Trigger warning: this review discusses themes of sexual assault.
Pink is an extraordinary film. The courtroom drama by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury was released in 2016 and has already won 11 awards including Best Film on Social Issues (2017 National Film Awards), Best Film (Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017) and Best Film, Actor, Dialogue and Editing (Star Screen Awards 2016). With a budget of 3.2M USD and box office earnings of 11.9M USD its not hard to recognise that this is truly a revolutionary film.
The talented cast, Amitabh Bachchan (Deepak), Taapsee Pannu (Minal), Kirti Kulhari (Falak) and Angad Bedi (Rajveer) take us on an intense journey filled with injustice, atrocities and raw emotion.
A group of affluent boys – Rajveer, Raunak and Vishwajyoti – rush Rajveer to hospital. His head is bleeding heavily from a bad wound. They refuse to make a police report – but why?
Three young girls – Minal, Falak and Andrea – agitatedly rush home. They discuss what they should do. Were they the cause of the injury? Why?
This story focuses on these young women and their place in a world where the rules are determined by men. The girls are clearly distraught by their run in with the boys and try to go on about their daily lives, but this will not be made easy.
Minal goes for her usual run, and can’t help but notice an older man staring at her (Deepak). The eerie voyeurism is later revealed to be concern, however.
Minal files a complaint against Rajveer, finally revealing what caused her to inflict such an injury upon him. The police are reluctant to help her, because of his status.
Meanwhile, the boys continually harass the girls, making threats, kidnapping Minal and violating and blackmailing her, creating fake images to get Falak fired from her job and, ultimately framing Minal for attempted murder after she reluctantly filed a complaint against Rajveer Singh.
Deepak witnesses Minal being kidnapped, and her arrest and decides to help defend her in court. What follows is a gruelling debate about the validity of Minal’s claims that Rajveer molested her which focus about her personal character, as a woman. Deepak criticises the views of his society where women are stereotyped, blamed for their own assaults, and must be ‘honourable’. Ultimately, departing with the message: “NO means NO”.
This film left me physically angry with the injustice it portrayed, and that’s how I know it was a great story. It was created to shed light on a pivotal social issue and highlight systematic injustices within a society. It genuinely puts the audience in the shoes of the victims to understand an issue that is seldom discussed among the glitz and glam of ‘typical’ Bollywood films.
Everything, from the title itself, to the seamless writing that captivates the audience and exudes associations of gender imbalances in Indian society. Most notably, this is captured in Deepak’s iconic speech: The Rule Book for Girls, and No means No:
The cinematography was stunning, creating an alluring piece of art that conjures a dichotomy between the aesthetic beauty on the screen and the atrocities within the plot.