This Friday Release: Pink
Amitabh Bachchan and Taapse Pannu star in this week’s Bollywood release, Pink, a social thriller directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the film. Mr Sehgal, a legal advisor, inside the court, is all showy behavior and dramatic skill – snarling one moment, noiseless and murmuring the following. Mr Sehgal realizes that Indians, especially, the Indian man, experiences serious difficulties Indian ladies the minute the last don’t fit into the primitive desires set upon them. Screenwriter Ritesh Shah and chief Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury realize that too. Subsequently, they have made a film which drives home the point with OTT sound and rage, only the way Mr Sehgal likes to lead business; tear open the Indian skull with a heavy hammer and bore into it essential ideas of human poise, regard and respect in light of the fact that achchhe commotion is bound to happen for ladies in India. Keeping in mind doing such social administration, Pink, similar to Mr Sehgal, is never for a moment, exhausting.
The screenplay is among the best-written ones of 2016 so far (even though that list isn’t long). It is taut, does not beat around the bush and waste time in exposition; for instance, one could easily fall into the trap of ‘explaining’ where Mr Sehgal’s angst is coming from or sketch the ‘Girl-from-the-North-East’ character Andrea with more detail, but all of that would only make the film longer than necessary.
When you have a great script along with actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Piyush Mishra, Dhritiman Chattejee plus competent young performers like Taapsee and Kirti, you already have a winner in your hands. As such, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, whose Bengali films had a rather sombre, poetic, deliberate aesthetic, does not get to show much directorial flourish in Pink.
A very interesting thing about Pink is how the film holds back the details of the aforementioned ‘bad twist of events’ up until the beginning of the second half, which is essentially the courtroom part, where everything falls into place. Therefore, the audience is put in the same position as that of the judge, who has no prior information on the plaintiff or the defendant to form an opinion.
As for the performances, Mr Sehgal’s role is a cakewalk for Amitabh Bachchan. Piyush Mishra’s acting has become very predictable and his turn as the slimy lawyer here too delivers no surprises. Taapsee Pannu is excellent, but more so is Kirti Kulhari. It is refreshing to see her in a strong, demanding role after a promising performance in 2011’s Shaitaan. And last but not the least, Angad Bedi. Bedi, as the spoiled son of a politician, rages and froths with hyper-virile masculinity and institutional entitlement. He is a treat to watch.
However, as much as Pink pushes the envelope in Indian films in regard to discussion around morality, women’s freedom of choice, etc., one can see Amitabh, the grand old patriarch of Hindi cinema, playing the sole voice of women’s rights as regressive. But if not Amitabh, then who? Can one think of a more commanding voice and a more assertive personality than Amitabh Bachchan in Hindi cinema today, regardless of how many ‘women-centric’ films Kangana Ranaut has done? Pink is a giant leap, sure, but it can only leap so far. Keeping Pink as a starting point, future writer-directors should build on the foundation established by it to make more brave, more daring films on women’s issues, where one day, not Amitabh Bachchan, but a woman can stand up and speak for herself and everyone will listen.