglected while the complaint regarding assault and attempt to murder from the guys gets inserted. The victims become the accused and the perpetrators get to play victim…or is it the other way round?

Deepak Sehgall, who has retired post diagnosis of Bi-polar disorder, has to work up some enthusiasm to defend the girls while the prosecutor (Piyush Mishra) is much at ease going on the offensive.

While the script is faulty in its courtroom ethics, the three independent women characters stand out with spunk, courage and strength in their corner. Tapsee, Kirti and Andrea are the ones who make you sit up and pay attention.

Amitabh Bachchan couldn’t quite get his nuances right. He installs Deepak Sinha with a strong supportive voice but the character’s inner demons are never revealed other than by a conversational tag.

Piyush Mishra also goes a little over the top while Dhritiman Chatterjee as the presiding judge imbues the role with distinctive dignity. Vinod Nagpal is also first rate in a brief but memorable role.

Roy Chowdhury’s efforts are no doubt sincere but I only wish that he had gone in for a more balanced and well researched approach.

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