Synopsis: A sewerage worker's dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Chaitanya Tamhane
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  15 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min



On the creepers, the flowers,

It laughs gently, the butterfly.

Tiny, colourful wings,

It sways and swings, the butterfly.

Her small eyes, shimmer and shine,

Like rounded gems, the butterfly.

I try to catch her, alas,

She flutters away, the butterfly.



Fill in the blanks.

Dash is the largest state in India...


Dash is the largest continent in the world...


Dash is the longest river in India...


Wrong, Brahmaputra.

Sorry, Brahmaputra.

Dash is the oldest mountain range in India...

(Indistinct chatter)

Don't forget to do your homework.

Yes...I'm coming.

Reaching in five minutes.


CULTURAL PROTEST MEE (Traditional folk song)

Thank you Miratai...

And now coming to perform for us

is people's poet, Narayan Kamble.

Listen brother!

Oh brother...

My dear brother!

Pandemonium is here,

Time to rise and revolt

Time to know your enemy,

Time to know your enemy

Tough times are here,

We're uprooted from our soil

This era of blindness,

Has gouged our eyes

Agent appears a crook,

An owl resembles a peacock

A giant becomes babyish,

A baby turns into a giant

The good ones are forgotten,

The good for nothings, praised

The enemy...

The enemy is all-destructive,

Yet we sing his praise

Time to know your enemy,

Time to know your enemy

Satan is blank and white,

Your life trapped in his vice

Colour is his weapon of choice,

As death raises its voice

Colours play a game of dice,

The rules are divisive

Humanity is in its cage,

It burns, it disintegrates

Colours that multicolour,

Colours that discolour

The colour, it breaks,

Now it looks fake

You are stupefied,

How much will you forsake

These dense jungles,

These rusty jungles

Religious jungles,

Casteist jungles

Racist jungles,

Nationalist jungles

On this deathly night,

We lose all our senses

Hands bruised and burnt...

Hands bruised and burnt,

Get a gift of boiling wax

Time to know your enemy,

Time to know your enemy

The delusion of illusion,

Money, it reigns supreme

Has turned man into a mongrel,

This mongrel has 17 breeds

The blood is infested with hunger,

Will this hunger be content, ever?

The search for happiness is on,

But all directions are blurred

This razzle dazzle,

Yes brother

This razzmatazz,

Yes brother

This scam sham,

Yes brother

These fancy malls,

Yes brother

Free for all,

Yes brother

This great fall,

Yes brother

Scam sham, huge malls,

Great Fall, Great Fall

Malady and gluttony,

Gluttony and malady

What's going on?

Stop this!


(Indistinct chatter)

Where do I find Pradeep Shelke?

There, in that mom.

Pradeep Shelke?

One minute please.

Can you fill the rest of the form outside?

Okay sir.

But please look into it.

I will.

Hello sir.


Have a seat.

Tell me.

I wanted to speak to you

about Narayan Kamble's arrest.

Are you his relative?

No. His lawyer.

- What is your name?

- Vinay Vora.

Can we meet him?

No, we've sent him to Jogeshwari.

We don't have a holding cell here.

- You are the investigating officer, right?

- Yes.

On what charges was he arrested?

Didn't you tell him?

He was right there.

What did you tell us?

You didn't tell us anything.

No, I told him.

I had gone with the warrant.

- Can I see the warrant?

- Sure.

One minute.


Abetment of suicide?

Who committed suicide?

A man from the Sitladevi slums.


A manhole worker called Vasudev.


Just last week, Narayan Kamble and his boys

had performed in that very slum.

- Am I right?

- Yes.

In one of his songs, Kamble incited

all manhole workers to commit suicide.

No, he didn't say anything of that sort.

That's what you are saying.

But we've received complaints,

we've got orders for his arrest.

Okay. Then?

Then what, two days later,

that man went down the gutter and died.

But it could be an accident...

No, it's a clear case of suicide.

We don't make arrests without proof.

What proof? Show it to us.

There's no point arguing here.

We'll talk about this later.


Tomorrow you can ask the judge.

Okay sir. Here.


- How about some tea?

- No sir.


Thank you.

- Everyone clear the way.

- Move along.

Hello. Good morning ma'am.

What do you need?

Notary, stamp duty, affidavit?

I'll do it all.

Your next date is 5th September.

Sir, I have to go to my hometown

in September.

In that case,

take a date in October.

- 13th October, okay?

- Okay.

Thank you sir.

Case number 133,

Radhanagar Police Station, Bankim Shah.


Stolen watch reported.

The complainant claims that

the watch has been stolen by his neighbour.


Sir, I want to cross-examine him.


State your name.

- Bankim Shah.

When did you realise

that your watch has been stolen?

Our family had gone out of town...

When we came back,

we realised someone had out the window grill.

- Why didn't you inform the police about that?

- I did, ask him.

- Had he mentioned it?

- Yes, he had.

Note down...

He had gone out for a week

and when he came back,

he saw the grill was cut,

and the watch was stolen.

Forget the 'he informed the police' bit,

that's not necessary.


Why do you think Rakesh Shukla

stole your watch?

Two weeks after the robbery, someone in the

neighbourhood saw him wearing the same watch.

But can't he own a similar watch?

How do you know it's your watch?

The watch is not from here.

A relative had gifted it to me.

He got it from America.


Someone from their neighbourhood saw

Rakesh Shukla wearing the same watch,

and the watch was a gift from America.


But my client can also buy

a watch from America, right?

Please read the report carefully.

He has submitted the bill,

the serial number of the watch.

Yes, but can't he also buy a watch?

Yes, but how can he buy a watch

with the same serial number?

It says here that the serial number is matching

with that of the recovered watch.

How does it maker, the serial number

can be of the product itself.

What are you saying,

how will the serial number match?

How can there be just one serial number?

We need to look into that, sir.

We need to find out more details

of the product.

You do one thing,

take a date for the next month.

12th November.

Till then investigate all you want.

That's exactly what I was saying, sir.

Thank you.

Case number 134,

Sitladevi Police Station, Narayan Kamble.

How can I give bail?

These are all non-bailable offences.

Sir, I request you to use your discretion and

grant conditional bail to my client.

No, no...l can't do it.

Sir, if you wish, you can put restrictions

on his further performances.

No, no.

This is a Sessions Court case.

12 days judicial custody for the accused.

Case number 135...

One minute, one minute...

what about these people?

They were travelling in the handicapped

compartment of a train.

- Do you all plead guilty?

- Yes, we do.

Okay, fine them 500 rupees each

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Chaitanya Tamhane

Chaitanya Tamhane (born 1 March 1987) is an Indian filmmaker, known for the 2014 courtroom drama Court. It was announced as India's official submission for the 88th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The film examines the Indian legal system through the trial of an aging folk singer in a lower court in Mumbai. Court is Tamhane's directorial debut for a feature length film. His previous work includes the short film Six Strands, of which he was also the writer and director, as well as producer. For Court, Tamhane was nominated for best screenwriter at the 9th Asian Film Awards and won best director at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, among many other awards and honors. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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