Gargi Tamil Movie
We've seen hard-hitting films in the past driven by a central character, whose struggles and escapades yield fruit towards the end. 'Pink' in Bollywood took a pertinent issue and narrated the morals via a courtroom drama. 'Gargi', directed by debutant Gautham Ramachandran and starring Sai Pallavi is one such movie that carries a heavy theme, with characters whom we can relate to in our everyday life. This also has a courtroom drama-styled narration, however, more investigation and perspectives make things interesting and scary at the same time.
Gargi (Sai Pallavi) works as a school teacher and is about to get married. She has a father who works as a security guard in a neighboring apartment, while her mother is a housewife who sells dosa batter for the nearby homes, and a younger sister who is studying in a school. It's a middle-class household in a quiet middle-class neighborhood. Things turn ugly when Gargi's father, Brahmanandam (RS Shivaji) is charged as one of the accused in a rape case involving a 9-year-old girl.
The family is harassed by society and the media. Every media house worth its salt delivers its perspective and verdict. Lawyers refrain from appearing on behalf of the defendant. Gargi needs to shoulder the entire effort of bringing out the truth against all odds. Was justice delivered? Did Gargi find the real culprit?
The movie employed a few refreshing easter eggs in its narrative. For instance, the SI who investigates the rape case is given the name 'Fenix Jayaraj' - reminding us of the Sathaankulam incident. The judge who presides over the case is a transgender who shoves it upon her detractor quoting that she is the best person to judge the case as she can feel the pain of a lady and the arrogance of a man.
Sadly, the opening for the movie is not great, and so all these lines that command whistles and claps get a very subdued response. At least in the theatre where I watched, there were no more than 20 people. Then, there was Kaali Venkat who portrayed 'Indrans', the amateur lawyer who comes to the rescue of Gargi. The courtroom drama was natural, and the tiff between Kaali Venkat and Kavithalaya Krishna (who plays an arrogant public prosecutor) was well conceived.
The subject of child abuse is given yet another stage to showcase the decaying moral fabric of society. Parents are given a cold reality check on the current happenings. The emotional layers of Sai Pallavi and the abused girl's father, played by Saravanan, intertwine at a point. Sai Pallavi puts up a poised and nuanced performance which might be the best for her to date.
Kaali Venkat is yet another strong performer, who can underplay, and fly under the radar, but can gather applause doing the same with an innocent and colloquial dialogue delivery. RS Shivaji, the guilt-ridden doting father comes across as a very relatable 60-year-old who belongs to our household. The supporting characters were also utilized very well.
The pace was steady, and nowhere did I feel that there was a lag. Cinematography by Sraiyanti and Premkrishna has brought to life the time and space of the Chennai middle class through the busy streets, narrow lanes, and crowded court premises. The editing by Shabeer was neat and sharp. Govind Vasantha's score adds emotion whenever necessary. "Yaatri" that plays during the closing credits was especially hummable.
The movie can be watched for its sincere effort in writing, filming, and bringing out the optimum performances with an eye for detail. The climax is on the face and makes us realize the brutal reality. Well done, director Gautham Ramachandran and team. And a special congrats to Sai Pallavi and Kaali Venkat!