Section 375 Movie Review: Akshay Khanna Shines in the Business of Law and Justice
Cast: Akshay Khanna, Richa Chadda
Director: Ajay Bahl
“We are in the business of law, not justice,” says Akshay Khanna to Richa Chadda in one of the most poignant moments of Section 375, and nothing could have summed up director Ajay Bahl’s film about a rape trial. In fact, this blurred vision of truth and justice is the hallmark of Section 375 that tries to bring out a new side of the argument.
There’s an alleged rape victim Anjali (Meera Chopra), an alleged rapist Rohan (Rahul Bhat), and two warring lawyers Tarun (Akshaye Khanna) and Hiral (Richa Chadda). The director never tells us what exactly happened on the date of the crime, but he reconstructs the events as per the lawyers’ versions. It’s a ploy to keep us blinkered, and not let us be tilted towards one party.
Section 375 focusses on the courtroom drama and the outside factors influencing a judge’s decision. In the process, we witness the loopholes of the law and how it could be misused, an accusation faced by laws regarding sexual harassment at many occasions. This also seems to be the film’s intention.
The accuser and the accused present their sides of the story and then they are reconstructed in front of the judges, who also appear to be facing dilemma regarding the real chain of events. Bahl wins the first battle here as he successfully places a doubt about the accuser’s intentions in the viewer’s mind. He wants to convey, in no uncertain terms, that even if the decision has been given as per the law, it may still not be right and hence justice might not have been served.
Similar to BA Pass, Bahl’s impressive directorial debut about the sinister lanes of Delhi’s Paharganj, this one also intends to bring out the dark side of the truth. There is no right or wrong, but dubious characters with ambiguous morality.
Akshaye Khanna has excelled as the defense solicitor. He hasn’t put even one foot wrong, and is clearly within the zone of the intended character. The same can’t be said about Richa Chadda though, who couldn’t match up to her counterpart in energy and screen presence.
For most part if it, Section 375 keeps you confused about the possible outcome of the case, and that’s a moral victory Bahl can claim. But then he takes a stand and dilutes the whole idea of being an unbiased presenter of facts of a rape case.
Section 375 is engaging and your views towards the film will depend on which side you would like to be.
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