Section 375

wogma rating: Even the keen, wait for it to come on TV/online (?)

quick review:

Well-made? Sure. Good performances? Absolutely. Well-written? Crisp.

Did I like it? No.

But then, shouldn’t a movie be made on men’s rights? Oh absolutely. And a round of slow-clap for that.

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Director: Ajay Bahl
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Social
More Movie Info

Section 375 - Preview

The horrifying high number of rape cases, the terrifying low number of predators convicted, the humiliating process of seeking justice–in real life–are going to make for a powerful film. Especially, since it looks like it is written and executed well.

Not that anything in the trailer (and most likely the film) is unheard of or a shocking revelation, yet you can tell the film is going to be a difficult watch.

On a lighter note, I don’t mind being educated about the law through films like these. First, Article 15, and now this.

Section 375 releases on 13 September 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Given that the makers wanted to tell a certain story, Section 375 is well made. The production is crisp. There is barely any dramatics, despite there being plenty of room for it. And yet the film isn’t boring, even once. The writing insightful, witty and even profound (within the context of the film’s politics). It matters not, whether I agree with it or not. If the film’s characters believe in X-Y-Z, then A-B-C is what their actions would be. Understandable. This is how they would argue to make their point. Makes sense. And, I am glad the writers articulated it well. Men’s rights activists got their film. I am happy for them. 

It’s a shame that the presentation of the point of view keeps the film from deliberating on the many interesting points it brings up

This still does not mean I like the film. Of course, it doesn’t align with my beliefs, and that is reason enough. The makers are allowed their biases, I am allowed mine. But Section 375, like Kabir Singh in some ways, puts perpetrators on a pedestal. 

“See this lawyer, he is defending a rapist on technicalities. But he fights cases for the underprivileged for free. Wow! What a nice human being.” “He believes rapists and murderers deserve to be defended. How confident and charismatic. He can now patronise his junior condescendingly. That this junior is a woman, is incidental. After all, lawyers on two sides of a case must intimidate each other.” “And wow look-look, he actually admits all that’s wrong with his client.” Isn’t this enough? This attitude of awe towards the protagonist becomes the film’s message. And that is the problem.

Movies like these aren’t telling a story. They are presenting a point of view, which is most likely the makers’ point of view. And the story-telling is there to serve that purpose. It is a matter of convenience then that given the evidence and the climax of the case, a lawyer—a smart, successful one at that—lets their client keep the real story from the court. Other than this, of course, the writing is pleasantly straightforward. The performances too could have easily lent themselves to dramatics but refrain, seemingly with ease, especially those of Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadda, Kruttika Desai, and Kishore Kadam. Rahul Bhat and Meera Chopra, on the other hand, successfully evoke anger and sympathy. 

So technically the film is on firm ground. Just like the case in the movie, is that good enough, though? 

Scarily, the presentation of the point of view made me feel that the makers believe they have presented a balanced case on the many contrasts the film brings up—justice versus law; idealism versus ambition; men’s rights versus women’s rights; rape versus consensual sex. It has not. Instead, it turns the meaning of privilege around and misuses numbers like they are in WhatsApp University*. What? Did the writers think only they could come up with things like Court of Facebook/Twitter?

By the way, with so many statistics being thrown around, it would have been nice to know a couple more. The percentage of falsely accused rapes in the total number of rapes reported and the estimate of unreported rape cases, for instance.

Scarily, the presentation of the point of view made me feel that the makers believe they have presented a balanced case on the many contrasts the film talks about

*Not my coinage, of course. I don’t remember where I heard it first.

- meeta, a part of the audience

29 reviewers(?) - 20 yays 4 so-so 5 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...a hard-hitting courtroom drama that raises some important points.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sameer Salunkhe, cineblitz : ...Even though it’s cleverly written and finely executed, Section 375 is a disturbing experience for the issue it tries to address... full review

Thumbs up, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...A Heavy-Handed But Effective Riff On The Discourse Of Sexual Abuse... full review

Thumbs up, by Udita Jhunjhunwala, FirstPost : ...Richa Chadha, Akshaye Khanna play off each other well in this nuanced film... full review

Thumbs up, by Udita Jhunjhunwala, FirstPost : ...Richa Chadha, Akshaye Khanna play off each other well in this nuanced film... full review

Thumbs up, by Asian News International, Free Press Journal : ..."Section 375" makes you do serious thinking about an important contemporary issue without getting preachy about it,... full review

Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...That justice is abstract and Law is supreme, as opined by Tarun Saluja in his opening remarks, is a point well made. Akshaye... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...Intensely Powerful, Well Etched & Relevant... full review

Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...While the subjects of rape, retribution and victim blaming are naturally sobering, the movie doesn’t ever become didactic or overtly manipulative.... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...The film gives you a deep insight into what goes on in the minds of those holding the position of power, who think it’s normal to violate a woman’s mind and body with or without her consent.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. VIJAYAKAR, India West : ...we agree that this is not a big-budgeted project, but surely subtitles in Hindi could have been afforded and arranged for the extensive English statements.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...For a Bollywood movie to focus on the sexual exploitation rampant on set is not a new thing, but in a post-#MeToo period, it assumes fresh significance.... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Cinema Beyond Entertainment!... full review

Thumbs up, by Mohar Basu, MiD DAY : ...one of the best films of the year... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...Dialogues are powerful and the film is sprinkled with a lot of facts.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...If these often-ignored connections were to be highlighted, they may not undermine the heinous act but would surely put hings in a new perspective.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Frankly I left the cinema not entirely sure how I felt about what the film was saying. It’s a well-made film with a persuasive argument that is nevertheless disturbing.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vinayak Chakravorty, IANS, Outlook India : ...Akshaye shines in relevant film... full review

Thumbs up, by Karan Sanjay Shah, Rediff : ...The way they have handled a serious subject like rape and presented it is applause-worthy.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sreeparna Sengupta, Times of India : ...It is a relevant film that tackles a complex issue and one that will engage, inform and open up debates.... full review

So-So, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Akshaye Khanna steals the show in this slow courtroom drama... full review

So-So, by Arnab Banerjee, Deccan Chronicle : ...Wish Meera Chopra had more spunk and less deadpan expression for a film director of repute to be charmed by her!... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...makes for an engaging and suspenseful courtroom drama, but its gender politics remain suspect.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...We would never know what made director Ajay Bahl change direction at the last minute?... full review

Thumbs down, by Punarvasu Pendse, fullhyd.com : ...The movie taking slight digs at that, undermining the cause, and picking a side in its "law vs justice" argument is not just unsettling because of how sneaky it tries to be - frankly, in 2019, it is tiring.... full review

Thumbs down, by Piyasree Dasgupta, Huffington Post : ...an irresponsible, and dangerous film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...a film which suggests that “no” could mean “yes”, “maybe” or, worse still, “gotcha”.... full review

Thumbs down, by Kennith Rosario, The Hindu : ...Myopic, ignorant and a train wreck... full review

Thumbs down, by Tanul Thakur, The Wire : ...Most films hinge on a central conflict, but in Section 375, directed by Ajay Bahl, the conflict is the story.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Suresh Pillai

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Entire story revolves around rape
  • Language: No curse words used
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots of scenes with images and videos of sex/rape
  • Concept: Justice versus law. Men’s rights versus women’s rights. Rape versus consensual sex
  • General Look and Feel: Crisp court room drama

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Section 375 - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
120 minutes
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Comments (3)

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Pomita

I think the term Whatsapp University was coined by my favorite journalist Ravish Kumar - at least I first heard it from him. My favorite satirist Akash Banerjee has T-shirts with this logo. Nice to see it used in a review by one of my favorite reviewers. :)

aaawww thank you, @Pomita!

Oh and didn't know Ravish Kumar might have coined the term. Good one!

Suresh Pillai

A film which portrays the
Fallacies of a law which can be used by anyone as per ones own convenience..a very nicely edited film with convincing performance by all ..keep an eye on especially the performance of the judge..which was superb

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