Guilty will Make You Question Masculinity, Consent & Privilege

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Consent has become quite a popular term in the post #MeToo era and Guilty, starring Kiara Advani, reminds us that men of privilege do not think twice before violating women. Furthermore, the film also throws ample light on the fact that a large number of rape cases still go unnoticed. Guilty, directed by Ruchi Narain, throws light on a set of burning questions that are often swept under the carpet.

An Overview: 

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Less than a minute into the film, we see a college-goer being questioned ( grilled, in some ways) by the cops. The members of a college rock band are questioned after VJ, the band’s lead vocalist, and the son of a powerful businessman, is accused of raping one of his batchmates. All hell breaks loose when Tanu, the victim, posts a tweet targeting VJ. In no time, we see VJ being targeted by various sections of the society, but there comes a point when everybody, even those investigating the case, begins questioning the victim’s claims.

Storyline:

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Quite frankly, the storyline is watertight and doesn’t give you much time to think. It took less than 10 minutes for the makers to establish all of the characters. The best part about the story is: it goes about its business without beating around the bush. A large chunk of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s (Kiara Advani) perspective.

There are sequences that make you uncomfortable. For instance: one of the students being questioned tells the cops that the victim is nothing more than a f*ck girl. Furthermore, the viewers are also made aware of the fact that Rani, the victim, had ” trouble written all over her”.

The Film does raise some Important Questions:

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Right from frame one, the film succeeds in maintaining a ‘stern’ look and feel. Well, that’s because the director wants the viewers to know that sexual harassment is a serious offence.

  • Why is a girl called a sl*t if all she wants is attention?
  • Why are rape cases politicized?

Despite a few minor flaws, guilty has its heart in the right place. The narrative of the film keeps swinging to and fro, much like a pendulum. The first half of the film showcases Tanu as the ‘helpless victim’ who has been raped by a rich and spoilt brat. But victim-blaming shows its ugly head and everybody puts Tanu in the line of fire.

Performances:

Kiara Advani is the star of the show and looks unbearably hot in her ‘punk’ look. She plays the heartbroken lyricist and does so with ease. Also, she comes across as a ‘coconut personality’ and it won’t take long for the viewers to realize that this punk babe has demons running wild inside of her. (Does that remind you of Alan Walker?).

Gurfateh, who plays VJ, the spoilt brat, does everything you could have asked of him. There is that carefree (rather nonchalant) look in his eyes that screams aloud at times. Also, right from frame one, you get a feeling that this guy will get away with the crime unscathed.

Taher Shabbir enters the scene right from frame one as he begins interrogating VJ’s friends. He doesn’t speak much and goes about his business with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately, he comes across as a stone-faced investigator who has little or no room for emotions. In short, our investigator required a few punchy dialogues to make his presence felt.

Next on the list is Akansha Kapoor, who plays Tanu Kumar, a girl from Dhanbad, one of the country’s mining powerhouses. She is shown as a headstrong woman and doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. Despite being raped, she chooses not to hang her head in shame (which comes across as a big positive). Akansha shines right from the start despite having a limited screen presence.

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Here’s the biggest problem ailing this film: despite playing the victim, Akansha hasn’t been given enough screen time as most of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s perspective.

Direction:

Ruchi Narain does a fairly decent job behind the camera by handling rape, an immensely sensitive subject matter with a great deal of sincerity and maturity. A 2-hour-long runtime does test your patience (at times), but the film deserves a watch for the powerful message it has in store for its viewers.

‘Guilty’, despite a few minor flaws, ends up holding the viewer’s attention. Watch it for the message it has in store.

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