The injustice of the caste system, and the means of addressing it has been an active topic of modern Indian discourse, particularly in the last 80 years. Article 15 is an honest portrayal of the same. A young IPS officer’s new posting in rural India has him confronting caste disparities and uncomfortable truths in the face of a gruesome crime. When three girls go missing in the fictional village of Lalgaon, two of them are found dead and there is no trace of the third one. Where is she and who is responsible for this heinous act? It is a film with a difference for it made me realize how much backward and narrow-minded our Indian society still is. How much oppressed the backward classes of the society still are today and how important reservation for these classes in different sectors of the society is. The filmmaker Anubhav Sinha has really put in all his efforts to make the people realize the plight of the Dalits suffering. Living in an urban surrounding and having to go to the best schools and colleges of the city it is difficult to be aware of such ills in the society though the lower caste population too has its own share of urban discrimination. Ayushmann Khurana(Ayan Ranjan) as a protagonist is brilliant. Ayan Ranjan’s character as a young IPS officer is believable and compels us to think about the current Indian society. The honest portrayal by Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub makes this thriller interesting to watch. As for the film, the better part about it was the extraordinary writing and cinematography. This help shows a better picture of both the sides of the story, as caste discrimination is a very complex and sensitive topic. The film depicts how a child in whose mind the seeds of discrimination are sown mindlessly end up unwittingly practicing untouchability in some form or the other. Article 15 shows the pressing need to find an answer to the abomination of caste. However, the film which highlights the various form of discrimination, atrocities, and the plight of Dalits ends with a note of hope. The vibrant music in the film demands a change – a change that will bring for the oppressed Dalit equality, protection of his basic human rights and his life. The film calls for immediate action which will help those sections of people who are denied rights and are subjected to oppression for ages. Prevalence of caste discrimination and untouchability is certainly a black spot on the image of progressive India. The film industry makes its share of ridiculous films but it is films like ‘Article 15’ that reinstate the faith in the power of cinema.
Dr. Nitya Prakash for Bombay Weekly!