India's justice is slow to arrive [Review]

India's justice is slow to arrive [Review]

Court showcases the flawed political system of India

However insecure Hongkongers feel about our city's political future, there's still some solace in knowing that our judicial system is fair and independent. Sadly, this isn't the case in India, as 28-year-old Chaitanya Tamhane's debut feature Court bluntly shows.

Fixing the camera at a wide angle, Court documents a dull Mumbai trial with long, unblinking shots. An argument is barely made before the indifferent judge dictates a summary to a court reporter and schedules the next hearing a month later. Like the trial, the scenes are slow and the seconds tick by before anything happens - like the characters involved, you almost forget that a man's freedom is at stake.

Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar) is a 65-year-old folk singer who criticises the government in his songs. He is arrested in connection with a man's death, then denied bail for a year despite his poor health and a lack of solid proof. Sathidar, an activist in real life with experience with the flawed judicial system, gives a convincing performance. He's charismatic while singing and quietly defiant as he testifies.

The court scenes are broken up with scenes of the lawyers going about their daily lives. This adds a layer of humanity, while highlighting how common cases such as Kamble's are in Indian life. Let's hope that will change soon.

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
India's justice is slow to arrive


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