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Pink [2016] : Colouring them in shame

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Pink raises some uncomfortable questions and truths about the world we live in. Uncomfortable because knowing or unknowingly most of us are also part of the world that’s in the wrong here. Pink leaves a deep cut on our conscience. It affects the judgement and also stares right into everyone whose notion about women is shrouded by cheap, mindless props or their own viciously unacceptable characterizations about them. Subtle and loud in equal measures, Aniruddha Roy Chatterjee’s Pink feels like a lesson on morality. But it also feels like a lesson that needs to be taught and at least, listened to.

The film opens up with sleekly edited cuts of two entirely different scenes which feel similar to one another. On one hand, three group of girls are seen in a taxi rushing towards their home. They are nervous and scared for their lives as they vaguely discuss an incident that should not have happened. The other cut-off hovers over a group of boys in a rush to go to the hospital. One of them bleeding out and having a slight chance of losing his eye. We instantly start forming up answers to what could have happened.

The saddest part of this feverishly unsettling opening sequence is all of us come to a very singular answer. The girls must have been molested and one of them, specifically the girl bleeding out of glass pieces on her neck must be the one. The situation in the country has worsened so much that even our thoughts and judgement are influenced by them. The unsettling feel of the sequence gives us, even enhances as we see Mr. Bacchan’s character rigged with a mask going on his morning walk to the yoga-parks. There’s a strange mysteriousness that succumbs us as he stares down at Meenal (Tapasee). Why would an old man stare at this young girl and why would she stare back?

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Aniruddha Roy Chatterjee’s way of story-telling is quite smart. While he never shows us the actual incident that started the film off, he does throw us into a tense atmospheric thriller that meticulously seeps fear, angst and  confusion down our skin. He sets up the social thriller in such finesses that not a single wrong note goes into his favour. The three girls who are now not only accused of half-murder but are also labelled as women of ‘low characters’ and are accused of soliciting too are left in splits. They don’t understand what should be done in a condition where the political influence of the other powerful party might just ruin their lives and their independence to live freely in a society that is continuously looking into their window, finding faults in their dressing sense and their character.

In comes retired lawyer Deepak (Mr Bacchan), suffering from Bi-Polar disorder. He is the only one who can save the ladies out of a quagmire that just keeps getting deeper and deeper. There’s a point in the film where the supposedly strong Meenal is seen sick and disgusted with all hopes lost when she tell the other two about the stinking smell of urine in her jail room. While entirely unnecessary, the sequence shows  how ill-fitted our whole system  has become.

In a very restrained manner, the whole courtroom drama that forms the foundation of the film flows  like liquid energy. While there are nerve tingling accusations that are being made, there are moments of utter silence and despair that  don’t need words to be approved of their wrongful presence. While there are smart moves on the director’s half, he makes some very loud and instant use of melodramatic turns in sequences which could have used the already present restraint. Like the scenes including Mr. Bacchan’s constant visit to his wife didn’t really put any real depth to the character he was in. Also, his bipolar disorder could have been presented with more conviction instead of just having his mask around. The mask, however, could have represented as a filter for all the filth in the world.

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Pink couldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for Mr. Bacchan’s towering voice and performance. The poem in the end credits hits you as hard as a rock. This is probably the best he has done in quite some time. His character has been written only for him and him alone. The three girls are also great. The ‘North-Indian’ argument was like a gut punch for every single misogynist out there. Pink makes some really bold and much-needed statements about how most of the male dominating society conceives woman. How characters and emotions are defined by actions and outlook and not things that matter. If Pink is not seen as a lesson for everyone, it should at least be seen for how well it knows what it says and how simply misunderstood truths are left out of utter blindness or coherent thinking.

★★★1/2

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