Director Gautham Ramachandran’s “Gargi” is a fantastic courtroom drama that sheds light on several important issues plaguing society today, including the often sidelined issue of child sexual abuse and the humiliation inflicted on people’s families suffer who are accused of heinous crimes like rape go through in society.
A reasonably good understanding of how the justice system works in India seems to have enabled director Gautham Ramachandran to come up with a refreshingly fresh screenplay that includes several relevant points on a range of issues ranging from rape, child sexual abuse to transgender right hand.
Gargi (Sai Pallavi) is a middle-class woman who works in a school and lives with her elderly parents and younger sister. With her wedding about to be repaired, Gargi is concerned about dowry demands being made by the groom.
Nevertheless, she is in good spirits until one day the news breaks through that the police have arrested a fifth person in a sensational case of the gang rape of a girl.
At first, Gargi pays little or no attention to the news, but when her father doesn’t return home that evening and she learns that he, along with other employees of an apartment complex, was being questioned by the police about the gang rape case, her heart beats faster.
It doesn’t take long for her to learn that her father, a security guard at the victim’s apartment complex, has been accused of being the fifth rapist.
Gargi begins her fight to prove her father is innocent. The odds are slim and adding fuel to the fire are media professionals who are constantly on the lookout for breaking news. She has no support other than a young lawyer named Indrans (Kaali Venkat) who works part-time in a medical shop to make ends meet.
Together they embark on a mission to prove Gargi’s father innocent. Can they prove his innocence? The film gives the answer…
The film has three strong actors vying for top honors and this invariably takes the film’s class to another level.
Sai Pallavi, who plays the title role of Gargi, Kaali Venkat, who plays her stammering lawyer, and S Sudha, who stars as a transgender judge, are all extraordinarily brilliant in the film.
Above all, Kaali Venkat as Indran’s lawyer is simply outstanding. Indrans’ character is simply admirable. A man who has never been in the limelight, he is terrified of the likely outcome of taking on a high-profile case like Gargi’s father’s.
But then he also has the common sense to overcome his fears and actually takes on not just his manager but the entire Bar Association to do what he thinks is right. In short, Kaali as Indrans puts on an impressive performance and babbles its way into the hearts of the audience.
Sudha, who plays the judge, is class from the moment she hits the screen. She doesn’t ask for respect, her behavior demands it. The authority with which she presents her dialogues distinguishes her character.
Sai Pallavi delivers another breathtaking performance in this film.
As a caring daughter, a dutiful sister, a woman who won’t abandon a loved one in trouble, and finally a responsible citizen concerned for the triumph of truth, Sai Pallavi scores in every respect.
Gautham not only scores with the film’s story and hard-hitting dialogues, but also with the visually powerful scenes that strongly communicate the message he wants to convey.
Take for example a scene where Gargi is shown cleaning dung cakes that have been thrown against the wall of her house. The scene subtly conveys the message that she has managed to wash away some of the dirt that has been thrown at the family.
The film’s climax feels oddly forced, greatly reducing the intensity of the story. Otherwise, the film is a compelling watch. (IANS)