By Sinjini Sengupta:
You know what I found most wonderful about this film, Pink? That we’re not told what exactly had happened ‘that night’, other than for the courtroom questions and cross-examinations, the police report vaguely scribbled down over afterthoughts, the pretences and lies uncovered through legal cross-questions, the video footage of CCTV. And yet, you don’t get to know what exactly happened that night. Until the end credits are rolling.
Now, that’s the beauty of nuance. That’s the beauty of a hard-hit message.
“What happened” is shown, however, just for the sake of it, just when we had gotten up from our seats and didn’t expect to know anymore. It is shown in the same way the “making of film” videos are run, where the discarded, eliminated and useless bits are sewn in mostly for fun. You don’t need to see it. You don’t need to know what happened there, at all!
Because, whatever happened – does that matter, as long as there is consent?
Not, not really. Not any longer. What – alone – is important is that there was a dissent.
“No”– A word. An expression. A decision, in its own right. Without reasons, without debate, without negotiation. Without force.
No. A right.
You come out of the theatre, braver and stronger, more proud, more empowered with your chin up.
You know, that ‘no’ is your right.
Yes, that’s right! Even if you are a sex worker, a girl, a girlfriend, or a wife. You can still say no. Even if it doesn’t appear right to others, you can say no. Even if you had a different view before, even if you changed your mind later, you can say no.
The hands of the clock do not matter. The length of your hemline does not matter. Whom and how many people you have slept with doesn’t either.
Their moral judgments of the ‘aunties’ do not matter. Their snide remarks do not matter. May they lead their own lives their own way, if they please. May they leave you to live yours. Their angry red eyes, their sense of ‘right’ does not matter.
What only matters, is you.
And you must know your rights. Because it is your body. And hence, simply and automatically, it is your right to say ‘no’, your right to pour yourself a drink, despite everything.
PS: I sat tight on my seat in the theatre with tears streaming down. I believe I was not the only one crying. But then, here’s what. I was also missing someone almost sorely. I don’t know her as much as I’d wish to, and yet I could not stop thinking about her during almost all of the court scenes and beyond.
Suzette Jordan, you.
I wish you lived to see this!
Tu khud ki khoj mein nikal.
Tu kis liye hataash hai?
Tere wajood ki,
Samay ko bhi talaash hai!
PPS: If you’re a Bengali, you cannot but be reminded of “Dahon”, a film directed by Rituparno Ghosh. Sir, know that someone has picked it up from where you left.