Saturday 26 March 2016

"Court" (Guardian 25/03/16)

Court ***
Dir: Chaitanya Tamhane. With: Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Pradeep Joshi. 116 mins. Cert: PG

This drolly enlightening dispatch from India’s indie sector has the inspired idea of appropriating a Mumbai courtroom as a focal point for the nation’s many ails: trace elements of colonialism, generational and sectarian conflict, a certain infrastructural liability. The trumped-up trial of a folk singer accused of inciting a fan’s suicide provides its own intricately involving procedural drama, yet writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane makes both a joke and point by keeping his camera at a critical remove from the action, the better to observe dawdlers arriving mid-argument and a marked status gap yawning open between the main players. As in countless comedies, the law is again made to appear something of an ass – arbitrary and distractible, if not this time corruptible – yet the rigorous writing and playing suggests Tamhane is wholly serious in his intent. Here’s a filmmaker training a sharp, prosecutorial eye on those harsh homefront realities Bollywood has traditionally permitted audiences to escape.

Court is now playing in selected cinemas. 

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