- Jul 21, 2010
'Article 15' is an archetypal leftist movie decrying the dominance of upper castes on lower castes in Hinduism . The movie tries to project that upper caste dominance over lower castes is the biggest problem facing India , forgetting that the nation has other problems like Kashmir rebellion , infiltration from Bangladesh , threat from Pakistan and China etc . How many more movies are the leftists going to make on caste injustice rehashing the same topic repeatedly ? No point in discussing that , considering the leftist hold on media and film making .
So Ayushmann Khurrana plays a police commissioner named Ayan Ranjan appointed to Lalgaon in the state of Uttar Pradesh . Of course , the setting of Uttar Pradesh for the movie is deliberate because it is that state and the state of Bihar that caste conflict is most . Setting the movie in other parts of the country where caste conflict is less would go against the leftists' aim to paint India as a country ridden with caste war .
As Ayan approaches Lalgaon and wants to buy a mineral water bottle from a lower caste person , he is told by other policemen that they do not drink water sold by lower castes . Thus from the very start of the movie it's primary focus on establishing India as a country with tyranny of upper over lower castes is clear .
As Ayan reaches the town , he soon learns of disappearance of three lower caste girls . Later two of them are found gruesomely hanging dead from a tree . Ayan launches a search for finding the third . But the whole investigation is not digestible to other police officers who try to dissuade him from going deeper into the details of the case .The upper caste hierarchy of the town forces the police to arrest the fathers of the killed girls for honour killing them on suspicion of the girls being lesbian . Pressure comes from politicians who have Ayan suspended so he does not probe further into the case .
But Ayan is the hero of the film and he is shown to be so upright that he continues the investigation nevertheless . He is aided by the female doctor who performs the post mortem on the bodies of the girls who were hanged and whom Ayan encourages to tell the truth , that the post mortem reveals that the girls were gang raped before being killed .
The lower castes have their leader in hiding who is played by Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub , and he too is killed by the upper caste nexus of police and politicians . It is up to Ayan to deliver justice to the lower castes , and like a typical Bollywood hero he delivers it with aplomb .
The movie is replete with scenes where upper castes tyrannize lower castes , like the scene in which lower caste men are flogged for having entered a hindu temple . Upper castes refuse to do the demeaning work of lower castes , like cleaning drains etc . Ayan has to ask his staff as to what is the caste of each of them and is so disgusted by their casteist attitude that he hurls obscenities in English that they cannot understand and leads to some funny situations . He is asked by his superiors to give up thinking in English and think in the hindi language so that he can understand the culture of his country better . And the culture of his country is to uphold the centuries old control of the upper castes . When the culprit is finally caught he retraites the same thing and says he did the horrific crimes to teach the lower castes to stay in their lower station in life . All this is of course in contravention of article 15 of the Indian constitution that promises equality to all citizens in all spheres of life , hence the title of the movie .
Who is going to tell these leftists that the upper castes did not rule India for much of the past thousand years and that they were equally at the receiving end of injustice perpetrated by Turkish , Mughal and British conquerors ? And what about the system of reservations for lower castes in every field that has shunted the upper castes out of all opportunities to get education or a government job ? The upper castes do not vote for the leftists and hence they do not care !
Manoj Pahwa acts in his usual manner as the upper caste police officer who has taken part in a horrific crime and Kumud Mishra acts better as the lower caste police officer who has risen up in the ranks . Ayushmann acts okay in his role . He is shown having a leftist/liberal wife who stays away from him and talks only on phone with him , but is impressed and comes to stay with him in the end because of the justice he is delivering .
Photography of the film is okay . The background music creates a rolling sound whenever something dramatic is going to happen . Colours of the movie are darkish in hue in tune with the dark theme of the film .
Two stars out of five .