ZEE5 Original Review: 377 Ab Normal skirts the court case to concentrate on the drama

20 . Mar . 2019
Reading Time: 2 minutes

ZEE5 brings 377 Ab Normal, an original web film that takes the audiences through all that went into de-criminalising homosexuality in India.

Article 377 was one of the most controversial acts in India. The act herded homosexuals with those committing bestiality. For anyone who doesn’t know the case, it’s a surprise that the act wasn’t struck down for so many years. ZEE5 comes up with an Original Film, 377 AB Normal, that tries to tell future generations what happened before the act was struck down finally. Check out the movie 377 Ab Normal online now.

377 Ab Normal tells the story of how Indians were affected by the law through the experiences of three people. One runs an NGO (Zeeshan Ayub), another is a college girl (Maanvi Gagroo) who’s looking out for herself, and another is a lovelorn college boy (Shashank Arora) who must juggle between cricket and his love life. Kumud Mishra plays the advocate who is fighting hammer and tongs against striking down the law, and it’s Mohan Kapur playing the advocate on the other side.

What’s Wow:

377 Ab Normal is a quick primer to the way and reason that India struck down the law to prove that love needs no law. It skirts quickly through the pedigree of the law. The series is anecdotal evidence of why and when the law was made, how people have suffered because of the law and the final court statement that struck down the law.

377 Ab Normal has a running time of one and a half hour which is not enough to tell the audience about the countless people who have suffered under the rule.  Director Faruk Kabir does a good job of putting the A to Z of the incidents that led to the law being struck down. Shashank Arora gives a memorable performance, and Zeeshan Ayub is in top form. Maanvi Gagroo and Tanvi Azmi’s have a limited role, but their characters remain with the audience.

The references to homosexuality in mainstream media in 377 Ab Normal are a masterstroke as well. Audiences were reintroduced to Lihaaf, a short story which was made famous in the film Dedh Ishqiya, cementing the fact that Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi played India’s first bisexual female couple. The first female homosexual couple was portrayed by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in the film Fire in the late 90s. Even today, the movie is considered as a pathbreaking film from the 90s. Lihaaf is allegedly one of the early poems depicting same gender love.  

What’s Blah:

The screenplay could have done with a few more scenes in the court. The battle for striking down Article 377 was fought both in court and outside, in the manner of public perspective. That could have added a lot of heft to the film in all.

Parting Shot: 377 Ab Normal breezes through one of the darkest periods of Indian litigation.

Cast: Tanvi Azmi, Zeeshan Ayub, Maanvi Gagroo, Kumud Mishra, Shashank Arora

Director: Faruk Kabir

Script Department: Shailesh Pratap Singh, Abhishek Raaj, Sahar Quaze, Sanket Bhatia