I have a special liking for courtroom dramas and, especially, for ones that expose corrupt or incompetent systems. Examples include the former Academy Awards entry I Just Didn’t Do It from Japan and the non-entry Mexican documentary Presumed Guilty. Court opens with the arrest of Narayan Kamble, a 65-year-old social activist singer/poet who is charged, absurdly, with being responsible for a sewage worker’s death by inciting the man to commit suicide because of a song he wrote.
But what makes Court different is that the film is not about the activist singer, who soon fades into the background. Instead it zeroes in on the outdated and glacial pace of the Indian judicial system and on the personal lives of the human rights lawyer who takes his case, the prosecutor who believes that Kamble is a troublemaker who should be imprisoned just because, and finally, the judge. The defense attorney comes from a sophisticated intellectual family, while the prosecutor still has to go home after work and cook dinner for her family. The judge seems bored and lacking in creative thinking.