‘A Holy Conspiracy’ movie review: Making a case for evolution 

This legal drama starring Naseeruddin Shah and Soumitra Chatterjee is raw at the edges, but honestly probes the disturbing truth and asks where we are headed as a nation.

This legal drama starring Naseeruddin Shah and Soumitra Chatterjee is raw at the edges, but honestly probes the disturbing truth and asks where we are headed as a nation.

Inspired by the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, A sacred conspiracy An immersive courtroom battle between science and religion. With science being represented by Naseeruddin Shah and religion by Soumitra Chatterjee, it makes for a riveting watch. Writer-director Saibal Mitra mounts the case well, but the execution demands a little more polish and craft.

In today’s India, where religious polarization is a reality, the film engages in a timely and meaningful debate between fanaticism and protectionism, between modern education and pseudoscience, and exposes how politicians exploit the faith of the common man for their vested interests. .

Coming at a time when Santal is making news, the film is about the conversion of tribal science teacher Kunal Joseph Baske’s (Shraman Chattopadhyay) father to Christianity.

Somewhere in the fictional town of Hillolpur on the border of Bengal and Jharkhand, all hell breaks loose when Kunal refuses to teach the Bible’s Genesis chapter and a book on Vedic science in ancient India before Darwin’s theory of evolution. He thought that the Bible should be taught at home and in the church, and equipped himself to teach Vedic science. However, the Christian school expels him for defiling the faith and labels him a Maoist; He was arrested for inciting people and assaulting the principal.

The case gains national prominence when a zealous journalist Harnath Singha (Kaushik Sen) breaks the news. The pastor appoints Reverend Basant Kumar Chatterjee (Soumitra Chattopadhyay), an authority on both the law and the Bible, to protect the school, while Kunal is represented by human rights lawyer Anton de Souza (Naseeruddin Shah), who is some sleeper. time

The argument starts with how teaching Darwin’s principle of evolution is a desecration of faith, but as the case unfolds, we realize that Kunal is a pawn of a wanted politician. Ghar Wapsi Tribal.

Ironically, the so-called custodians of the faith that enabled Kunal to acquire a modern education have now almost abandoned him. The education that had made him understand that tribals had their own religion and script — and had given him the courage to introspect when a pastor refused to pray for an innocent child because he had not been baptized before death — was now clouded. His faculty of reason questions, so de Souza, making a case for evolution, thunders that the right to think is under investigation.

The people are like a swollen river. As De Souza, Shaw is attuned to the situation, but confident in his skill and vision. In perhaps his last performance, Chattopadhyay was almost as effortless as ever. His is a more complicated character to portray, as here is a man who chooses religion over science, but during the course of the case discovers that he is being used to further a hateful agenda. Kaushik gives good support as the cynical writer and Jagannath Guha as the judge tests his sincerity.

The writing is dramatic and the dialogues in Bangla and English (with English subtitles) often turn declamatory. Perhaps drama would have been a better medium to tell this difficult story. The supporting cast needs polishing, and the blend of inspiration from the landmark trial in the US and current conditions is seamless. Background music is more entertaining. At times, it also appears that the majoritarian angle, which forms the crux of the narrative, is diffused to protect some fragile sentiments from breaking.

But though raw at the edges, A sacred conspiracy We need to honestly investigate the disturbing truth and question where we are headed as a nation.

A holy conspiracy is currently playing in theatres

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