Article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibits the state from discriminating against any citizen on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
The story of Article 15 is inspired by 2014 Badaun gang-rape allegations and Una rape case of 2016 where the story tries to highlight the prejudice that still exist in Indian society on caste lines. The movie highlights the plight of the rural Dalit from the eyes of macho, educated upper middle-class upper caste Indian cop who does not seem to understand the logic behind these differences. The scene that best explains the entrenched caste reality of Indian society is when Ayushmann’s character, Ayaan, asks the caste of the cops he is working with, and who understand details of everyone’s status in this division.
Director Anubhav Sinha gives the viewer a reality-check of rural India and how caste still holds the same position it did back in 1947. The story begins with Dalits in the village coming to the police station asking the police officer to look for their three missing girls. A few days later, two out of three girls are found hanging on a tree, and the macho Delhi-educated Indian cop gets down to work. The film tries to bring to you a picture of how complicated cases can get and how cops, politicians, and upper-caste keep the system of caste atrocities alive for their own benefits. Ayushmann’s performance is brilliant, and is complemented well by his fellow actors – Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra and Manoj Pahwa. Isha Talwar playing Ayushmann’s love interest in the film is the key to his mind. His conversations with her gives us an inside into his feelings, thoughts on the case and what he thinks is the right thing to do.
The film unfolds with Ayan getting suspended, finding the rapists, and the third girl who has gone missing. One of the scenes in the movie showcases manual scavenging being done by a Dalit with background sounds of Vande Matram. That particular scene makes you feel the true sense of what idea of India should be. The movie in very subtle ways comments on India’s contemporary political scenario as well. The movie is a comment on India’s systematic prejudices, and systematic corruption. I am going with three and an half out of five.