Guilty, touted as the brainchild of an all-women creative, tries discussing the conversation through a story of rape allegation set against the backdrop of MeToo, which makes it relevant. Any film that attempts to talk to the audience on this subject should be deemed important, and that is despite its cinematic merit or the lack of it.
Ruchi Narain’s film, based on a script she has penned with Kanika Dhillon and Atika Chohan, hits the ground running. Your anticipation is amped as a sequence of police investigation reveals there has been a rape in a top Delhi college during Valentine’s Day festivities. The accused VJ (Gurfateh Singh Pirzada), it turns out, is darling of the campus. No one is quite willing to believe the victim, a regular girl from Dhanbad named Tanu (Akansha Ranjan) who is clearly not the popular one around.
Guilty would appear impressive in the way the characters turn. Tanu, for instance, is introduced as a girl who can lie with a straight face for petty advantages, so that becomes the biggest hurdle for people to fathom if she is indeed saying the truth. Kiara’s Nanki, too much the urban glam girl as the early minutes pass, wouldn’t quite seem like a girl who would take up the cudgels on her cornered boyfriend’s behalf. VJ himself is the sunshine boy to start with.
Unfortunately, the narrative fails to capitalise on the dynamics these characters augur, as the layers are peeled around the story.Guilty boasts of some fine performances by the cast — Kiara Advani, particularly, deserves mention. But the actors are weighed down by mediocre storytelling and the film is a wasted attempt. For all the trippy campus vibes, you are left with an elaborately soppy climax that reminds you this is a Karan Johar production.
Cast: Kiara Advani, Gurfateh Singh Pirzada, Akansha Ranjan
Direction: Ruchi Narain
Rating: * * and 1/2