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Gautham Ramachandran made his directorial debut with Richie, a remake of the Kannada hit Ulidavaru Kandanthe, which follows the efforts of a journalist intent on uncovering the truth about an incident. As she collects information from various people, she must anticipate potentially biased, preconceived perspectives and myriad other emotional reasons.

Gautham’s second film, Gargi, is set against this different backdrop. But it follows Richie’s premise thematically.

Gargi, played by a wonderful Sai PallaviShe is the eldest daughter of a middle-class household. She is a school teacher and the de facto matriarch of the family as her father is now too old and infirm to carry the weight of responsibility. At the beginning of the film, her life seems to be going in the right direction. Everything seems to be fine for her as her marriage to her boyfriend is on the horizon. However, within hours, things spiral out of control and darkness engulfs her family when her 60-year-old father is accused of raping a child. She cannot accept the allegations against her father because she thinks she knows him and is sure of his innocence. “Get out of town and go somewhere else,” well-meaning police officers advise Gargi, knowing what Gargi’s family will have to deal with once the news breaks. She refuses, knowing what she and her father have been through. “Let the court decide,” she explains, regretting the sensational media coverage in which her father is found guilty before the case even goes to court.

As the fight for justice begins, the crime story turns into a procedural drama.

Gargi, the film, examines the vulnerability of our criminal justice system. A small misjudgment or a tiny discrepancy can mean the difference between life and death. The stakes are too high in this case. On the one hand you have a nine-year-old rape survivor who is so traumatized that she begins to fear her own father. On the other side is an old man, father of two girls, who works around the clock to support his family, who could very well be the victim of a misunderstanding. Gautham places us in a very sensitive area where we work to ensure justice for both the accused and the survivor. He makes us jump hoops as he unveils each piece of new information. And in doing so, he questions everything we know about fellow human beings.

Sai Pallavi put on a powerful performance as a determined daughter who believes in our legal system despite its flaws. Kaali Venkat as Novice Advocate equally shines with his humble presence, proving that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Gargi Film Cast: Sai Pallavi, Kaali Venkat
Gargi Film Director: Gautham Ramachandran
Gargi Movie Rating: 4 stars

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