Set in a fictional city named as Lal Gaon in Uttar Pradesh (which originally set in Madhya Pradesh), the movie stays true to its name. Exploring the section of Constitution of India which says the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. IPS officer Ayan Ranjan explores the wrongdoings as he gets transferred to Lal Gaon. Two of the local girls are found hanging on a tree, while another girl goes missing.
Ayan takes it to himself to find the third girl and solve the mystery behind the death of the first two. He’s supported by the local police officers, but soon he understands how fu*ked up the situation he’s. Unraveling multiple dark sides to the story, Ayan tries to maintain his sanity till the end. It’s not just about finding out the final verdict, but also how our country is burdened by the taboos we don’t even know yet.
Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki’s story startles you from the word go. With the help of very dark undertone (which makes you feel unwelcoming at places), the story moved forward to tackle discrimination like never before. It starts with some villagers performing a folk song about the age-old battle of rich and poor; that gives you a hint of how the movie is set you to take to a world you will surely feel uncomfortable in.
It hits where it matters the most – from prejudice to bigotry, Sinha shots down many targets with his shotgun named as Ayushamann Khurrana. It’s the subject that could restrict its buyers. The political layers aren’t an issue; even though we’re celebrating progressiveness in Bollywood but still this movie is ahead of its time. Where people could diss Kabir Singh for its toxic masculinity; Article 15 plays with some very insensitive chords.
When he made his debut in Vicky Donor, I was sold at his natural presence in the confession scene with Yami Gautam. But with every movie, Ayushamann has just shown us how acting is not always about ‘acting’. In Article 15, his long pauses and expressions speak way louder than words. Andhadhun, Badhaai Ho and now this!!! From zero to Ayushmann Khurrana – in what range does your favorite actor lands?
Sayani Gupta as Gaura speaks volumes with her messed up hair and ragged dresses. Getting the character straight, Gupta delves in it to make us feel what Gaura is going throughout the film. Another brilliant performance is by Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub. This man, even in an extended special performance, leaves a mark. Watch out for his breakdown scene with Sayani. Manoj Pahwa is at his usual legendary best, and Kumud Mishra shines out loud.
Special mention for the actress playing the role of the kid Amlee (hope I pronounced that right). She takes an emotional scene and gulps it to make us moist-eyed at the end of it. I would take his opportunity to thanks Anubhav for bringing in such a dreamy supporting cast.
All said and done, Article 15 makes a very strong statement without sugarcoating any facts. It screams what’s wrong, now who can hear it, that really depends on what kind of life you’re living. Another gem for Ayushmann Khurrana (after Andhadhun & Badhaai Ho) & Anubhav Sinha (after Mulk). A shocking yet necessary watch!