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Ranvir Shorey and Manish Gupta on 420 IPC- Cinema express

Ranvir Shorey and Manish Gupta on 420 IPC

“The wheels of justice move rather slowly in India,” says the maker of the ZEE5 original

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Published: 23rd December 2021

Ranvir Shorey plays a Parsi public prosecutor in 420 IPC. Streaming on ZEE5, the film is about a common man, a chartered accountant played by Vinay Pathak, who is accused of a financial crime. We see a festering scandal. We sense conspiracies big and small. The film kicks off so grim that Ranvir’s arrival—over 20 minutes into the story—is a delight of sorts.

“I grew up around the Parsi community in Mumbai,” Ranvir says of slipping into his character, lawyer Savak Jamshedji. “There was a phase in my life where my girlfriend was Parsi, my best friend was Parsi, I was hanging out in Parsi colonies. I have great love and affinity for the community and I guess it shows in my performance.”

Much of the film proceeds as a battle of wits between Savak and the defense counsel. There’s a moment where his opponent asks why someone would do something so obvious and Savak responds to the effect of ‘exactly why’. It’s also fun to watch Ranvir lead a case against Vinay. The actors, in real life, are the oldest of friends.

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“We’ve done television (The Great Indian Comedy Show, Ranvir Vinay Aur Kaun?), feature films (Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bheja Fry), theatre, ad campaigns… Vinay was instrumental in me becoming an actor when I started out at Channel V.”

420 IPC has been praised for its organic-looking courtroom scenes. Both Ranvir and writer-director Manish Gupta say they didn’t want to veer into melodrama. The film’s idea, Manish adds, came to him during his research for Section 375 (2019), another legal thriller he’d written.

“During the time I came across court procedures involved in economic offenses,” Manish recalls. “I discovered that people with upper economic status and a high pedigree of intelligence and education are involved in economic crimes. Thus, the court proceedings involve more brain work.”

The film, though a brisk 98 minutes, raises a gamut of themes. Construction scams, graft, evidence forgery… all jostle for space in the multi-pronged drama. The ending, too, is less conventional (or uplifting) than many would expect.

“Sadly in India, law is often misused as a tool for harassment, extortion, vengeance and for furthering other agendas,” Manish says. “Reforms in the judicial system are taking place. But the wheels of justice move rather slowly in India.”

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