Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pink is a significant achivement.


Pink is a great movie, and I am not even talking about the message or the ideology of the movie (which,  by the way, is great). The movie is simply good cinema. A compact story told with masterful control over the medium. Cinema being a combinatory art form, brings various branches, which are both craft and art in themselves, to serve the vision of the director or to tell a compelling   story. We will appreciate the hardwork put in the movie if we realize, how difficult it is to weave a scene which is accessible to the audience in a cohesive way. Early cinema audience were puzzled by even close ups and moving images it took some time to instill grammar of camera in the audience. Having a disparate shots and developing a narrative from that is never that easy. Pink is a fully realized cinematic product.

Pink is a fully realized product of cinematic control over a complicated idea. It grabs attention with masterly deployment of tools of the craft. The very first scene after a suitably spare casting credits creates the tempo. Inter-cutting of bleeding Rajvir and tensed girls in two different cars set the spiraling nature of the doom so well. Similarly, shots of traffic lights on lonely roads, South Delhi colonies, Metro, Police Station cell, all were used to help the mood of the related scenes. That is about cinematography and editing which kept the narrative tight and did not allow audience attention wane. 

Then characterization. Every character of the movie has come out succinctly. Rajvir and his friends could easily be situated in a context of unexamined patriarchy and feudal mindset. Rajvir’s father was  irritated but not angry with him as he was comfortable with his infractions. Two scenes of his father established an entire value system. Girls- it was so easy to get that wrong. They were believably nuanced. Adria was the quietest but came out very clearly as a girl facing prejudice at many levels. Falak with her maturity and family burden was trying to navigate the situation with least disruptive way but her core came out so vividly when she broke the compromise proceedings immediately when she could not agree with the vulgarity of Rajvir’s thought process. She was the one who articulated their stance in the court and she exposed the hollowness of payment issue of their meeting with the boys. Meenal was difficult but she clearly laid out the core of a character who wants to live the life on her terms and is willing to take risks for that. Her trauma and believable rootedness in traditional value of family was conveyed very clearly. Bond between the three girls was conveyed so naturally  but never by overt proclamation. Their care, camaraderie and depth of friendship is noted in gestures, their heroic and unflagging support for each other. However, greatest pleasure is given by skillful etching of small characters. Solidity of their home owner is clear in one or two scenes that were given to him. ‘SHO madam’ was realistic in here casual corruption and lack off smarts. Generosity of the soul of Deepak’s ailing wife Sara was conveyed in almost all the scenes that she handled from the sick bed but in one scene where she offers biscuit to the girls is such a genuine depiction of a grand gesture of giving soul. The judge, colony people, inspector and almost everyone was placed so fully in the scheme of things always a sign of great director.
At one level Pink is an extremely competent court drama. Court drama is a genre that has a rich history in all major film industries. B R Chopra used it with great effect in Kanoon. Mera Saya, Insaaf ka Tarazu, many recent comedies including very good Jolly LLB are some examples. Deepak’s initial diffidence and rusty beginning stepped up the tension. Half of the movie is a substantial time to spend in the courtroom and Pink maintains the momentum by arguments and acting. The scenario had no big discoveries involved so it was about establishing new sensibilities and all actors and director were upto the task. Presence of an unusually sensitive judge helped.
Of course Amitabh Bachchan. Another feather in the cap of the thespian who has taken upon himself to take the medium forward. He is pitch perfect as man of fine sensibilities. He is angry and burdened and looks it. He conveys his worries and ailments with subtle  fluctuations in his voice and mannerism. His initial rustiness in the court was so controlled that it is a masterclass in itself. He is every inch  THE Amitabh Bachchan with his strong style intact but this pull, this star power is fully devoted to make Deepak Saigal a success in a great role. Not a single false move. Chief pleasure of his recent performances is the latent heroism of is characters that expresses itself in the least flamboyant manner. He is almost self-effacing in his most heroic moments in Pink and leaves a deep impact. 

Now the most powerful appeal of the movie. After getting into the flow of the movie I immediately regretted that I did not bring my 14 year old son for the movie. It is such a powerful movie that conveys so many lessons of proper gender relations for the boys of today’s generation. The rule book that Deepak kept on referring to during the trial is so convincingly conveyed that it is bound to have an impact. Film or the camera was never in doubt where the blame lay. Such a powerful initiation into the world of right sensibilities. My friends have a point when they say that this film should be taken over as tool of spreading healthy practices of gender sensitization. I was keen to watch the movie as Deepanjana Pal of Newslaundary in her excellent review expressed a niggling discomfort over ‘mansplaining’ and ceding  of space by Meenal to Deepak. After watching the movie I felt relieved that my observation about burdening a film with the personal ideologies were not too far off the mark. 

While the central message is the key appeal of the movie, I liked the fluidity with which it has tackled the issues and great performances that kept the movie at a believable plane. Music, editing direction, screenplay, sound other elements like cinematography have created a great movie. A significant  achievement. 

-Dhiraj Singh

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