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Court (2014)

Court (2014)

Vira SathidarVivek GomberGeetanjali KulkarniPradeep Joshi
Chaitanya Tamhane


Court (2014) is a Marathi,Gujarati,English,Hindi movie. Chaitanya Tamhane has directed this movie. Vira Sathidar,Vivek Gomber,Geetanjali Kulkarni,Pradeep Joshi are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2014. Court (2014) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

A sewerage worker's dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court.


Court (2014) Reviews

  • The Everyday Violence of the Court


    Chaitanya Tamhane's directorial debut, Court, is a multilingual, award- winning film on the "quiet violence" of the judicial system and how the State uses it to suppress political activists. Financed by the Hubert- Bals Fund and private equity, it opened to rave reviews and won Best Director and Best Film in the International Competition section of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival. It also premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier in the year, where it won the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature. Court successfully invokes the mood of a trial based on patently ridiculous charges, conducted with no intent other than disciplining and harassment of an activist. A phenomenon that is all too common in India. The theme is very timely given the increasingly intolerant nature of the Indian State and the large number of political prisoners languishing in jail all across the country. The film follows the trial of Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar), a Dalit political activist and lokshahir (people's poet) who is arrested on stage during a performance in Bombay on charges of "abetment of suicide." The police claim that Kamble has penned and performed "incendiary" lyrics calling on Dalits to "drown themselves in sewage" provoking a municipal sanitation worker to actually take his own life by drowning in the very sewer it is his duty to clean. The absurdity of the charge is matched by the (mock?) seriousness with which it is pursued but the police and the officials of the Sessions court. While the politics of false charges and suppression of activists via legal means is an important theme in the film, Tamhane also uses the context of the trial to explore the everyday lives of the principal actors in the courtroom; especially the lawyers for defense (producer Vivek Gomber) and prosecution (played by Geetanjali Kulkarni), and the judge (Pradeep Joshi). What emerges is how extraordinary injustice is embedded in quotidian affairs. The prosecution lawyer argues against bail, ensures that an honest man of advanced years rots in police custody for no reason at all and then goes home to cook dinner and watch TV with her family. The ponderous legal system is certainly the main protagonist, as is evident in the name of the film. And as a useful counterpoint to the brilliant and satirical Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho, Court forces us confront the fact that the byzantine alleyways of justice and the proverbial tarikh pe tarikh, are not merely the unintended result of an uncaring and bureaucratic system but rather used deliberately by the State to remove its more inconvenient citizens for some time, say three or four years. At which time it is the headache of the next set of rulers. See the full review at: http://sanhati.com/excerpted/11761/

  • Moves away from a mainstream courtroom drama & rather focuses upon the miscarriage of justice due to dysfunctional legal system.


    If you're expecting a mainstream courtroom drama which would focus upon one case and move forward dramatically then you're badly misled. Court in fact is a unique portrayal of how the legal system works in India. It has showed the miscarriage of justice by focusing upon lives of the 4 main characters which heavily determines the outcome of the case they are involved in. As a layman not knowing legal system inside-out you would believe that lawyers are perfect and Judges are God-sent, impartial beings who would deliver justice no matter what, and theoretically that is how it is supposed to be. But this movie focuses upon how these people are as much human beings as you are and how their personal lives usually have direct or indirect impact upon the case and its outcome. Media usually ignores these issues because such undercurrents are usually unnoticeable and difficult to be proved and delivered to lay man. Secondly the movie has hired an outstanding cast. Not one character you would believe is a fanciful picture perfect character as portrayed in other mainstream movies but rather they have tried really hard to keep the characters as natural as possible which helps substantiate the story more convincingly. That is what I believe makes the movie stand out from the rest. Thirdly as many of you must have noticed the movie does take a slower pace than we're generally used to but I guess that is because the Director didn't intend to reach somewhere at the end of the movie (like a Judgement, or a climax). His focus was on the lives of the people and hence the movie tend to have taken that pace. Overall its a brilliant movie not complimenting the mainstream movies and I believe a movie with a message which is the need of the hour.

  • An absolute gem of a satire


    I heard of this movie through various critics and decided to catch it at nearby cinema hall. The experience was a total satisfaction. The movie is a satire on Indian judicial system and has been dealt with so beautifully that it neither delivers the message on the face nor it becomes offensive at any point. It is an absolute gem. Though the movie is in Marathi language the subtitles attached to it help an average moviegoer. The movie does not have too much of moving camera shots and in most of the scenes, director just places the camera at one location and the events unfold in a still frame. This is such a wonderful piece of art that despite no known faces and no fancy camera work the movie works. Not just works but its bang on target. I would strongly recommend this movie to any sane and rational movie buff for quite a few days to come.

  • Insightful court case in India, partly dependent on laws which should have been abolished long ago. Honest portrait of current society and people living there


    Saw this at the Rotterdam film festival 2015 (IFFR), where it was part of the Bright Future section (and indeed, it deservedly belonged in that section). In short: Very well done, in all respects. We get an inside view in the Indian legal system and also in normal life there, the latter while we follow opposing council and see how they live outside the court. And in the final scene, when the case is all over, we also follow the judge on a family trip. This final scene is somewhat detached from the core story, but its purpose becomes clear when seeing the judge on a holiday trip in family circles. It seemed a loose end, but fits nicely in the setup, after all. The Indian legal system is portrayed very well and (as far as I can see) objectively, not leaving a bad impression behind. Prosecution and defense council act believably and competently, and each gets their say. The judge on his side goes strictly by the book. That being his role in the proceedings, I have no problem with him either. The police force is portrayed less positive, if not merely incompetent, showing tunnel vision when locating suspects and witnesses. Interestingly, typically Indian I assume, we see laws quoted from the colonial age. This is remarkable but apparently a fact of contemporary Indian life. And, as judge agrees with prosecution, it IS current law hence applies in this case. In the final Q&A, the director confirms that many laws are outdated, requiring interpretation to establish what they really mean nowadays. I noted two loose facts from the Q&A. Firstly, the slum area we see when one of the witnesses is brought back to her family, looks true to reality. Nearly demolished places like that coexist in the same city. Secondly, as far as the actors are concerned, we learn that 90% was non-professional. For that reason, Narayan's songs are playbacked. To conclude: Some people in Western countries may find nearly two hours running time overly long, but it did not feel that way. I think that is caused by mixing court scenes with family scenes outside the court room. As such, we see the formal proceedings indoors next to what happens outdoors in personal lives of councils and judge. Intermixing these two worlds works very well. Indeed, the story seems to drag some of the time, just like the actual court case does, but it did not hinder me at all, as there were ample developments, and last-but-not-least interesting local folklore that we would never had the chance to see if not through this movie.

  • It's an important film! Do watch it.Cant Afford To Miss


    A little known (in India) but widely revered movie has been winning several awards across the globe. Having read about the acclaim (more than 10 International film awards) that has been showered on this simple low budget film, I couldn't stop myself from watching it on the first day of its release. I was soon to find out the reasons that formed the origin of this widespread fanfare for a film that didn't have a single known face and was a debut vehicle for the director. The movie is COURT and here are five reasons which make this movie a must watch. 1. The cinematic style Director Chaitanya Tamhane, in full knowledge of this being a feature film, has chosen a rather offbeat style of cinematography. His vision seems to be making the viewer a part of the canvas. His scenes do not have hurried movements or snappy cuts or closeups or jarring background music. Instead, he chooses to plant you in the scene. Each and every lingering shot starts before the character arrives, as you slowly grasp the events and the essence of the space which starts to encapsulate you, be it the courtroom, the slum visited by the defence lawyer, the pub that he and his friends go to or the house of the government lawyer. Even after the character has left the screen, he still lets the proceedings seep into you – a method by which he gives the viewer time to think and, as a result, succeeds in allowing every member of the audience to develop his/her own perspective. 2. The deafening silences One of the most potent and powerful instruments used in this movie is that of silence. If there was to be a personification on canvas for this expression, it has to be this movie. And yet, Chaitanya chose to never dramatize or infuse emotion into the scenes when silence tightens its grip on the audience. There are moments in the movie that almost make the audience feel uncomfortable because of the immensely natural, awkward silences displayed on screen. These are skillfully broken by the unforced dialogues that unfold on the screen. His characters pause, lose their temper, get confused, are amused through the proceedings, just like we do in our everyday life, and the silences that connect these moments are the vehicles which drive the images that we develop for each of the characters in the story. 3. Fleshing out the characters The director chooses to stay away from any kind of narration other than that which the characters let you in on, through their interactions with one another. This means that each of the characters appears and shapes up in front of your eyes just like a pot takes form with each action of the potters hand. Chaitanya chooses to give a warm shade to every character that comes on screen. It's the story that is cruel, funny, unforgiving. The characters, at first glance, are everyday normal human beings that we ourselves are and find around us on a daily basis. It is slowly but surely, as the story progresses, that the director turns the mirror towards us as he shows our own approach towards our life and responsibilities. Everyone is multi-layered, just like us. So while the defence lawyer may be devoted towards his profession and client, his tone may be entirely different at home and though the government lawyer may be the quintessential wife, she may also be treating her case as just another Koshimbir she cooks up with great ease. 4. The locations The locations chosen in the movie are as real as they can get. Not a single frame has an air of made up surroundings in it. So when the courtroom or kitchen or the dining table or the chawl or the stage is presented before you, it results in you instantly becoming a part of it because of the real sounds that surround you. I have to mention a scene where the defence lawyer visits the slum where a character resides. The claustrophobic feel that this scene gives you is completed by the interaction that he has with a lady residing there, and the beauty of it is you can even hear the sound of the bangles this woman wears, which every Indian relates to. 5. And finally the glorious, cruel and effortless satire Satire is a weapon that is used by the witty against the unsuspecting simpleton. But, in Court, everyone, every moment, every dialogue aspires to be it. It's a movie that is made in complete realization of the fact that everyday life is nothing but a set of contradictions. And the courtroom is a melting pot of this mesh of feelings, laws, rights, wrongs, apprehensions, ideas and conveniences. And it is at the final moment, the closing scene, that the power of this expression is presented in its truest purest form, with a symbolism so subtle that it captures the gist of the entire proceeding in a matter of a few seconds. It's an important film! Do watch it.


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