The film depicts that we all have conspired to remain silent even as we see the marginalised being pushed down deeper.
“We became Harijan ( coined by Mahatma Gandhi …used to address untouchables as people of God ) or bahujan ( many people ) but we never became the people,” says the activist. And, so the Dalits remain marginalized in our Bharat & never mainstream.
The film Article 15 by director Anubhav Sinha is overflowing with such innumerable dialogues which are right on spot. And there are many scenes, which are symbolic of what is happening in our nation. Article 15 is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. It prohibits discrimination & allows for reservations for upliftment of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, women & children.
This film is said to be inspired by the hanging of two girls in north India. A young IPS (Indian Police Service) appointee, Ayaan (Ayushmann Khurrana) is posted to a small town in north India. On the first day of his posting, he is prevented from meeting a group of Dalits who are his juniors by telling him that these people are forever complaining about sons & daughters who go missing and then return later. He meets his team and the contractor who is in charge of setting the toilet in the police chowki. The contractor says that a new WC will be put as the old one has become useless …symbolic of Swachh Bharat. Can a toilet signify cleanliness & that too, in every aspect ?
And the toilet muck keeps dirtying the police chowki throughout the film symbolising the quicksand of dirt & muck surrounding the nation’s police force. The political parties have used the police forces to fulfil their agendas thereby politicizing the police & ruining the reputation of the police. So much so, that the protectors have turned perpetrators .
The two missing girls are found hanging the next day, early morning before sunrise. Their bodies are sent for a post mortem. The lady doctor who is doing the post mortem is under tremendous pressure for obvious reasons. The police force personnel are nonchalant about the death of the girls and keep informing their boss, the young IPS that whatever we may do for them, it hardly matters. A furious Ayaan demands to know, “Who are they?” It is as if even mentioning the names of the marginalized would pollute them.
Ayaan talks to his writer activist wife about the case & she is all ears. The wife is his voice of conscience and he promises that he will do his best. Ayaan is trying to understand why even after half a century of India’s independence, casteism continues to ruin the nation.
Were the girls raped? Can the higher castes rape girls from lower castes even as they say that they cannot drink or eat anything touched by lower caste people? Crimes are always between unequals….the powerful perpetrator/s and the hapless victim/s. And a female and that too a Dalit, means doubly helpless. And a male and from the upper social echelon means doubly dangerous …. even fatal.
There are parallel tracks of a Dalit neta who is a rebel and his love interest. There is another track about an upper caste leader teaming up with the disadvantaged taking undue advantage of the coalition. The coalition wins and yet, can it remain viable, when casteism is lurking beneath the surface? What happens to the young fire brand leader who has gone underground? Does he get his due?
Amidst all this, the IPS officer is subject to an enquiry as he asked about the caste of his police team members. He is alleged to be partisan. He is suspended. Will he continue with his investigation? And where will it lead to? Will the dead girls get justice ?
All the actors have acted well. Even the tiny role essayed by Isha Talwar as the IPS officer’s wife is portrayed well. The director Anubhav Sinha deserves kudos for highlighting the problem of caste politics & hopefully, the country should start talking about how we can all resolve casteism.
And as the young neta says, “More people die in gutters than at the borders….” The film depicts that we all have conspired to remain silent even as we see the marginalised being pushed down deeper. We want the disadvantaged to remain stuck in the muck , so that the most unwanted work like manual scavenging, deskinning dead animals and the like is done by them.
And unless the marginalized are brought into the mainstream vide upliftment through reservations , and other means, there cannot be Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.
First published here.
The image is a still from the movie Article 15
I am a law graduate from Government Law College,Mumbai.I am a Fellow in General Insurance ( technical qualification for insurance ) .I am a homemaker at present, having worked for nearly 16 years in General read more...
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This strange love story reminds me of Princess Diana when she gave an interview about Prince Charles - "There were three of us in this marriage!”
This love was flawed and broken the way only we humans know how to break things with our ego, pride, insecurity and complexities!
Where do I even begin to tell the story of how deep a love can be, how it transcends time, place and people. Perhaps this is a story about how women are their own worst enemies. Either way it is a story that tells us how frail, fragile and fraught we are as humans and how much we hurt each other.
This love story began when I was two years old. Growing up in India in a culture that wove love stories like Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha and the epic symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, into the very fabric of our existence, love was always an integral part of our lives.
One such love story was of a boy and a girl who were neighbours. The boy, an athlete, artist and a poet, found his muse in this shy, thoughtful and in her own way poetic girl, who seemed to worship the very ground he walked on. Her face could be found in all the paintings he created, and her name in every poem he wrote. The girl called him Sagar, which means ocean, symbolizing his all-encompassing love for her.
Earlier my husband would say, 'Arey! What is there in making dal-roti? It's so simple.' After he had to cook everyday when I was ill, he has stopped saying that to me!
“Arey! What is there to do in making dal roti? Put a handful of lentils in the cooker and let it whistle and make two rotis. After all, how long will it take?” A handful of dal (lentils) and two rotis! This is the story of every woman and no one seems to understand.
Some time ago, after a shopping spree, my husband and I entered the house, exhausted. I had just about kept all the bags aside, when my husband said, “I am very hungry, can you make something.”
I looked at my husband in amazement and thought, ‘He had just had food, how did he get hungry again so soon?’
My husband, as if he had read my face, said, “Arey! You know that my stomach is not filled with outside food. Just make dal roti. What is there to do in making dal roti? Put a handful of lentils in the cooker and let it whistle and make two rotis. After all, how long will it take?”
‘Is this the way dal (lentils) and roti are made?’ The thought came to my mind. ‘After all, I also went along and now I am tired too.’ I was also getting angry at myself that after all, I had spoiled the habit of everyone in the house.
Article 15 is an essential movie dealing with some hard issues of caste and gender. Here's nuanced review by a Dalit woman writer that questions some of these.
Article 15 is an essential movie dealing with some hard issues of caste and gender. Here’s nuanced review by a Dalit woman writer that questions some of these.
I was eagerly waiting to watch the movie. While I penned down my thoughts about the trailer, I had to make certain assumptions since it was not a full-fledged text. I was just hoping to see that the movie did justice to viewers expectation.
While the film has been successful in being sensible in engaging with certain aspects of caste and gender hierarchy, it has also miserably failed to address some important questions. Interrogating and decoding the text is what this piece of writing intends to do.
As a viewer I was moved by some dialogues in the trailer. I got to know that those dialogues were written for Nishad, a young revolutionary and Ambedkarite. His resistance kept on reminding me of Ambedkar’s thoughts.
Whether it is the recent agitation over women entering Sabarimala, or practices in every religion that favour men over women, it's time to stop treating 'tradition' as something unchangeable.
Whether it is the recent agitation over women entering Sabarimala, or practices in every religion that favour men over women, it’s time to stop treating ‘tradition’ as something unchangeable.
“A tradition without intelligence is not worth having.“ – T.S. Eliot
There is a much heated debate in the Indian media after the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case of the Sabarimala and Shani shingnapur temples where the age old tradition to prohibit entry of women into these temples has been struck down by the court.
The judgment given by Supreme Court on September 28, 2018, paved the way for the entry of women of all ages into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.