Guilty - convicted of pretentiousness
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Guilty, which is the other Netflix original I watched this weekend, couldn't be more on the opposite end of the spectrum than Maska, in its narrative style, theme or treatment. Whereas Maska was light, cheery and straightforward, Guilty takes on the burdensome, and admittedly tricky, task of portraying itself as the personification of the MeToo movement zeitgeist of a couple of years ago.
It is brought to us by Dharmatic (the digital arm of Karan Johar's Dharma Productions), the very same geniuses who brought us last year's straight-to-Netflix-streaming disaster called Drive starring Sushant Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez. Btw, the older traditional sibling hasn't fared too well last year as well, bringing us the epic bore Kalank, which I have reviewed on this site, and SOTY2 starring the expressionless six-pack wonder Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Pandey.
Starring Kiara Advani, (she was the infuriatingly silent and obsequious doormat to Shahid Kapoor's sordid misogynist Kabir Singh, arguably the most polarizing movie of 2019, but did a much better job at year-end in Good Newzz alongside Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor Khan) in the central role of free-spirited and heavily tattooed Delhi college girl Nanki, it weaves a Rashomon-like tale of various characters giving different, contradictory versions of the same incident of consensual / non-consensual sex. This plot device was used far more effectively in Meghna Gulzar's Arushi murder case police procedural, Talvar (2015). Here it is an excuse for pretentious film-making and cinematography techniques masquerading as earnestness, but in reality camouflaging lazy storytelling, culminating in an all too neat public denouement. A subject as complex as this deserved a better directed and acted vehicle. Time's up for this movie? Guilty as charged.
March 29, 2020