Section 375

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Section 375
Section 375 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAjay Bahl
Written byManish Gupta
Ajay Bahl
Produced by
  • Kumar Mangat Pathak
  • Abhishek Pathak
CinematographySudhir K. Chaudhary
Edited byPraveen Angre
Music byClinton Cerejo
Distributed by
Release date
  • 13 September 2019 (2019-09-13)
Running time
124 minutes[2]
Box officeest. 12.35 crore[3]

Section 375: Marzi Ya Zabardasti? (transl.Section 375: Will or Force?),[4][5] better known simply as Section 375, is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language legal thriller film produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak, Abhishek Pathak and SCIPL, written by Manish Gupta with Ajay Bahl and directed by Ajay Bahl.[6][7] It is based on Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code laws in India.[8][9] [10][11] The film stars Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadda, Meera Chopra and Rahul Bhat.[12] Principal photography of the film began in January 2019.[13]

The film was theatrically released in India on 13 September 2019.[14] The film opened to low numbers on opening day and was declared "average" at the box office.


Notable film director Rohan Khurana (Rahul Bhat) is arrested and convicted by a sessions court after assistant costume designer Anjali Dangle (Meera Chopra) accuses him of rape. In the High Court, senior and talented criminal barrister Tarun Saluja (Akshaye Khanna) works hard to punch holes in the accuser's claims, while Hiral Gandhi (Richa Chadda), an utopian and fervent lawyer fighting her first big case, who was once Saluja's trainee, serves as the prosecutor and defence barrister of the claimed victim. Tarun goes by his principle Law is a fact, Justice is abstract and believes that a lawyer should not get emotionally involved in a case or get into an ethical debate. At a seminar in a flashback, also attended by Hiral, he surmises how justice is left out without proper defence, noting that the pursuit of justice is nothing but a career opportunity for the defence lawyer, prosecution & the judges as well. He summaries this with his line " We're in the business of law, not of Justice". This is completely contrary to Hiral's attitude, as she gets passionately involved in her pursuit to deliver justice. For this very reason, she had to quit Tarun's law firm in the past.

Tarun in his cross-examination exposes tampering of evidence, lies and facts hidden by key witnesses. He proposes the theory that Anjali had a consensual relation with Rohan which started with the pressure of retaining her job, but with time she got emotionally involved in the relationship. Later, when she realises that Rohan is only interested in a physical relationship with her whereas she was expecting him to be her life partner, there is a big argument between the two on this issue. Rohan belittles her and tells her that without him her career is over. Later, Rohan throws her out of his second flat where they pursued their relationship. After a couple of days, Anjali apologises to Rohan & they rekindle their relationship. Later in the day, she reports this incident as rape to police.

Insisting that it is a case of an affair gone sour, Tarun points out that the law does not regard consensual physical relations as rape. Hiral argues that though a couple may have had a consensual relationship in the past, any subsequent sexual encounter without consent of the girl is rape. The case disputes the legal provisions of the penal code 375 that defines conditions under which a sexual offence can be defined as rape.

The judges are put in a tough spot because on one hand, it is clear that Anjali had filed this case to avenge her humiliation, and on the other hand, there is a strong public perception that rich and influential people are exploiting the underprivileged. The two judges deliberate on the case in their chamber. A judgement in favour of Tarun would badly reflect on their credentials, despite circumstantial evidence clearly pointing to fake rape charges. One of the judges peeks from the balcony and sees protests against the accused going out of control, and it is clear what their judgement would be.

The bench, while delivering the verdict accepts the merit of the case presented by Tarun, but public sentiment forces the bench to strictly go by the book and deliver the judgment in line with popular opinion. The judges uphold the session court judgement which states that since there is no evidence of consent or force for this particular incident, the statement of the victim is considered as paramount evidence. Rohan's wife Kainaz indicates to him that she will not aid him anymore, and leaves. Tarun promises Rohan that he will approach the High Court immediately. Rohan is taken to prison, and Anjali confesses in secret to Hiral that what Tarun had said in the court was true and she did this only to get revenge at Rohan. Hiral is shocked by this, and is later invited for dinner by Tarun's family. Tarun once again reminds her "We're in the business of law, not of Justice", a principle she has now truly understood.


Marketing and release[edit]

The first poster of the film was released by its makers on 7 August 2019. On 5 September, a dialogue promo presenting Khanna was released.[16]

The film was premiered at Singapore South Asian International Film Festival (SgSAIFF) on 7 September 2019. It was closing film of the festival and received appreciation.[17] The film was theatrically released in India on 13 September 2019.


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 64% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10.[18]

Sreeparna Sengupta of The Times of India gave the film four stars out of five, praising screenplay, dialogues and performance of Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha, Rahul Bhat and Kishor Kadam, noted that the film made for a 'gripping watch with a crisp runtime and top-notch performances'. Concluding she wrote, "Overall, Section 375 is an audacious effort. It is a relevant film that tackles a complex issue and one that will engage, inform and open up debates."[2] Trade analyst and critic Taran Adarsh gave the film four stars out of five, tagged it as "Powerful" and praised the performance of Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha, writing and direction. He opined, "A relevant film that raises pertinent points... Recommended!"[19] Udita Jhunjhunwala of Firstpost gave three and half stars out of five and opined that it was the cinematography and editing that kept the film moving at desirable pace and in mood. Praising Manish Gupta’s writing, she concluded that the film neither took a shrill, moralistic stand, nor caved to 'Bollywood-ised courtroom hysteria', rather it stuck to a highly charged narrative that deftly examined both sides of the case and deferred to the rule of law.[20]

Devesh Sharma reviewing for Filmfare rates the film with three stars out of five. He wrote that the film was a 'well-crafted', 'well-acted' film with pithy and witty dialogues. He praised performance of Khanna and Chadha, but criticising the climax, concluded, "This criminal twist at the very end undoes all the good done by the film and leaves you with a bitter taste in the mouth. The director is trying to be too clever here but this cleverness eats away into the nobility of the film."[21] Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News gave three and half stars out of five, concurring in praising lead cast she wrote, "Both Khanna and Chadha are in top form as warring legal counsels". She also praised the editing of the film and noted that film was off-beat, but concurring with Sharma she felt that the second half was made 'frustratingly convenient'. Concluding she opined, "While you may not be thrilled at where the film is headed, the right thing to do is to give the searing Section 375 a fair trial."[22] Writing for News18, Rajeev Masand termed the film as an 'unmistakably compelling courtroom drama' and rated it with three and half stars out of five. He noted that director Ajay Bahl and writer Manish Gupta have made a 'sharp, thought-provoking drama' which is topical and conscious of the situation prevailing. Concluding, he opined, "It’s a well-made film with a persuasive argument that is nevertheless disturbing."[23]

Box office[edit]

Section 375 collected 14.5 million (US$180,000) on the opening day, and 30.7 million (US$380,000) on the second day, whereas the third day collection was 35.2 million (US$440,000), taking its total opening weekend collection to 80.4 million (US$1.0 million).

As of 19 September 2019, the film has a collection of 153 million (US$1.9 million) in India.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Panorama Studios, PVR Pictures unite to distribute films". Outlook. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b Sengupta, Sreeparna (11 September 2019). "Section 375". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Section 375 Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Akshaye Khanna is brilliant but an underrated actor: Richa Chadha". India Today.
  5. ^ "Richa Chadha goes into hiding for Section 375, refrains from being seen in public!". Times of India.
  6. ^ "Sarah Paulson is Richa Chadha's inspiration for 'Section 375'". Times of India.
  7. ^ "Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha to star in film based on misuse of rape laws". Indian Express. 17 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Real-life victory for Akshaye Khanna-starrer Section 375". Mumbai Mirror.
  9. ^ "Richa Chadha says she is excited to play a lawyer for the first time in Section 375". Hindustan Times. 14 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha to feature in the film titled Section 375". India TV. 17 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha gear up for a courtroom drama titled 'Section 375'". News Nation.
  12. ^ "Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha are set to kick off Section 375". Bollywood Hungama. 14 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Section 375: Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadda start shooting for the courtroom drama". Box Office India.
  14. ^ "Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha's 'Section 375' gets postponed, will now release on THIS date". DNA. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  15. ^ Section 375 (2019) - IMDb, retrieved 13 June 2022
  16. ^ "Section 375 – Dialogue Promo". Times of India. 6 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Section 375: Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha's courtroom drama closes Singapore South Asian International Film Festival". Firstpost. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Section 375". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  19. ^ Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (12 September 2019). "#OneWordReview... #Section375: POWERFUL. Rating: 4/5 Engaging courtroom drama... Writing and direction top notch... Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha brilliant... Meera Chopra, Rahul Bhat first-rate... A relevant film that raises pertinent points... Recommended! #Section375Review" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Udita (12 September 2019). "Section 375 movie review: Richa Chadha, Akshaye Khanna play off each other well in this nuanced film". Firstpost. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  21. ^ Sharma, Devesh (12 September 2019). "Movie Review: Section 375". Filmfare. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  22. ^ Radhakrishnan, Manjusha (12 September 2019). "Section 375' review: Richa Chaddha legal drama deserves a fair trial". Gulf News. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  23. ^ Rajeev, Rajeev (14 September 2019). "Section 375 Movie Review: Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha's Performances Make for Compelling Courtroom Drama". News18. Retrieved 14 September 2019.

External links[edit]