2015 was a great year for movies. It gave us tons of movies that challenged the norm and championed original thought. One movie that came from a debutante director did both. The movie was touted as a masterpiece by critics but it did not receive the amount of audience attention that it deserved even after it was declared India’s official entry to the Oscars. I can unflinchingly say that ‘Court’ is to Indian movies what ‘Citizen Kane’ is to cinema in general.
The story revolves around a folk singer, Narayan Kamble who has been arrested and charged for provoking the suicide of a manhole worker, Vasudev Pawar. His well-meaning but far-too-quiet lawyer, Vinay fights the allegations in a court. The story delves deeper into the judicial system which is filled with absurd cases supported by questionable evidence and unreliable witnesses. The movie also brilliantly showcases the entire world as society riddled with issues, big and small.
The characters in ‘Court’ are unlike any from regular movies. They do not fit into molds created a century ago. Now, I must clarify that this is not a movie for everyone. As much as I’d like to say that everyone should watch this movie, not everybody can sit through it. As you are watching the movie, you might think that it is ‘very slow’ as a friend of mine put it. To be completely honest, I thought so too when I was watching it for the first time. ‘Court’ is slow as it captures scenes in their excruciating entirety. But during a second watch I realized that every frame of the movie adds to its perfection. Regardless it is not boring in any sense of the word.
While a lot of movies make the setting or the city an integral part of the script by making them characters in their own right, ‘Court’ takes it a step further. It makes the entirety of our society a character interwoven throughout the movie. Every aspect of our life gets portrayed in brutal honesty. It shows us the poverty in slums without looking down on it and shows a luxurious, modern side of the city without antagonizing it. The movie illustrates contradiction by drawing parallels. Vinay, a lawyer with a broad mind consumes beer in social gatherings while the poor Vasudev is told to have consumed alcohol everyday just to bear the stench of the sewage he had to clean for a living. We can also see people being charged to enter a club for its live music performance while we are also shown live music performances that take place in the street for the public for free.