Starring Ashutosh Rana, Bidita Bag, Gaurav Chopra ,Tia Bajpai
Directed by Durgesh Pathak
Ashutosh Rana and Bidita Bag battle it out in this shoddy film on marital rape. Both are redoubtable competent actors who can bring alive even the most cadaverous character by dint of their instinctive understanding on what makes a human being react in an unexpected way when pushed to the corner.
Courtroom dramas on social issues have made a reasonable impact recently in Sirf Ek Banda Kafi Hai and OMG2 which tackled sexual abuse and teenage masturbation with sensitivity. I wish I could say Lakeerein completes a trilogy of courtroom dramas on sexual politics.
It is weak in concept—the characters seem to be puppets on a chain abiding by known tropes in such legal dramas such as the plaintiff’s poor upright ill father(Rajesh Jais) , the blasé celebrity lawyer making sexist remarks as if they are sanctioned by law, etc.
The script(Durgesh Pathak and Surya Saxena) plays the drama mostly by rote. There is very little here to make us think about the borderline between consent and rape. The horror and humiliation of marital rape is diluted by zeroing in on handpicked victims . While the core conflict converges non Kavya Agnihotri(Tia Bajpai), her househelp Naseema(Aditi Dixit) is also raped by her husband while she is pregnant.
The plot sickens.Somewhere in the rush to prove his point the director misses out on those vital sensitive moments that would have gone a long way in connecting the audience with Kavya’s character.
Aman Varma shows up as a sobbing widower who insists he killed his wife as he raped her one night after drinking heavily.
Beyond a point, it all seems like a dry poorly staged Doordarshan drama where the ‘issue’ drowns any cinematic qualities. On the plus side, Ashutosh Rana ensures that the court proceedings don’t drag their feet. Gaurav Chopra as the poet profession and spouse rapist Vivek Agnihotri(!!) gets some corny lines to chew on.
When he first meets his future wife he asks her why she uses her father’s name and not her mother’s name.
“Like Sanjay Leela Bhansali,” Agnihotri illustrates his point.
Ashutosh Rana brings up Raj Santoshi’s Damini on rape courtroom drama.
“This is not a filmy courtroom,” Bidita Bag rebukes Ashutosh Rana.
Ironically this is a more filmy courtroom drama than anything we’ve seen in recent times.
Does Kavya get justice? No one who has grown up watching films on irrational male-bashing would doubt Kavya’s victory.At the end it feels like a doctored kabbaddi match where the winning team is pre-decided.