As the film is setting itself up; warming you to the characters and spaces of the village. It reminded me of the first half of Get Out. An eerie unfamiliarity in the environment that existed in something that should have felt so familiar. A world in our world, an ignored backyard of our privilege.
Here, subtlety exists in an alternate universe. This film is all on the face and unapologetically loud. Something I would have definitely had a problem with, if it did not work so well for the film and the subject matter that it is dealing with. Raising on from Mulk which I thought was criminally underwatched (and of course an underrated film), Article 15 does not take any pit stops from the moment it begins its course.
Written and directed as a Crime Drama, it looks and sounds like it could belong to the Horror/Thriller genre. It is appropriately raw, gruesome and will probably make you uncomfortable with its treatment.
Honestly, I come from the school where I did not think caste played any role in the world of 2019. Just like our protagonist in the film. Ayan. Ayan is our pair of fresh eyes in this world. The world we so conveniently look away from through our lives. Convincing ourselves that it doesn’t exist and humanity must have risen above these discriminations. Sadly, it exists, thrives and grows. For reasons more than what meets the eye.
This is where the film exists. From the minor repercussions of local headlines to the political game that only treats caste as a voting superpower. It dips its feet into the swamp that most filmmakers would find too uncomfortable to be in. But it knows what it is. A film which is only trying, only trying to point at something that we are too insignificant to change. It addresses that there are other battles being fought. Ones too little and ones too distant, but it acknowledges that none are any less important than the other. The film often bites off more than it can chew and we get glimpses of the things it branches towards. Not everything gets its desired conclusion and some don’t even get a fair chance they might deserve. What it does get are some sparks that will get your thoughts started. Details which I will be on the lookout for on my second viewing.
There is an honest voice backed by some earnest characters. Performances which do the characters due justice, in what is an achievement of perfect casting.
Towards the end, I found some things in the film that I thought went beyond the thin conclusion that we are presented with. A conversation for a whole another review. Right now, This is an important film that you probably wouldn’t feel like watching and you must get yourself to.
I had to write this piece again because I lost what I wrote before. This is probably not 60% as good as that one, and I had to make peace with that. I wrote it again because this film deserves it. If I can get a single person to watch this film, I would be happy. And the first thing I did was ask my family to go watch it, because I know how things work. This film deserves to be watched, and appreciated. Or at least understood. It deserves two hours of your life to open your mind to this world that exists right amongst ours.
Art is a mirror, where our systems are the literature. We have the power, maybe only in our minds. An action between the idea and the change. Does it only present us with questions? For the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.