Even though courtroom drama is nothing new in Bollywood, but still “Section 375”, another courtroom drama came up as one stronger movie. With influential lawyers fighting the high-profile case, power-packed punchlines, and the verdict mostly giving out a strong message, this courtroom tale is highly gripping. Yes, with actors Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha in pivotal roles, the movie based on Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) effortlessly manages to register its presence in the minds of people.
Helmed by Ajay Bahl, it’s a brave and relevant film that showcases a rather complex issue — of laws made to protect women, and how the women misuse very same laws for their vested interest. The story of the flick presents both sides of the story as its narrative switches from one person’s point of view to another.
The film’s story is not so different from its trailer. The story is all about the movie director, Rohan Khurana (Rahul Bhat) who is accused of raping Anjali Dangle (Meera Kapoor), who is playing the junior costume design assistant. He is already awarded a sentence of 10-year rigorous imprisonment as he is deemed guilty. But, soon he appeals in the High Court, and to defend his case, he hires a high-profile lawyer Tarun Saluja (Akshaye Khanna), who is known as the best in the business. He tries to belittle every argument that Hiral Gandhi (Richa Chadha), the prosecution lawyer makes in the court.
The film touches upon its main premise of making the audience aware of what Section 375 is about. Also, it sends out the messages it intends to, quite early. The courtroom scenes are loaded with data, facts, statistics, and figures laid out on a platter for you to digest at one go.
If we talk about the effective puns placed cleverly in the script, there is a scene in which Akshaye compares ‘daal, chawal, dahi’ to ‘defense, prosecutor and law’ or also the scene in which the judge clarifies that when it comes to giving verdict in a case, he doesn’t believe in ‘one-size-fits-all kind of decision.’
Plus there are so many heavy-weight dialogues like: ‘We’re not in the business of justice, we’re in the business of law,’ ‘Never fall in love with the law, it’s a jealous mistress,’ ‘Law is not justice. It’s a tool to get there’, and ‘Justice is abstract, law is a fact.’
Before the film release, Akshaye Khanna spoke in an interview and had promised that watching Section 375 will make the audience feel as if “they are sitting inside a courtroom.”
“The audience will feel as if they are sitting inside a courtroom and witnessing a case being fought. When I watched it for the first time, I felt I was watching a 3D film where I am inside the experience. I am not inside the film.”
Many Bollywood personalities praised the movie. Like Vivek Agnihotri, Indian film director tweeted,
“Watched #Section375. Brilliantly written by @ManishMGupta dialogues are extraordinary. Engaging performance by #AkshayKhanna You can’t get your attention off him at all. No frills, just the content. Go and watch.
Congrats @RichaChadha @MeerraChopra @anandpandit63 for great work.”
Sacred Games 2 Director Neeraj Ghaywan wrote,
“Ajay Bahl directed #Section375:
Haven’t seen such an engaging, well-researched Indian courtroom drama in a while. A brilliant enquiry into privilege, will & consent. Also on the ideals of law vs justice.
Terrific performances led by Akshaye Khanna and @RichaChadha!”
Movie critic Taran Adarsh wrote,
“#OneWordReview... Section375: POWERFUL.
Engaging courtroom drama... Writing and direction top notch... Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha brilliant... Meera Chopra, Rahul Bhat first-rate... A relevant film that raises pertinent points... Recommended! #Section375Review”
Overall, ‘Section 375’ is a relevant film that will engage, inform, and open up debates. A must-watch film!