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Court (Marathi, 2015), an offbeat court room drama – India's Oscar entry

Author: krishnababu jayabal / Date: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 21:13 / Tags: Chaitanya Tamhane, Court, Mrinal Desai, Oscar, Sambhaji Bhagat

Let me shed some light on why we should know/watch this flick, Court is India's official entry into 2016 Oscar race under ‘Best Foreign Film’ category.

I have been following this year nominations for quite a while. ‘Kaaka Muttai’ and ‘Kutram Kadidhal’ from Tami cinema, ‘Baahubali’ from Telugu and ‘PK’, ‘Piku’ from Hindi are the prominent ones among the contenders. From time to time, some acclaimed but less known movie from Bengali/Marathi will capture the limelight and win the race over other familiar products. Court is one such film, at least for me, since I haven’t known anything about it before this Oscar battle.

Let’s move further. Kaaka Muttai was this year’s best for me and believed this could be worthy enough to garner attention in any international arena. Then came Kuttram Kadithal, Piku followed by PK. So the announcement was a shocker and made me curious enough to check it out.

At the end of the viewing does it convince me the Oscar nomination was accurate? Let me get to that very shortly but before that my views on this acclaimed debut!

As mentioned Court is an offbeat attempt, almost close to a documentary style of narration. Less to none background score, camera in a no hurry mode, which continued to capture the images even after the act gets over, long steady shots, made it quite a strain for me to get in to the story in the beginning. Then things got settled and I was transported slowly in to the most impactful narration style in celluloid.

Having affected with all jump cuts, shaking lens shots to bring the desired impact, it’s a sort of relief to rejoice the real, unforced impact which slowly but steadily grows on you. This is why greats like Majid Majidi, Asghar Farhadi still believe in this style, while making meaningful impacting movies.

Getting back to the crux, it’s a satire which strips down ugly facts within Indian judicial laws/regulations, which are dated and old enough to make no sense to the current stage. Based on real life incidents, story unfolds with a left wing senior citizen who has been accused for the suicide of a blue collar labor. Makes no sense right? Yes, once you’re done with this, lot of our current laws will look the same to you.

Having addressed the making style, I guess it becomes needless to mention the cast and act, which is natural and authentic as it could get. With few main characters, the director did take utmost care to shape the peripherals up to minute level of details. All court room sessions are brilliantly made and the movie gives a tight slap on our judiciary, asks some important questions and demands swift answers from the authorities.

The movie throws light on country’s current state of affairs, the utterly ridiculous laws written before 150 years and how they still exist today though irrelevant. Take a sample – the Judge refuses to attend a case, since the beholder has come in sleeveless attire.

I couldn’t believe but have to give it to the director (Chaitanya Tamhane) for making such a bold, sensitive attempt as his debut without (m)any flaws. I enjoyed the writing, where he didn’t force or explicitly show spade as a spade but rather achieved it through his narration. Camera goes behind the leads one by one at the end of each court room session, explores their life style outside of the court room and how they react to situations in their real lives as themselves. The visuals speak more volume than a dialogue while conveying a message.

OK, it’s time to get back to my view about the Oscar announcement.

Even though I enjoyed the making, informative content which Court had to offer, I still feel it is ambitious to select this one for Oscar race. Whereas Kaaka Muttai on the other end had a strong emotional connect with global problems and it could have had a ‘Slumdog’ victory in foreign entry category.

Nevertheless, Court is coming from our country and my hearty wishes for it to win the coveted Oscar. Don’t miss to catch up this one to know more on Indian judicial laws and flaws!

Guest post by Sathish Subramanian.

(Edited by GCinemas)

2015, Analysis, Guest, Marathi