Gargi Review – Story of Gargi and her fight for justice touches hearts thanks to a well scripted screenplay
Even as the sensitive portrayal of Vennela is still fresh in our minds, the blessing to south cinema Sai Pallavi is back with yet another role that allows her to showcase brilliance in simplicity – simple not just in the character and the characteristics, but also in the way script plays out, which demands her to express so many emotions in one single shot – indifference, determination, sadness, sympathy, fear…These emotions are powerful and leave a lasting impact on your minds a long time after you leave the theatre.
Be it her role in Venu Udugula’s ‘Virataparvam’ or the newest on the block ‘Gargi’ created by Gautam Ramachandran – they occupy your thoughts for a long time later; you travel with her through the jungles, and the court corridors (Gargi) experiencing her pain and tragedy along the way. You cry with her and rejoice at her triumphs.
This review would give the director and writer Gautam Ramachandran 5/5 for his sensitivity in portraying the subject, his control over the screenplay in order to not get carried away by the multitude of societal issues that make their way into the narrative, for casting Sai Pallavi and for the grip over the script, so much so that there is no moment in the entire film where you feel the pace slackening. The poignant pauses, the indulgent gestures, the seamless inclusion of comic moments in this otherwise serious narrative, the relatable characters – one can go on about every aspect of the film that could have gone awry – but doesn’t.
In the beginning of the film the director mentions how he is inspired by films – among other things – those that worked and those that haven’t. After watching the film you do realise he has indeed learnt from it all – the mistakes and the successes.
The film is the story of Gargi and her fight for justice. She is a regular teacher at a school, waiting to marry a boy she likes, responsible and caring towards her family. She lives with her younger sister, her father (security guard in an apartment) and mother, a home maker who sells idli batter on the side. A hardworking middle class family like scores of others in this country. A nine-year old girl gets raped in the area, and Gargi is almost indifferent, until she realises her father, the security guard in the apartment is one of the accused. The rest of the story is about her struggle to get hold of a lawyer, and fight a case that strongly points towards her aged father Brahmanandam as one of the rapists.
As a genre, this film is an out and out legal thriller, not at all new to south cinema. There have been other films. As they say there are only that many stories in the world. It is in the way they are told that makes that lasting impact. And ‘Gargi’ does leave that impact on us.
The horror of child abuse, the heinousness of rape, the state of the parents of the victim, the role of the media in violating child and human rights, the limitations in judiciary are all extremely sensitive and important issues plaguing the society. The film ‘Gargi’ explores these issues with sensitivity, but not so preachy to tamper with the cinematic expression. That mentioned, they are part of the screenplay, depicted with such intensity that the audience watches it all in horror and even guilt, and that makes us sympathise with Gargi, who is fighting to bring her father out. Our heart cries with the father of the victim; who has no clue how to come to terms with what happened to his daughter, and in the end you are proud of Gargi for her resilience.
Ravichandran Ramachandran, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Thomas Geogre & Gautham Ramachandran have produced the film. Kudos to them for not violating their dream and creating this masterpiece of cinema.
One must also mention the transgender judge on the case. She says to one of the advocates who derides her for her gender – “I know the arrogance of a man and a pain of a woman”. Simple yet poignant dialogues such as this are a plus to this movie that has among many advantages – the right casting.
Gargi Review by Rajeshwari Kalyanam