Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Ashish Verma, Sayani Gupta, Isha Talwar, Nasser
Director: Anubhav Sinha
This is what Wikipedia states about Article 15 (film): While not based on one specific event, the film is inspired by multiple true life events including 2014 Badaun gang-rape allegations and 2016 Unnao flogging incident.
On 27 May 2014, alleged gang rape and murder of two teenage girls in the Katra village of Budaun district had shocked the nation.
Going by the popular perception that the film Article 15 is based on real-life incidents like Badaun gang-rape – the director Anubhav Sinha has never claimed so – the details in the movie depict a totally strange narrative that clearly goes against upper castes. Now some people have started claiming that Brahmins and Pandits are being targetted under the garb of being inspired by "real incidents". The incidents are real but the facts are not so real, rather unreal as they lead to a wrong conclusion, allege some people.
Upper Caste Vs Lower Caste fiasco
In the movie Article 15, the victims are being shown as "Dalits" but in reality, as acknowledged by many media organisation in the past, the victims belonged to Shakya community, also known as Maurya. The suspects, as well as the local police officers, belonged to the Yadav community. Importantly, both castes are classified as OBC in Uttar Pradesh.
So, the upper caste and lower caste 'inspiration' doesn't hold good here. But the movie appears to cast aspersions on the upper castes while delving on incident inspired by Badaun gang-rape.
The Maurya caste is often thought to be equal in the social ladder to the Yadav caste. The difference was the political dispensation at that time–Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Power game, not caste factor
The power scale was clearly tilted towards Yadavs but that had nothing to do with the caste factor. Is it proper to blame one particular community which had no effective role to play in this particular rape and murder case?
Boys will make mistakes
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had courted controversy by opposing the death penalty for rapists saying "Boys will be boys. They make mistakes". Now, this narrative of this sad saga has not been highlighted, but conveniently the shame has been wrongly dumped on those who have long been depicted as 'evil-characters' in the Bollywood.
Cinematic liberty, don't bother too much
Well! normally it is easy to gloss over such aberrations from the facts in the name of cinematic liberty, but you can't afford this luxury when dealing with events that shape the course of history and make us question the direction we are taking. Director Anubhav Sinha while promoting Article 15 told Kapil Sharma: "My aim is to start a debate and this is not a small achievement".
True, there should be a debate. But this debate should not be unidirectional. Should the director be allowed to twist the facts to suit his or her narrative?
Should the director come out in open and accept that the movie is not based on 'real-life incident'?
Let the debate begin!