The failure of the criminal justice system has often led to lynching incidents around the world. Inspired by one such event, director Sarthak Dasgupta’s ‘200 Halla Ho’ is a story of mob revenge.
Set in Nagpur, the film tells you how a group of Dalit women, residents of Rahee Nagar, take the law into their own hands by lynching and killing Balli Chaudhary (Sahil Khattar), a gangster who was terrorising them.
This mob justice was delivered within the court premises before the proceedings of the court could begin. A group of masked women slaughter Balli by chopping off his body parts with regular household items after blinding him and the policemen who had accompanied him for a court hearing with chilli powder.
Flummoxed by the incident, and forced to file a case against the women, senior inspector Patil (Upendra Limaye) arrests the five women without any evidence against them.
The Women Rights Commission, a quasi-judicial body sets up a fact-finding committee to help these women. The team consisting of an advocate, Anwar Sheikh, a professor, Abhinav Avsare, and a journalist named Poorva Sawhney, played by Saloni Batra, and is headed by retired Justice Vitthal Dangle (Amol Palekar).
The story is not at all shocking, but the narrative ends up becoming a feel-good tale of women enduring a series of horrific abuses, but at what cost?
Sarthak Dasgupta, the director, tactfully balances tone and pacing, thus ensuring the film is intense and gripping. He successfully brings to the fore the anguish and despair of the women, the loathsome disgust of the antagonists, and showcases how the system operates. The film would not have been what it is had it not been for Sahil Khattar’s performance. Balli Chaudhary is a well-etched antagonist and Sahil delivers it with gusto. His repulsiveness is palpable. His lingering, predatory looks and foreboding presence elevates the film’s drift.
Amol Palekar gives a subdued performance befitting his personality.
Film: ‘200 Halla Ho’
Director: Sarthak Dasgupta
Cast: Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, Barun Sobti, Sahil Khattar, Saloni Batra, and Indraneil Sengupta