The apparent ‘suicide’ of a sewage cleaner leads to the arrest of Dalit activist/folk singer. The 65-year old is held on grounds of abetting the suicide through his lyrics. The film follows the personal lives of the Judge, the Public Prosecutor & the activist’s lawyer as the case meanders its away across months courtesy of numerous excuses &delays.
Running Time:
116 min
Release date:
17 April 2015
Directed by:
Chaitanya Tamhane
Produced by:
Vivek Gomber
Written by:
Chaitanya Tamhane
Vira Sathidar
Vivek Gomber
Geetanjali Kulkarni
Pradeep Joshi
Usha Bane
Shirish Pawar
Music by:
Sambhaji Bhagat
Shot by:
Mrinal Desai
Editing by:
Rikhav Desai
Distributed by:
Long Live Cinema

What’s Hot

  • Courtroom dramas are pretty common in Indian Cinema with adaptations of so many high-profile cases made into features. Most of them involve accused/lawyers howling at the judges for justice. Recetly, Shahid played it down & was closer to reality. But nothing can come close to Court. It is impossible for a lawyer let alone a common man even raise his/her voice in displeasure against a Judge as everything in a Court room goes by the book. This is fantastically brought out in Court.
  • There is something about mysterious about the lawyer, Vivek Gomber who incidentally is also the Producer of the film. His walk, talk & actions reflect thoughtfulness in every stride & is not just driven by raw emotion. The scenes with his obnoxious father & sweet mother are a riot & made the audience go delirious. His expression of disbelief, at age-old laws being still followed by the book & gross injustice being meted out to his client, is outstanding.
  • Geetanjali Kulkarni, an acclaimed theatre actor & wife of the well-known Atul Kulkarni, who plays the Public Prosecutor, Nutan, symbolizes the spirit of Court. While the story brings forth the cases faced by the aging Kamble, the perspective of the public prosecutor is not lost. The monotony of her life in terms of travel, chit-chat, household activities, and family outings, is depicted such that the audience stop hating her for the injustice meted out to the Kamble & start admiring the spirit with which she manages everything. The modulation with which she stresses on the last syllable when speaking in English is brilliant and of course her delivery that one long dialogue in the second half (even though she reads from paper) is nothing short of sensational.
  • The Judge is perhaps the antagonist of the film given that we are not shown how these cases are foisted upon Kamble. But even he cannot be called the quintessential villain as he too is following the Law. But we do get to see past his outwardly good façade from time to time which becomes all the more evident when the focus shifts to his antics during the vacation. His dynamic with the court stenographer has been used well to create humorous situations regularly.
  • The performance of Vira Sathidar as the accused folk singer, Narayan Kamble & Usha Bane as the widowed Sharmila Pawar, who are given minimal screen time when compared with the Lawyers and the Judge, makes you spellbound. Point-blank replies with minimal emotion add value to their characterization. Particularly, the change in Usha’s demeanor when she is in a car from when she was standing in the court follows the thin line between inconspicuous & noticeable.
  • Apart from the discernible apathy on display, the fact that most of the people in the film are non-actors is stunning to say the least. On multiple occasions, the camera just stays right on front of them & not once do we see a hint of artificiality from them. The court stenographer, the coward restaurant guard, the Anglo-Indian lady who was accused of wearing a sleeveless dress to Court, the calmness-personified Inspector and so many more stay with you even after the film due to their immaculate characterization.
  • Chaitanya Tamhane has been extremely gutsy in making this film in his own way – a deceptively uncomplicated mainstream docu-drama that touches all sections of the society. He has touched topics ranging from numerology to criminal law to patriarchy to class divide to language divide existing within the country. Symbolism has been infused into the narrative with subtlety that belies his age/experience. He is certainly a breath of fresh-air & a flag bearer for Indian Indie cinema!

What’s Not

  • While the content as such was presented in a taut fashion, we wish some more screen time was given to the parents of the lawyer and the folk singer for they had this indomitable screen presence which the director could have capitalized more of.



Verdict Stamp

Labelling Court as a ‘Realistic courtroom drama’ that raises pertinent questions on the Judiciary would be unfair to the film, for it touches upon diverse topics that extend beyond the courtroom or the streets or our homes. In fact, once you let the film sink in, you realize it touches the mind and the societal apathy that has crept into it.