Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986) Review by Shivom Oza – 12 Power-packed Performances!

3.5/5 Stars

‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla’, based on the legendary Hollywood film, the Sidney Lumet-directed ’12 Angry Men’ (1957), comprises one of the most compelling, gripping and praiseworthy performances among Hindi films.

12 power-packed performances, superb dialogue and screenplay writing form the crux of this entertaining and meaningful film.

12 men sit inside a closed room to discuss the fate of one 19-year-old youth’s life. The boy has been convicted for his father’s murder. While the court has already sentenced him to death, keeping the convict’s young age in mind, it also recommends setting up a committee, comprising 12 men, to decide whether he should be given death or not. An interesting condition put forth by the judge is that a final decision will be reached only when all the twelve jurors agree upon it. Even if one jury member is against the vote given by 11 jurors, the discussion will go on till a consensus is reached. At the beginning of the discussion, 11 members vote for the death sentence, while one man decides that he must be completely convinced before he can put someone’s life on the line. Initially, the eleven jurors are agitated to no end at having been made to sit on a needless discussion when they have better things to do; such as watch a film, carry out their businesses, go for recreational practices etc.  However, this one adamant person wants to start the discussion right from the beginning, putting forth every proof and possibility that can lead them to the truth.

The twelve actors, which are a part of this committee, Deepak Qazir Kejriwal, Amitabh Srivastava, Pankaj Kapur, S.M. Zaheer, Subhash Udghate, Hemant Mishra, M.K. Raina, K.K. Raina, Subbiraj, Shailendra Goel, Annu Kapoor and Aziz Qureshi, are beyond brilliant. Their acting ability along with the brilliant writing by director Basu Chatterjee and Ranjit Kapur (dialogues) keep you intrigued through its 2-hour-duration. The film, while forming a gripping thriller, is also an important satire which picks up relevant social issues. Although this film is a remake of '12 Angry Men', it must have been a tough ask to adapt it into a Hindi language feature film and more importantly, get suitable actors to play the 12 jurors. Credit must be given to Basu Chatterjee, because of whom many Indians got to discover the brilliant original.

The only two weaknesses in the film are; abrupt shot changes and jerky camera movements. The editing and the cinematography, if executed in a better manner, would have rendered this film absolutely flawless.

The satirical presentation throws light upon various evils; poverty, corruption, bureaucracy, class and communal discrimination among others. The dialogues, the finer nuances in the characters’ mannerisms and the ‘edge-of-the-seat’ screenplay are the clear-cut winners, which make this film a must, must watch.

Shivom Oza

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