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PINK Was A Good Infomercial

posted Sep 25, 2016, 3:52 AM by Kanika G   [ updated Sep 25, 2016, 10:27 PM ]
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I read a lot of amazing reviews of PINK and was eager to watch it. It seemed to deal with an issue that is dear to me. So I watched it. My personal views on consent, which I have stated in an earlier blog post, is in agreement with the movie. So here is what I thought of the movie.

On the plus side:
  • It dealt with the idea of consent in a good way. It talked about all the right things in the right way and carried important messages. It did not try to sweep anything under the rug, and did not shy away from consent in case of sex workers or married women. It made consent simple for those who are confused by it.
  • It pointed out the corruption in our system and illustrated miscarriage of justice due to misuse of powers by politicians. In my opinion, it would have been better if the molester too was an ordinary person and focussed on society's and law enforcement's attitude towards rape instead of confusing the issue with corruption. However including the corruption angle highlighted another hurdle and probably served to increase suspense.
  • I liked the touch of the landlord who believed in the girls, giving the movie some balance in perspective, namely, that decency does not have to stem from modern schooling and not everybody is a slave to common social attitudes.
  • I liked the realistic portrayal of Minal's mental battle where she is trying to use her convictions to wrestle her fear, when she got the threatening call.
  • It was a good infomercial for explaining consent and had other useful legal information as well.

But ...

  • I wouldn't go so far as to call it a good movie. I believe there should be more to a good movie, than educating people. The story did not flow well. Some of the scenes seemed contrived and others seemed abrupt. For example, Falak's breakdown did not seem convincing, not because breaking down was unnatural, but the way it was shown,  just seemed forced so the issue of consent in case of sex workers could be brought in to the picture.
  • The character development was poor. It can be argued that the character development was irrelevant because the character of the individuals should not play a role in the judgement of the crime. While I agree with this sentiment it makes for a poor movie. Character development does not have to be about the circumstances of the victims or aggressors. It would be nice to see how these women felt about these issues before they themselves were victims. Were they themselves, perhaps unconsciously, prone to judge other women based on their attire, one way or another, as this reviewer confesses? How did their thoughts on the issue differ having been brought up in different places and circumstances? How did the incident change their views? Some of this was seen in the character of Falak Ali in a quick and hurried way, but in insufficient depth.
  • The movie tried to be dispassionate, but ended up being boring. I mean if I want a dispassionate presentation of the argument, I'll read an article, a blog post or a paper on the subject or even watch a documentary. I am not saying the movie has to be melodramatic. But it needs to make you sympathise with the characters some how. It has to be engaging. Boston Legal and Good Wife, for example deals with a lot of important issues in court cases. They not only get you thinking about various ethical dilemmas and social problems and the difficulties in practical implementation of idealism, but they also make you feel strongly about the particular story at hand. So it can be done. They are not mutually exclusive.
  • I am not a lawyer, but does the Indian legal system actually allow two cases to be argued simultaneously, where the roles of the prosecution and defence are interchanged? How does the court case start out with the girls being defendants and end up with a verdict for the prosecution? It seems scary if this is indeed how the judicial system works in India. I can understand the judge ordering an investigation and filing of charges against the prosecution, but directly delivering a verdict seems odd. If the movie has chosen to be educational it should be correct in such details. It would also be a good way to show how frustrating and long drawn such legal proceedings can be.

Some other things:

I am not sure who this movie was meant for. Those who agree with its agenda may feel good nodding their heads along. But those who disagree with it won't be converted by it. No one likes being preached to. Since the story does not make you sympathize with the characters, people who disagree with the agenda will not be swayed by the movie. In fact, they are likely to be irritated by it and driven to be more stubborn about their views.

As this review points out, it was interesting to see that the only charge the girls could make was outraging the modesty of a woman, which presupposes modesty and leads to the prosecution trying to defame the character of the girls. Certainly our laws need to be updated.

There was not much hard evidence presented by either prosecution or defence. Most of the trial was speculation and here-say. I wonder if this is indeed how trials in Indian courts proceed.

I think it is high time a movie was made on the subject, and this one was certainly bold and unflinching, and for that I admire it. There are many many reviews that extol its virtues, so I have presented some of my thoughts about how it could be better.

The style in which this review is written is inspired by the book review site called plusminusnmore.