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Section 375, starring Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha is a movie that brings up the complex issue of false rape accusations and opens a debate.
An entertaining film it is, with persuasive arguments though very disturbing. A film post wake of #MeToo highlights that law is not synonymous to justice. Perhaps this movie subtly says, how even with an existential rape law, yet it’s implication not promised. And when power and money are involved, proving rape is more challenging and difficult. Otherwise, the law is easier neck’s noose for common people.
The movie is based on Section 375 under which film director Rohan Khurana (enacted by Rahul Bhatt), is accused of rape by Anjali Dangle (played by Meera Chopra), and was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years of jail. After that, Khurana’s wife implores noted criminal lawyer Tarun Saluja (Akshaye Khanna) to take up the case in the High Court.
The film is prominently a courtroom drama with heavy dialogues, mainly from the defense side. The story would have been more convincing had the prosecution got a role equal and tough as the defense, in the fight of justice. Richa Chadda does well on an otherwise underwritten role, the character she played failed to apply any rigor while building the case.
For the most part, the movie will keep you confused as what could be a possible outcome of the case, and that is the only moral victory it can claim. But, the side appears to be hitherto chosen and it diluted the cause. The film could have been otherwise an unbiased presentation of a rape case.
Section 375, that is originally intended to highlight false accusations of rape and male victim-hood, ends showing up how failing to prove offense can make it a false rape accusation.
In the story, you will never get to know what exactly happened on the date of crime, in the place of abuse; but an event reconstructed as per the lawyers’ versions. Here, the director limits the movie.
The film tries to dismiss workplace sexual harassment cases as having secondary and undisclosed motives and does a disservice to women, who have recently mustered courage to bring forth the stories of their trauma and share with the world.
It is up to you, how you view the movie and decide. I was expecting a better movie, but it gives a weak prosecution and affirms that it is yet a long way to go for the judiciary to be more sensitive towards women’s living experiences.
Image is a still from the movie Section 375
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