Making movies with a hard-hitting social message and at the same time keeping it engaging requires some genius film-making ability. Director Anubhav Sinha showed how to do it with Article 15.
Article 15 is based on the gruesome Badaun rapes and murder in Uttar Pradesh. Two minor girls belonging to lower castes are found hanging from a tree. IPS officer Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) takes charge of the case.
Ayan, who has mostly stayed out of India, is shocked to see the discrimination happening on the basis of caste in the area. Not just among the commoners, casteism is deep-rooted among people in uniform as well. It did not take much longer for him to understand that the crime, which was initially portrayed as a case of honour killing, actually is a hate crime committed to reminding the particular community of their "status".
The honest officer tries hard to dig out the culprits, but he faces several hardships in the investigation, mostly due to the fear engrossed among people of lower castes, and dishonesty of a few in the police department.
Ayushmann delivers a powerful performance, but it is the supporting cast that actually rises the bar higher. Actors including Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub did a fabulous job.
Article 15 is fast, crisp and highly engaging. There is no point where the film gets dull. Direction and cinematography are excellent. One scene that requires a special mention is where a man with no protective gear goes down inside a filthy manhole to clear it and emerges out in a completely messy condition. The scene has no dialogue but speaks out a lot in a very subtle manner.
There are no songs to disrupt the flow of the film. The movie is blessed with some impactful scenes, strong dialogues and a very meaningful social message.
Although the director did a fabulous job, he apparently made silly carelessness in a few scenes. One scene shows Ayushmann's character stepping into a dirty water-body with water till his thighs. However, his pants appear to be completely dry when he is out of the water in the next scene. Also, he appears to have made a few changes in the film as far as the actual incident is concerned, which might raise a few eyebrows.
Article 15 is blessed with a superb screenplay, powerful dialogues and brilliant direction. The movie may be disturbing to watch the pathetic mindset dominated by casteism in remote parts of the country, but it is high time that such issues be addressed and corrected. Go for it.