Cast: Sai Pallavi and others
Directed by Gautam Ramachandran
Running time: 137 minutes
‘Gargi’ (out today in Tamil and Telugu) could well prove to be a hit of the season, much like R Madhavan’s gripping and moving ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’. As a crime thriller, ‘Gargi’ creates suspense and thrills without producing invented storylines. A courtroom drama, it keeps the viewer guessing as the pendulum swings organically from prosecutor to defense attorney. Usually our films dumb down legal jargon or, worse, show hilarity in the name of court hearings. Gargi is a rare film that respects genre and honors knowledge.
Gargi (Sai Pallavi) is a school teacher whose father, Brahmanandam (RS Shivaji), works as a security guard at a condominium complex. One fateful day, the father does not return home from work. Gargi sets out to find his whereabouts, only to discover that her father has been arrested in connection with the rape of a nine-year-old girl. Four others were also arrested. Public anger is palpable and the media is crying out for the blood of the accused. In this context, since no one can help the daughter, she must secure legal assistance for her father, who may have been arrested for being economically and socially vulnerable.
Indrans (Kaali Venkat) naturally slips into the role of a supposedly incompetent lawyer who stands up for Brahmanandam when the whole world, including the judiciary, turns against the accused. Sai Pallavi shines in every scene and her performance is as alluring as in the last Virata Parvam. She is superlative in the scenes where she cries; You can feel the headache she will have after whining.
“Gargi” is so single-minded and sincere that even seemingly dry lines spoken in the courtroom hit hard. “It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you can prove,” is one example. A film that infantilizes the audience wouldn’t be able to convey that much.
Shame and confusion, helplessness and hope, and a few other emotions/issues were treated remarkably. Gargi’s mood swings are well captured. The TRP-hungry media, which may be mostly bad, can sometimes be right.
Saravanan as the victim’s father looks menacing in a certain scene. Jayaprakash is eligible to serve as lead counsel. Kavithalaya Krishnan, Livingston and Aishwarya Lekshmi (in an extended cameo) are good. The transgender judge is a character we fall in love with.
Govind Vasantha’s music suits the film’s flair; it neither adds frills nor takes anything away from the film. Sraiyaanti and Premkrishna Akkatu’s cinematography is efficient.
Also Read: Gargi Twitter Review: Sai Pallavi Impresses Moviegoers With Her Powerful Performance In Courtroom Drama