Actors: Akshay Khanna, Rohan Bhat, Richa Chadha, Tanuka Laghate.
Filmfare Middle East rate: 4/5
Most recent Hindi films that speak of rape cases have narrated the story from the victim’s point of view and canvassed for justice. They have sensitively portrayed how the girl loses her passion of life, attempts suicide or falls into the abyss of depression and in many cases loses her life too. As progressive art forms, films have concluded with punishing the man concerned. However, there are some cases where it is difficult to judge if the man is at fault or the law is manipulated for personal vendetta to punish him.
Section 375 is one such film that speaks about the #Metoo movement but focusses on its grey areas. This movement came to the fore when an actress complained against a senior costar who harassed her during a film shoot, and alleged that he manipulated the film crew to create proximity between her and him. That opened a can of worms and many muffled voices started speaking out against the harassment meted out against them. This led to a movement where people in power were ostracized and called out and justice finally delivered. Or was it?
The film starts with a designer’s assistant who accuses a director of raping her while she was at her job and what ensues in the courtroom later is the story of the film. The dashing Akshaye Khanna plays Tarun Saluja who defends the rapist while his protegee Richa Chadda who plays Hiral Gandhi defends the victim.
As the layers are unraveled, you watch a story unfold – a story that isn’t black and white but has various shades of grey. In a classic fight between what is lawful and what is justice, the film builds the drama scene by scene. Also, the film speaks clearly about how even if the couple in affair or even married, and the sexual action happens without the consent of the female, it is considered as “rape”.
Section 375 film asks you which story are you going to believe? The victim’s story or the defense lawyer/ the alleged rapist? The judgement is yours.