Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ek Ruka Hua Faisla: An excellent movie

So here I was watching the latest Hindi movie, full of highly paid mega-stars, with a big budget for the action sequences, dream songs being shot in different locations over the world, and so on. And all this financed by people like me, paying Rs. 120 for a ticket, and Rs. 25 for a bottle of water, and Rs. 40 for some cold drinks, and equally for something to eat.
And then I bought a disk from a nearby shop, and spent a spell-binding time watching this movie. It has almost no effects, no action sequences to speak of, no major stars, and its budget must have been minuscule. Almost all the entire movie has been shot in a room, with dialog being the core point.
The movie has been made by Basu Chaterjee in 1986, and stars graduates from the National School of Drama (Deepak Kejriwal, Pankaj Kapur, S. M Zaheer, M. K. Raina, K. K. Raina, Annu Kapoor as an old man, Shailendra Goel, etc). It is based on a 50's English movie, 12 angry men.
The movie is made based on the premise that the case is being decided a jury system. For those who do not know, a jury system is when 12 citizens (supposedly not influenced by media reports) sit in the court, and listen to everything and then decide. This is the system followed by the US, Britain (for certain cases). India dropped this system in 1959, after a major murder case that rocked the country. For details, click here.
So, leave aside the fact that India does not have a jury system for a long time, and enjoy the movie. For those who like serious cinema, this is an excellent movie, showing the interplay of emotions in a group, along with group dynamics, equally the power of belief in one's own opinion.
The movie is about the trial of a youth for murdering his father. The jury have sat through a long trial, heard all the evidence, and everybody believes that the jury discussion (in a cloistered room) will be short and return a guilty verdict. Well, all except one.
And that is the problem, the jury has to return a unanimous verdict or keep on discussing until they reach a verdict. The jury is ready to return a verdict, except for this one juror who does not believe in just declaring a verdict based on personal needs (leaving early, watching a movie, etc) and wants to go through a discussion (that is, deliberate) before declaring a verdict. He does not have a solid reason, and hence the group turns on him. However, in an impressive display of character, he stands his ground, and starts the discussion.
And this is the stage when the group dynamics start showing, and how in the heat of discussion, the true feelings start showing through. People's biases, bigotry, temper, all start showing through. (This movie should also be default viewing for those preparing for group discussions and part of management curricula).
Eventually, he manages to showcase the missing links, the loopholes in the vital clues, and testimonies, and eventually persuade all except Pankaj Kapoor. Pankaj is not so easily persuaded because his son has left him, and he has a bias against youth, but eventually he is also persuaded.


Geeta said...

Yes I do remember the movie. It was screened on Doordarshan (which was the only channel then) years ago. Every week there would be an art / off beat film screened late in the night. I sat and watched it spellbound with my brother and sisters. I still remember the gripping emotions and taut direction which made it brilliant.
I would like to watch it again after all these years. Could you please tell me where I can buy the CD of this film?

Ashish said...

Here's an online video