Court

116 minutes 2014

A political agitator and folksinger in Mumbai is charged with abetting suicide after he performs a song asking city sewer workers to inhale poison gas down in the hole and a depressed man does exactly that. Writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane, making his feature debut, structures his story as a courtroom drama, and the legal intricacies of the case are sufficiently absorbing for the movie to succeed on that score alone. But Tamhane also punctuates the trial with scenes of the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney in their off-hours, teasing out the conservative attitudes that permeate the Indian judiciary. As he points out in a witty final shot, the court exists not to dispense justice or to protect the rights of the individual, but to selectively punish those who threaten the social order. In Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, and English, all subtitled.

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