In one of the scenes in Article 15, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s Nishad breaks down in front of Sayani Gupta’s Gaura for not being able to give her a life they dreamed of, depicting the humane side of rebellion and how its propagators live life on the edge. The scene barely lasts for a few minutes, but it gives us one of the most emotional moments of the Anubhav Sinha film.
Zeeshan and Sayani, who play victims of social injustice, might just be among the many supporting actors in the crime drama, but their scenes leave us asking for a lot more of them. Same implies to Manoj Pahwa and Kumud Mishra. To call these two maverick performers the pillars of Article 15 won’t be wrong.
Anubhav Sinha’s latest directorial Article 15 gets a thumbs-up for reasons more than one. The film establishes Sinha’s position in Bollywood (after last year’s hit Mulk) as a filmmaker who prefers to pick relevant stories. While the film’s major share of accolades goes to Ayushmann Khurrana who plays a no non-sense and upright cop, Article 15 wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for its brilliant supporting cast.
Manoj Pahwa as Bhramadatt and Kumud Mishra as Jatav play close aides of Ayushmann who time and again try to show him the harsh reality of the place, urging him to turn a blind eye to several things before all hell breaks loose.
Pahwa and Mishra are two sides of the same coin. While Pahwa, being the senior one, is more aware about the situation, Mishra, is the one taking instructions because he comes from a lower caste. There is constant friction between these two characters. So when Bhramadatt takes down Jatav during one of the investigations, leaving the two in a heated debate behind a jeep, we get a striking sequence.
In another scene, when Sayani Gupta breaks down holding Kumud Mishra, her pain pricks our heart too. Sayani’s best comes when she emotes through her eyes.
Veen Harsh who played the ruthless contractor Anshu Nahariya stole every scene he appeared in. Other actors like Shubrajyoti Bharat as Chandrabhan, Ashish Verma as Mayank, Sushil Pandey as Nihal Singh and Akash Dabhade as Satyendra also left an imprint on our minds.
Article 15 is an example of how the canvas of a film cannot rely solely on the lead actor. Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki’s script made the best use of the strong supporting cast.