Dr. Ambedkar, while forming the Constitution of India insisted on Article 15 which clearly states. 'The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.' And very conveniently, this was something which was just on black and white for ages. In light of some recent events, the movie reminds us of the same in the Bhartiya Samvidhan.
The movie starts with the Dalits in the area meeting under a shed and singing war songs against the upper caste people in the area. Enter, Ayan Ranjan(Ayushmann Khurrana), a new IPS officer given a punishment posting as Addl. Commissioner to Lalgunj because he replied "Cool, Sir" to the Home Secretary.
The first day of work, 2 girls are found hanging dead from a tree on the outskirts of the village from a tree. When the Cause Of Death(COD) was revealed to be repeated rape and then murder, the reason for this crime is what stuns the audience - Rs 3.
The girls are asked for an increment of their daily wages from Rs 25 to Rs 28. Makes us actually wonder if these are actually the numbers paid to the working class now.
The plot thickens when the new ACP Ayan(Ayushman Khurana) come to know that the girls were missing for 48 hrs and no FIR was registered even though the family tried to place a complaint on the same day. It also adds to the horror that a 15-year-old girl Pooja, was also missing with the girls found dead but is nowhere to be found now. Ayan tries to investigate the crime only to be roadblocked by CI Brahmadatt(Manoj Pahwa) on every step he makes.
A confused Ayan tries to understand the politics in the area but pains him to accept that the politics in the area is more religious than the actual party campaigning. Unchi jaathi & neechi jaathi were something he did not understand when it came to giving justice. But, Lalganj ke logon ko wohi baath samajh aathi hai.
There is a scene in the movie where Ayan is infuriated at his subordinates while trying to understand the caste system. Then comes the introduction of Article 15 of the Indian Constitution the notice board.
The movie spins around how Ayan brings justice to the victims of these heinous crimes. The movie is a loose adaptation of the 2014 Badaun gang-rape allegations and 2016 Una flogging incident.
A bold attempt made by the director Anubhav Sinha. Like his previous movies, this movie gave us a moral insight into the down trodden of the society. Dealing with such dull undertones, Sinha never tries to make this movie look ‘beautiful’. The beauty lies in the redemption provoked by its narrative. Sinha’s tried-and-true friend Ewan Mulligan (He was one of the cinematographers for Sinha & Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One) has captured the lifeless lives of the villagers with excellence. Though the cinematography oddly reminded me of Tumbbad & Sonchiriya, it has its own original essence.
Ayushmann Khurrana continues his habit of delivering spellbinding performances. He played ACP Ayan Ranjan with ease and finesse. Ayushamann has just shown us how acting is not always about ‘acting’. In Article 15, his long pauses and expressions speak way louder than words. Andhadhun, Badhaai Ho and now this!!!
Manoj Pahwa - After a long time Pahwa was seen in a negative character. Pahwa played a perfect Antagonist to Ayushmann and will make you feel disgusted for the man.
All other actors, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Nasser & Kumud Mishra had roles which they glorified for the small screen presence they had.
Article 15 makes a very strong statement without sugarcoating any facts. It speaks loud about what’s wrong, now who can hear it, that really depends on what kind of life you’re living. Another gem for Ayushmann Khurrana (after Andhadhun & Badhaai Ho) & Anubhav Sinha (after Mulk). The movie is very well made and definitely deserves to be seen. The cast is really strong and each one of them delivers a convincing performance.