Over the past few days, I chanced to watch some of Cho’s dramas on Google Video. It doesn’t require a long time fan like me to inform you that Cho’s dramas are a tour de force. My personal favorite is Mohammad bin Tughlaq, which I have watched many times over on screen and as a stage play. However, of the ones I saw over the past week, Judgment Reserved is the one that stands out.
A leading lawyer decides to appear for the perpetrator of a rape. Despite a mountain of evidence, the lawyer is sure that the accused cannot be guilty, as he had saved his daughter a few years ago when her honor was on the line. Meanwhile, the witnesses – a movie director, a social worker, a magazine editor, and a college professor – in the case seek to gain from the publicity that the case has generated. At this point, the accused informs the lawyer that he is indeed guilty of the crime.
With a view to expose the fickle-mindedness of the witnesses – a symbolism for the society in general – the lawyer decides that he will still plead that his client is not guilty, and even if so, that society is responsible for corrupting the minds of today’s youth. But as his train of thoughts move forward, he realizes that he would be committing a grave mistake if he were to argue that a crime was not so criminal, and that winning an acquittal for his client would only serve to worsen societal malaise.
The latter part of this drama, especially the segment where the lawyer and his assistant (played by Cho) prepare for the case, is a brilliant argument for social conservatism. At one point, Cho says:
“தப்பை தப்புனு சொல்வதற்கு பதிலா, அதுக்கு அழகழகா காரணம் கண்டுபிடிக்கறோம்; பேரெல்லாம் வெக்கறோம்…” (Instead of pointing out a mistake as one, we – the society – try to find reasons behind the same; we seek to give names to our mistakes, all with a view to legitimize our mistakes)
As someone who has always looked at Cho as just a political commentator and satirist, I found this argument of his appealing.
Whereas change is inevitable, change forced upon society through the hammer of legitimization of criminal activities has done more harm than good. Here is a quote that I have made up myself.
“ஆபத்திற்கு பாவமில்லை” என்று எண்ணினான் அன்றைய மனிதன்.
“பாவம் செய்தாலும் ஆபத்தில்லை” என்கிறான் இன்றைய மனிதன்.
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