Macchars don’t wear sweaters

Ek Ruka Hua Faisla

Posted on: February 9, 2007

Who says you need huge sets, mega stars, computer generated graphics, glorious locales, song and dance sequences, punch ups, car chases, or romance and sex to make for a spell binding movie. You dont even need an elaborate plot or action spread over time. All you need is a sparsely furnished room and a few masterly performers. And a plot with depth – a jury gathered to decide the verdict for a young man who is accused of murdering his father certainly qualifies as one.

After seeing the movie I found out that it was a close adaptation of an english movie called “12 Angry Men” made in the mid 50s. I dont know what the original was like, but this movie is as good as any I’ve ever seen.

The movie opens with members of the jury crowding into a room exhausted after sapping sessions of court proceedings. That the verdict will be a death sentence seems like almost an afterthought so overhwelming is the evidence against this young man. The air is that of a longstanding matter being wrapped up and the room brims with the energy of everyone eager to return to thier lives and homes.

Everybody but one man votes for the death sentence. On being asked if he is convinced of the accused’s innocence he says “i dont know” “he might be” “but I am not completely convinced of it” “and since this decision will lead a man to his death i want to talk about it”.

This spurs off a series of debates and heated arguments which gradually turn the tide in favour of the accused merely because there appear to be loopholes in vital clues and key testimonies which give rise to a “reasonable doubt” about the accused’s guilt.

As it turns out, the decisions of these men are not so rational as they seem but governed by personal prejudices, beliefs and experiences. Masks melt away and true personalities emerge as tempers fly high and pressures mount on this “hottest day of the year”.

A wonderful study of different personalities so masterfully enacted and completely engrossing (and sublimely humorous in parts!) as you observe these personalities clash with each other. 

I am a little thick at drawing messages and essensial themes but the movie held my attention all along and left me completely fulfilled. One thought I drew from the movie was how bound we are by our prejudices and how impossible it is to be “completely rational”. So intervowen are these prejudices with our personalities that they leave thier impression on every single decision we ever make.

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