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Film Reviews Court: A powerfully level-headed slamming of India’s legal system

Still from Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court.

Courtesy: Films We Like

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Court
Written by
Chaitanya Tamhane
Directed by
Chaitanya Tamhane
Starring
Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber
Genre
Drama
Language
Gujarati (with English subtitles)

There is a distinct documentary feel to Court, Chaitanya Tamhane's slamming but level-headed depiction of a legal system in India he judges to be ridiculously outdated. And although the film is an unruffled work of fiction, the absurdity of the legal and political state of affairs it quietly but powerfully comments upon may be all too real.

After a 65-year-old folk-singing "people's poet" is arrested and jailed on trumped-up sedition charges, we follow the judicial process run its turtle-slow plod. Told in Gujarati with English subtitles, this is a courtroom drama that deliberately lacks for Perry Mason shenanigans or Pacino-esque "You're out of order!"outrages.

The film's own unhurried pace might frustrate the popcorn crowd, but it is the blasé, blank-faced unconcern for expediency from judges, prosecutors and bailiffs that should prove much more infuriating. The trial involves a sewage worker's death in Mumbai, where, as Tamhane sees it, something stinks awful indeed.

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