Winner of numerous awards including a top prize at Venice Film Festival, Court is an exemplar of modern Indian cinema at its best, channelling the spirit of masters such as Satyajit Ray. Narayan Kamble is an ageing folk singer living in Mumbai who has been marked by the authorities as a dissident. Kamble’s latest charge is for inciting the suicide of a sewage worker through the allegedly seditious lyrics in his songs. With no evidence and few witnesses, events unfold in a lower Mumbai courtroom, shedding a cold light on the justice system in contemporary India.
Alongside this, glimpses into the lives and minds of Kamble’s defence lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge illuminate the personal prejudices, corruption and ultimately injustice still prevalent in the shadows of the system. Tamhane’s debut feature places this convincing narrative within the context of a country full of contrasts: modernity versus tradition, wealth versus poverty, young versus old, with both humanity and humour. Combining the coiled tension of the best court-room dramas with a pointedly absurdist strain of black humour, Court is one of the finest films of the year; a feature debut which accords director Tamane “a place at the highest table of international cinema” (Sight and Sound magazine).