#1 in India today, Guilty on Netflix is a take on the #MeToo movement. In Dharma style by Karan Johar and Ruchi Narain, written by Kanika Dhillon and Atika Chohan.
The Netflix original is led by Kiara Advani, who plays the protagonist Nanki, a college student whose boyfriend, Vijay Pratap Singh, is accused of rape by another student, Tanu Arora who is shown as a small-town attention-seeking girl, ‘bold’, ambitious, who openly expresses her desires – sexual or otherwise. Though the main focus is on sexual desire and none other. In this process of accusation and the search of truth, Nanki experiences intense anxiety attacks and is under medication. Which eventually makes her testimony unreliable.
The film begins with the perspective of the lawyers fighting the case for Vijay (VJ) and his powerful parents, as he interviews his friends and band members present on the day of the incident. Through this, we are taken into flashbacks of the day the crime is said to have happened.
There is an accurate representation of Delhi, DU student lingo and the vibe and the tone of the movie is set in accordance with student life, unlike the typical High-class candy colleges in Karan Johar’s movies.
As the story progresses the writers manipulate stereotypes and make-believe its audiences the outcome of the story. Which as the climax is reached is unravelled as a different scene altogether. In addition, there Is an undertone of judgments that people form about others and how they can be wrong.
The film presents a good premise overall, but for a film that is entirely dependent on the he-said-she-said narrative, there isn’t much focus on Tanu’s point of view as a victim. There are a lot of factors that keep the audiences engaged in the narrative of the movie which is two hours long – use of soundtracks which do not overpower the narrative, the storytelling, the individual struggles of each character and the power dynamics involved in hiding the truth behind the heinous crime.
On the other hand, The final monologue of Kiara Advani in some way or the other kills the importance of the issue that has been dominantly covered in the film. The Rape Culture and the suffering and humiliation faced by Victims. But also raises the issue of patriarchy in Indian society and how “Men will be men” mentality has seeped in the very cores of people.
Nonetheless, Guilty is a must-watch film, as it is different from conventional Bollywood drama and denotes the misuse of power and authority.