Tag Archives: Henry Fonda

The Wrong Man and Ek Ruka Hua Faisla: Two most important films we should watch right now!

With ‘The Wrong Man’ Alfred Hitchcock had tried to serve a different dish to his audiences. Sadly, he failed. The king of suspense was expected to tell only mysteries and thriller through his films. The film has suddenly come into relevance for me. While watching the whole JNU episode in which the police picked Kanhaiya Kumar from JNU campus and people engulfed by nationalism called him a traitor without a single question springing in their mind, I began to picture some scenes from ‘The Wrong Man’. Those scenes in which Manny played by the legendary Henry Fonda is picked up by the police mistakingly.

Henry Fonda and Vera Miles in "The wrong Man"- Bollywoodirect

Henry Fonda and Vera Miles in “The wrong Man”

It happens when Manny goes to his bank to apply for a loan and the bank employee finds Manny’s face and dressing matching with a criminal who attacked her some months back. In fear, she yells at him. All the other employees come to her and the police is called. The next moment, Manny finds himself in a jail.

He tries to convince the police, the woman bank employee who had put the blame and the other employees of the bank that he is not a criminal. But nobody tries to believe him. In everyone’s perspective, he is a villain, a criminal.

Perspective! Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Wrong Man’ was all about perspective. The film questions on yours and mine perspective in looking at things. Was it your perspective which believed that Manny was a criminal or was it someone else’s? That someone else could be anyone. It could be a gang on social media, your neighbour or may be the news anchor who is shouting enormously on the screen.

One woman finds Manny a criminal and Manny becomes a criminal the next second. Without any second thought, any rethinking, everyone has reached the conclusion.

At JNU, they picked up the wrong man. In spite of getting after those who are alleged defaulters, police picked up Kanhaiya Kumar- the man who wanted to stop his loved university from getting defamed unnecessarily. Nationalism was at work over there but in the wrong direction.

The only difference between the ‘The Wrong Man’ and the present JNU scenario is the intention behind putting the blame. In the film, the woman mistakingly sends Manny to jail. At JNU, it was not a mistake but an intentional game plan. But let’s not get into it. The bigger questions are – why are we in so much hurry in declaring judgements? Do we know that because of our impulsiveness, someone is taking advantage for their politics?

Are we ready debate on an issue before reaching a conclusion? And this question brings me to other favorite film – Basu Chatterjee’s Ek Ruka Hua Faisala. This film was a copy of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. The tagline of the film in itself is a lesson. It says ‘Life in their hands, death in their minds’. Relate the tagline with the present scenario where everyone is after Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid (even if he is a traitor, let’s prove he is the one and not be depended upon some video clips and media to prove his guilt). Relate the tagline to the group of lawyers who attacked the journalists inside Patiala House Court. Relate the line with the plethora of social media comments which read ‘Kill the traitors’.

A scene from Ek Ruka Hua Faisla

A scene from Ek Ruka Hua Faisla

Now let’s come back to the film. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla involves the greats of the hindi film industry- KK Raina, Annu Kapoor, Pankaj Kapoor coming together in one film. The film is about a boy who allegedly has killed his father. The court has left the right to take the final call of the case on 12 men only after discussing all the aspects of the case. The 12 men are locked in a room to discuss.

Even before the start of the discussion, 11 of them have already made their mind – the kid is guilty. He should be sent to jail. All the witnesses are against him. There is a strong list of evidences against him. There is no question why he should be set free. The kid is a danger to the society, they said. All the men in the room share the same opinion except one.

Juror No. 8 played by KK Raina, stands and says, “I want to debate. I am not saying the Kid is not guilty but I dare to disagree that he is guilty. The court has given us the responsibility to take a very important decision and we ought to take it seriously.”

Juror No 8 is what all we need to be. Debate. Think. Rethink. Because even the truth needs a debate.

Written By – Shubham Pandey

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.

Best Court room drama films (10+1list)

Best Court room drama films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Back in 1928 director Carl Theodor Dreyer made an epic film The Passion of Joan of Arc and although the movie was unique in many other aspects but it was also probably the first ever cinema to showcase the dramatization inside a court room.

And since then, there has been several brilliant contributions made to the ‘courtroom drama’ genre.

The Judge, the jury, the lawyer, the accused and the witnesses. Guilty or Not guilty?

Sometimes the primary focus is on the lawyer’s intellect and determination while other films deal more with the accused or the suspense of the final verdict. 

The list below consists of some of the best Courtroom drama films ever made.

So, Order! Order!

10. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7CBKT0PWFA

12-angry-men-posterWhen you say ‘courtroom drama’, the first film that comes to your mind is this one, and why not?

An epic film directed by Sidney Lumet featuring a murder trail where 12 jury members have to come to a decision unanimously.

Almost shot inside a single room, 12 characters and their unique approach to the case. Henry Fonda‘s best role.

Another brilliant film by the same director on this genre is The Verdict (1982). A must watch.

9. The Paradine Case (1947)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGt4VvcSfjU

pardine-case-posterNot one of his best suspense thrillers, but nevertheless Alfred Hitchcock‘s contribution to the courtroom drama genre.

A lawyer risks his own marriage and reputation as he falls for the beautiful female client accused of murdering her own husband!

Gregory PeckAnn ToddCharles Laughton and Oscar nominated Ethel Barrymore all at their best.

8. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVN1hv9D5c

witness-prosecution-posterThis time it’s director Billy Wilder who joins the courtroom drama.

Brilliant performances by Tyrone PowerMarlene DietrichCharles Laughton

The film’s suspense is so vital that the audience before entering the hall had to sign, cards that read, ‘I solemnly swear I will not reveal the ending of Witness for the Prosecution.’! 

7. Primal Fear (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnmTi7hSjrA

primal-fear-posterA priest murdered and an alter boy is accused for killing him. But the real truth is not what it seems to be.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, this one is a superb drama with some pretty unexpected twists.

Richard Gere and Laura Linney give awesome performances but the one to look for in the film is Edward Norton, a star was born.

Another cool film by the same director on this genre is Fracture (2007). A good watch.

6. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfOgZXIQ6fo

Judgment-Nuremberg-posterFour Nazi judges are to be judged for their war crimes, but before the cold-war people are willing to forget the past very easily.

Director Stanley Kramer creates this terrific American courtroom in occupied Germany of 1948 and tells the intense tale of judgement. 

Probably the film of most historical significance in this list.

Another awesome film by the same director on this genre is Inherit the Wind (1960)

5. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAVLvGP25uQ

Anatomy-Murder-posterCan temporary insanity be the reason for committing murder?

My favorite actor James Stewart gives a great performance along with Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara.

Directed by Otto Preminger, there was controversy because the film uses words like ‘bitch’, ‘contraceptive’, ‘panties’, ‘penetration’, ‘rape, ‘slut’ and ‘sperm’ for the first time on screen!

4. Philadelphia (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4B9AU45P4

philadelphia-posterTom HanksDenzel WashingtonRoberta Maxwell all together in this superb drama.

A lawyer takes the case of a man who press charges on his employee on the ground that he was fired just because he had AIDS.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this is one remarkable film based on a true incident.

3. …And Justice for All. (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQzYNoLANrg

And-Justice-All-poster‘You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!’

One of Al Pacino‘s classics, a film that is intense and indeed makes you doubt the true meaning of justice.

A lawyer is forced to defend a judge who seems to be guilty.

Directed by Norman Jewison, one of the best court drama ever made. 

2. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFwE3UgCMIk

Lincoln-Lawyer-posterA wealthy client, a talented defense lawyer with a conscience and then there is a full proof plan to beat the system!

Matthew McConaughey at his best as usual along with Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe.

Directed by Brad Furman this one is one of the best court dramas of recent times.

  1. A Few Good Men (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePo91pMcu94

few-good-men-posterDirected by master director Rob Reiner, this film has one thrilling court drama.

A Navy lawyer determined to defend two Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. But things doesn’t look as simple as they are.

Great performances by Tom CruiseJack NicholsonDemi MooreKevin Bacon – you can’t miss this one.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. OMG: Oh My God! (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nUwpoTrWFk

OMG-Oh-My-God-PosterAn earthquake destroys an atheist shopkeeper’s shop and so he takes God to the courtroom.

Directed by Umesh Shukla, a film that is so innovative and probably the only film that so aptly deals with commercialization of religion in our current social scenario.

Akshay KumarParesh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborty – couldn’t have been better on the performance basis. 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comhttp://www.koimoi.com and www.bollywoodmdb.com.