Gautham Ramachandran might have pulled off one of the best pieces that put a statement against the preconceived notions in his latest release, “Gargi.” It is a story of a daughter, once molested in her childhood, who is trying to save her father from all the acquisitions of him being a rapist. Being a family of the accused is never easy in times like this. Gargi had to protect her family, prove her father’s innocence, and live a respectful life in the neighborhood afterward. Some might say that stories like this were done earlier, right after the increasing number of stories started to originate around #Metoo. But here, the makers went even further and justified Gargi’s childhood trauma. This was something that gave the film even more layers.
What Happens In “Gargi”?
The film starts in a school where Gargi (Sai Pallavi) teaches. She was doing the invigilating while her fiance, Pazhani (Kalesh Ramanand), called. A news channel was showing an update about a nine-year-old girl gang rapped by four out-of-state workers about a month ago. Soon, it appeared on the news that a fifth person had been convicted of the same charges. The identity of the person was not revealed. When Gargi returned home, she was trying to find her younger sister, Aksarah (Prajuna Sarah), as she had heard about the news earlier, and she was worried. Before this, we were introduced to a flashback where Gargi was abused by her teacher in childhood. Gargi herself was the victim of child molestation, so when she heard about the news of the nine-year-old girl, she feared that something might happen to her younger sister too. When Aksarah finally came home, she said she could not come home earlier due to a massive ruckus at Shanti Apartment. Gargi’s father worked as a watchman in Shanti Apartment, and she felt threatened since he was not home. When Gargi went there to see what was going on, she saw police surrounding the whole place. She was told by a lady constable that there was some inquiry, so every worker in the apartment was taken to the police station. Sandra, whose father was also a watchman in the same building, came to Gargi and said she, too, was looking for her father.
Later that night, Sandra told Gargi that she was asked to come to the police station (Pallavaram Police Station/S5 Police Station) to take her father. Gargi accompanied her, and several sequences later (in between, she met with a drug store owner from whom she bought sugar tablets for her father), she was told that her father was the fifth accused in the gang rape case. She was told to leave the town as soon as possible as if the media got to know the news, her life would be very troubling. She begged to meet with her father once, but the officers in charge, including the senior officer, told her that they did not even know where he was kept. Later, Gargi followed a constable only to find out that her father was kept in the very same police station. Gargi was distraught and called a reputed lawyer named Banuprakash (V. Jayaprakash). Banuprakash soon took care of everything, and they were ready to fight for justice. Gargi came to know that the drug store owner, Indrans (Kaali Venkat), was a lawyer too. He worked under Banuprakash. Soon, the Advocate Association sent Banuprakash a notice barring him from the case as it involved a child, and no member of the Association should defend a rapist. The situation was pretty much out of hand for Gargi; even a group of people attacked her father outside the court premises. She found no one to represent her father who would defend him.
Later, Indrans willingly took the case without charging anything. Even when Banuprakash told him he could lose everything, he carried on. After that, the investigating officer, Bennix Jayaraj (Prathap), described everything from the night of the incident and how the four accused raped the nine-year-old girl. He said that Bramhanandam (R.S. Shivaji), Gargi’s father, did not have a justifiable alibi to explain what he was doing from 6:00 pm (when the four accused ran away from the spot) to 6:30 pm (when Bramhanandam brought the victim to her home). Due to that suspicion, the police asked the victim to identify whether he, too, was involved or not. She pointed her finger at him, agreeing to that. However, she blanked out before pointing her finger, so the police gave her some medicine, confirming with her father. But, Indran asked the officer whether they had checked the dosage before giving it to her. When the police officer said no to that, a doctor verified that if they had used a high dosage, it might have affected the child’s judgment. Based on this ground, Indran managed to delay the judgment by a week. Several sequences later, Indran shot a video of the victim’s father saying he would help his daughter identify Gargi’s father as one of the rapists. The judge understood that the child’s judgment was manipulated by her father. Hence, she allowed Bramhanandam to have his bail, but he must come to sign at the police station until further investigation. In the end, Gargi learned about her father’s whereabouts that day, and she went to the victim. She knew that her father had raped the child, and he was indeed the fifth accused. Gargi brought her father to the police station, and there the victim identified Bramhanandam as the fifth person who raped her. The judge ordered the police to get him into custody, and in the end, we saw a friendly relationship between Gargi and the victim’s family. Even society praised what Gargi did. She lived respectfully thereafter.
‘Gargi’ Ending Explained: Why Did Gargi Put Her Father Into Custody?
Saravanan was a contractor, and his line of work suggested that he was not the kind of person anyone would want to mess with. He even once told the investigating officer, Bennix Jayaraj, that if it weren’t for the law, he would have killed everyone responsible for his child’s situation. So, after the judge allowed Bramhanandam his bail, Saravanan was furious. Gargi took her father back home, and after a while, she found Sarvanan sitting at the entrance of their house. He even brought a knife, and his rage suggested that he was there to kill Bramhanandam. As they stood still, Gargi and Indran did not know what to do; on the other hand, Saravanan approached them with the knife. Moments later, Aksarah came through the entrance and was shocked to see what was going on. Saravanan stopped her from reaching near Gargi, and at the peak of the tension, he suddenly started crying vigorously, embracing Aksarah. Soon, he left the house, accompanied by one of his workers (or relatives), dropping the knife. Saravanan might have had a rough temper; he might even not be a good person, but since his wife’s death, he had taken care of his daughter very much. He was a loving father at home and a vengeful man outside. When he knew that something terrible had happened to his most loved person, he sought revenge. When Bramhanandam was allowed his bail, Saravanan’s vengeful character became prominent, and he set out to kill him no matter what. But, when he saw Aksarah, the loving father residing in him took control of his rage, and he was emotionally overwhelmed. He understood what would happen if he killed a father in front of his daughter. He knew the pain his daughter had gone through by having no mother. Saravanan saw her daughter in Aksarah as they were almost the same age. He could not do anything wrong in front of someone that reminded him of his daughter. This was the reason why he did not harm Bramhanandam.
Gargi had been a victim of child abuse since the early days of her schooling. She was abused repeatedly by her teacher in school, in tuition, and even at home. One day, her father came and saved her from him. Her fear of the color yellow, too, was described pretty well through this sequence. There was a scene when Gargi was telling her sister Aksarah not to wear yellow-colored dresses. When Gargi was a child, the teacher who abused her once said to her that she looked beautiful in the yellow dress. You will get the vibe of “Schindler’s List” when Gargi’s dress’s yellow becomes vibrant in the black and white tone. Since she was the victim, she could never stand against the justice a victim of such a crime deserves.
Sandra’s father told her and Indran earlier that he was in the house for the whole day as the groom had come with his family to meet his daughter. But, after Bramhanandam’s release, Sandra’s father accidentally told her the truth when he came to visit him. He said to her that he was not at home but at Shanti Apartment, devastated by the fact that his daughter wouldn’t marry per his choice. So, he was drunk that day and went to meet Bramhanandam. He saw the nine-year-old girl lying in the stairways and hastily went to Bramhanandam and told him about it. Then, it was Bramhanandam who said to him that, as he was drunk, someone might suspect him, so he must wait in his room. They narrated their version of the groom’s story, and they both told Indran and Gargi. Earlier, Bramhanandam said he stayed late at work because he had to continue the night shift as Sandra’s father would not come due to the groom’s things at his house. So, he went to take some sips of whiskey at the time mentioned by the police (6:00 pm to 6:30 pm). He did not tell the police about this as he thought, knowing he was drunk at that time, he might get into trouble.
When Gargi learned the truth, she understood that Bramhanandam had been with the victim alone for almost half an hour. The four rapists left the place around 6:00 pm, as per police investigation, and the victim was brought to her house at 6:30 pm, according to the victim’s grandmother. There was no clue what happened in those 30 minutes. But, Gargi knew that Bramhanandam was with the victim during that period, as Sandra’s father had already told her that it was Bramhanandam who went to take care of the girl. But, Gargi still went to the victim the following day to confirm whether the fifth man to rape the girl was her father or not. She got the confirmation, and then she got her father arrested. She could never have imagined the person who once saved her from being abused could rape a nine-year-old girl. By the look of it, when Gargi was saved by his father, she was almost the same age as the victim. Her father once told her never to fear someone in situations like this and always to fight back. She understood that if she kept quiet, the girl would be denied the justice she deserved. Being a victim herself, she could never do that to another victim. This was the reason why she put her father into custody.
“Gargi” has so many aspects to talk about, as the film deals with multiple layers of multiple characters. Why did Bramhanandam rape a nine-year-old girl even though he had two daughters himself? He was under a lot of pressure with Gargi’s marriage; he was drunk, and tired of his workload, and all of this together blurred his decision-making. Even these were missed by the makers. Both Lawyer Indran and Inspector Bennix had their own purposes. Some helped Gargi, and some wanted to put a rapist behind the bar no matter what. They all wanted justice to be served as per their own terms. Even how the media creates a ruckus in situations like these was vibrantly portrayed by the character named Ahalya (Aishwarya Lekshmi). Nothing seems forced in this film. The writing was too sublime to trigger any doubt, and the cinematography was pure bliss at times. The time when Gargi was abused at home was shown in a wide frame with two pillars, and she was molested between those pillars. It demonstrated that her world started to squeeze at that very moment. Years later, when she came to know that her father had been arrested, there were some frames where she was put in the middle, and the sides of the frames contained only darkness. She was losing everything, yet there was a hope to push the squeezing walls and even break them. Masterful, indeed. The music vibrantly established the significance of the scenes. A bagpipe (probably) was used when Gargi was ready to fight against the world to prove that her father was not guilty. It felt like triumph awaited her. The flashbacks could have been established more subtly, but they were there for a little while, so it did not bother much. Overall, “Gargi” is undoubtedly one of the finest works of recent times. From Sai Pallavi to Kaali Venkat, everyone, including Saravanan, has put together an acting masterclass here in this film. You won’t have much to complain about this film, period.
“Gargi” is a thriller drama streaming on Sony LIV in many languages, including Hindi.