Tanu, an important female character in “Guilty” is portrayed to be a loud woman who wears revealing clothes, a starter pack for a woman who wouldn’t be accepted in Indian society easily. She blames the male lead, VJ for raping her. However, because of her personality, she is blamed for creating a false accusation. By revealing the truth at the end, VJ did rape her, the movie depicts that a woman cannot be judged on the basis of her clothing or bold personality. “Guilty” makes a bold statement about women who are not taken seriously because of their dressing sense.
Kiara Advani – Nanki is the lead female protagonist. She has purple and white-colored hair, just like other feminist women who take the leap to do what they want without giving much thought to what society thinks about them. In the beginning, she is portrayed as a woman who does not care about the truth of what her boyfriend did, with regards to the rape, she defends him and slut shames Tanu. This behaviour is similar to other women in society who defend the man despite accusations of rape. VJ’s mother is aware that his son had raped a girl, but instead of fighting for the victim’s justice, she treats her son like a man child, bribes to silence the victim, and increases the injustice in society.
It is interesting to see Nanki’s transformation in the movie as a strong woman who ultimately reveals the truth about her boyfriend and brings rape to light. At first, she reflects society itself which does not take Tanu’s rape seriously and has a dismissive attitude, however, she then turns to play the role of law itself, as she investigates and brings her boyfriend’s crime to life. Her transformation from portraying society to reflecting and reinforcing law by going against her society reaches out to the heart of the viewers and makes a strong statement.
VJ’s lawyer resigns from his job after he realizes that he had supported the criminal. He takes up the job of supporting Tanu himself and plays an important role in unfolding the hidden truth. He is an example to many lawyers in Indian society who fight for what is right despite the monetary value which fighting for the wrong side may bring them. “Guilty” serves as a plea to many lawyers to take the feminist stand and support what is right because society does not support women, and there are few lawyers who would fight for the correct thing.
In the end, there is a strong scene where Nanki herself sheds light on her own “Me Too” story. She is the character who did not give any hints about having an abuse story and her story comes as a shock to the viewers, which is why it is even more impactful. Her narrative depicts that there are multiple women in Indian society who choose to stay silent, do not bring their stories to mind and push it to the very corners of their consciousness. The ending also helps to show the importance of movements like “Me too” where women feel empowered and supported after listening to other women’s stories and are encouraged to speak up themselves and fight for justice.
In India, the “Me too” movement was restricted to the elite circles and many women still withheld their stories. However, the presence of this movie on Netflix is empowering because it reaches out to women in their homes, in their space, and makes women feel supported to tell their stories. When you watch a movie in the theatre, it impacts you differently because you have a quick change of space as you leave the theatre. However, the impact of watching a movie at home, lingers longer, because the movie has broken the barrier of personal space, thoughts, and conduct and reached out to you in your space.
Ultimately, there is Tanu’s family, which represses their own daughter’s story and encourages her to take the bribe from the culprit’s lawyers. Her family to is shown unwilling to fight for justice. By highlighting this story, “Guilty” remarks that in the Indian society, women who are victims, face pressure from their own families to remain silent. Your closest people, who are supposed to support you and fight for you, take away your right to justice and silence you. The movie attempts to offer strong learning to families and urges them to stand up for their daughters by reflecting the consequences of inaction.
“It is not women who need to change, it is the society”, is one of the strongest teachings of the movie. Tanu, is herself, in her revealing clothes and bold personality till the end. She chooses not to change, but people who realize that she is the victim and not a liar, face a change in their mentality.
The movie “Guilty” ends with people hearing “Me too” stories which they first dismissed. The scene in many ways shows the platform which women were given, with their voices heard by the “Me too” movement. It also shows the power of women in today’s times, where many people, at least the youth in metropolitan cities, is willing to hear the stories of silenced women.