In cinema, the courtroom makes for a dramatic setting and the characters that populate it are more often than not stereotypes. The judge is always an imposing figure who has the final authority and the lawyers are always articulate. What if the attorneys aren’t good orators? What does the judge do once he takes off the judicial robe and heads home? These are some of the questions that led Chaitanya Tamhane to make his first feature film, Court, that strips a courtroom of all its drama.
“In movies, we see a condensed version of court proceedings. I became fascinated with the idea of a realistic courtroom drama — from technical passages read aloud in a monotonous voice to the chaos in a courtroom,” says Tamhane. Going against the norm of having a courtroom scene set in the High Court or Supreme Court, his film is set in a lower trial court. Court has received the Hubert Bals fund from Rotterdam Film Festival, a prestigious but small sum, and, on September 4, it will have its World Premiere at the 71st Venice Film Festival. The movie has been selected as part of the Horizons section, which honours new trends in world cinema.
In Court, all the drama takes place outside the courtroom. “While doing my research and interviewing lawyers and activists, I realised that somewhere their cultural milieu and personal values affect the way justice is served. To find out who these people are outside the courtroom was fascinating,” says the 27-year-old. The director finds settings more intriguing than the characters. For instance, his play, Grey Elephants in Denmark, explores the “world of close-up magicians and mentalists”. His short film Six Strands was set “in the Darjeeling tea industry.”
- Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah Trust to SC: Ready to give women access to sanctum sanctorum
- Samajwadi Party Crisis: 5 Quotes By Mulayam Singh Yadav At Press Conference
- Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Vs Shivaay: What Delhites Pick
- Supreme Court Directs Vijay Mallya To Fully Disclose Foreign Assets In 4 Weeks
- 5 Reasons To Watch Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
- BSP Supremo Mayawati Criticises PM Modi Over Triple Talaq: Here’s What She Said
- Google Pixel XL Phone Review: Pros, Cons And Final Verdict
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Says Army donation Is Voluntary
- Rock On 2 Trailer Launch: Farhan Akhtar, Shraddha Kapoor, Prachi Desai On Their Roles
- Cyrus Mistry’s Career Timeline
- Stalker Kills Woman At Metro Station In Gurgaon: Here’s What Happened
- Bigg Boss 10 October 24 Review: Seven Contestants Nominated For Evictions
- Power Struggle In Mulayam’s Party: Here’s What People Reacted
- 1 Dead, 5 Injured In Low Intensity Explosion In Delhi’s Naya Bazaar Area
- Delhi: Naya Bazar Explosion Cctv Footage
Characterised by long takes, the film gives an insight into the day-to-day lives of people who work in a courtroom. Binding these strands together is an ongoing trial, where an ageing folk singer is tried on charges of abetment to suicide of a sewerage worker, whose body is found in a manhole in Mumbai. Inspired by the imprisonment of cultural activist Jeeten Marandi, the folk singer is accused of performing an inflammatory song that could have incited the man to kill himself.
Recreating the courtroom was an elaborate effort. As photography is prohibited, the film’s production designers spent hours inside courts taking detailed notes about them. “Ageing was an important aspect of the movie. Since a case goes on for a long period of time, it was important to convey this transition through visual cues. For example, we shot photographs of walls with cracks. These were then used as reference images to make the courtroom look older,” says Pooja Talreja who, with Somnath Pal, is the production designer of the film.
The film has a cast of non-professional actors and besides the courtroom set, the rest of it was shot at various locations across Mumbai.
“Mumbai is a key element in the film. The characters are from different backgrounds,” says Tamhane about his multilingual film where the characters, like in the city, speak in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and English.