The idea of Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is loosely based on the infamous Badaun gangrape and the various twists and turns the case sees over the course of the investigation. The film opens with a song—“Kahab to lagi jaaye dhak se” being rendered in a group where talk of disparities is foremost.
It speaks of how the Dalit community is having to bear the brunt of a deep wedge on castelines. The film is also about how the police are playing in the hands of highly placed people who would go to any extent to harm humankind, especially girls and stoke passions.
Murders, violence, lynching in West UP often referred to as the Wild Wild West has become the order of the day.
Entering the story with Bob Dylan’s iconic Blowing in the Wind, the film is a strong comment on how media and the police both crawl when asked to bend by the high and mighty. A murder most foul where it is suspected a gangrape has occurred, is causing terror in the minds of the people of Lalgaon.
People are tightlipped, meanwhile the cops are trying to hush up things so that the minister is away from harm’s way.
Even as the rape case starts to develop as a ghastly and heinous crime, newspapers and media are turning a blind eye.
GDP news makes it to Page 1 but this story from a non descript village does not. Parallels are drawn between Nirbhaya and Lalgaon.
Question here is why does only the national capital make up a part of news agenda. FIRs take ages to lodge. The cops are lackadaissical. Concocted FIRs, half baked truth, false post mortems give the viewer reason to believe that a dangerous game is at play here.
The film makes a fleeting reference to Bhim Sena chief Chandrashekhar Azad and how the Hindutva card has often been a poll time rhetoric especially to garner votes.
The film also shows how the tension is kept simmering so that Brahmins and Dalits do not combine forces, since they are considered a lethal combine.
Dialogues like – We are Harijan, bahujan but not jan. Power ki alag hi jaat hoti hai and Us kitaab ki hi ye nahi chalne dete jiski shapath lete hain are indirect but important references to the Constitution of India which was shaped by the Father of the Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
As a tough cop, Ayuhsmann Khurana is charged of being prejudiced towards caste, who notably raises the point of how a Dalit is not given a 3 rupee wage hike in daily wages for their caste affiliations.
As a CBI officer who takes over the case tries to act smart with the cop, pat comes the dialogue from Ayushmann – Delhi mein yes sir yes sir ki jagah no bolna chahiye zyada se zyada maar hi diye jayenge
A film tailor made for Ayushmann after the actor wanted something on the lines of Mulk, the actor does justice with a not so run of the mill performance proving his class, beyond his chocolate hero image.
Ayushmann has an impact which is measured and natural cutting through the usual star-struck film culture with not many popular faces
The film revolves around the main character Ayan played by Ayushmann Khurana. Supporting character Nishad is equally captivating. Ayan as a character is also in some ways symbolic of the clear disconnect between the urban and rural milieu.
Isha Talwar as Aditi is good in parts. The writer Gaurav Solanki and filmmaker Anubhav Sinha address those who can dismiss caste talk. The core point in the discourse is – Sab barabar ho gaye to raja kaun banega?
The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Ronjini Chakraborty, Nasser and Ashish Verma
A 130 minutes film it captures well the Una floggings and the Badaun gangrape.
Ayan’s friend Satyendra’s character remains vague and undetermined.
The tagline of the film states —“Farq bahut kar liya, ab farq laayenge.
With this film after outings like Mulk, Anubhav Sinha is finally back. Unlike Sairat and Dhadak, Article 15 drills the point hard.
Article 15 falls under Part III of the Constitution of India, dealing with fundamental rights of each citizen. It secures them from discrimination by the State on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any other.
In Badaun, two minors from Dalit Maurya community were kidnapped, gangraped and hanged from a tree in Badaun in May 2014. Something condemned strongly by even the United Nations.
All five key accused, including two cops are arrested. Politicians then called for a thorough probe, meanwhile a Special Investigation Team is formed to investigate the brutal killings. even as contradicting statements come in,
CBI drops charges against five accused – Pappu, Awadhesh and Urvesh Yadav (brothers) and constables Chhatrapal Yadav and Sarvesh Yadav. Later in October 2015, POCSO court rejects CBI closure report.