Sarthak Dasgupta directed movie, ‘200 – Halla Ho’, inspired by real events, promises a harrowing look at how Dalit women fought for their rights to be safe and protected against heinous crimes. With a stellar cast including Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru and Barun Sobti, the film looked like it would be a gripping watch. Does it deliver on that feel?
Firstly, it has to be mentioned that the treatment that Dasgupta has given the film is particularly outstanding, especially in the scenes in which the Dalit women commit the murder of Bali who has terrorised theirs and hundreds of other families for over a decade. Visually, that scene and the scenes surrounding that incident will stay with the viewers. They are harrowing, gory and fully representative of the feelings of the community as well as the hurt and frustration the women feel. Dasgupta is also successful in showing the treatment of the women by others, particularly people in authority who should be there to protect them, no matter their cast or standing in the community. There are powerful messages throughout the film on this – some of which doesn’t come through fully but others that makes the viewer think.
The performances in the film are great, with Rajguru and Palekar being the ones that stand out. Their chemistry in some parts is also outstanding because their perspectives are different and they very much go through their own journeys as the story unravels. Aside from this, Sobti’s short role is praiseworthy as he comes out as someone who isn’t really afraid of cast or cultural differences when he falls in love. He and Rajguru make a hugely unlikely “couple” and this adds to the overall intrigue about the behaviours that surround the crime that’s committed and the end result that eventually comes about. Sahil Khattar, Saloni Batra, Upendra Limaye, Indraneil Sengupta and Flora Saini make up a decent ensemble cast but often not really given much space to shine or bring their characters out to create much of an impact.
The main thing that lets the film down is that there are quite a few open ends. There are points made which don’t reach fruition and interesting mini themes which aren’t seen through. This is disappointing a little because the topics explored are of social importance and could fit in well for such a film, to raise these social failures and bring them to light in an impactful way.
Overall, the film leaves you with a sense of sadness about families and females having to deal with such misery and harrassment daily for such a lengthy amount of time. In a way, you identify with the crime they eventually commit even if you aren’t really for violence, which is a weird place to be as a viewer. Bali is one of those villains which gives you a feel of those 90s villains who were so evil that you don’t forget them. And this is something that makes the entire story feel as if it’s the viewer’s fight somewhat. You feel like you are in their place, fighting and waiting for justice. This is perhaps the USP of the film.