Article 15 is essentially a police procedural to track down the murderer of 2 girls and find the other missing one. Taking up his first posting in the hinterland of Laalgaon, IPS officer Ayan Ranjan, played by Ayushman Khurana, has his task cut out. On the face of it, he is made to believe it is a case of honor killing. However, stung by the bee of conscience, he digs deeper into the case only to discover the dirty political nexus involving disturbing casteism at play which is so rampant in northern India. Sinha and co-writer Gaurav Solanki create characters that feel one hundred percent authentic and they all seamlessly fit in this dark world colluding to maintain the balance of the system.
Barring a few inconsistencies involving Ayushman's constant texting with his girlfriend or the involvement of CBI towards the latter half of the film, the filmmaking on display is pretty solid. The background score underscores an atmosphere of impending doom which ensures film even works as a tense thriller and not merely a preachy commentary on the social fabric of the country.
Expectedly, Sinha has the backing of a terrific cast. Ayushman Khurana is at the top of his game. Even with a limited stock of expressions, he manages to essay every role very convincingly. Given the film choices he makes, there's no taking away from the fact that Ayushman is a remarkably instinctive actor. The rest of the cast as well, including the gifted Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Zeeshan Ayub (who deserves a spin off film of own) and others, put their best foot forward and deliver memorable performances.
I'm going with 4/5 for Article 15. In the end, the film doesn't offer easy answers except for the fact that after 17 years of churning crappy films, Anubhav Sinha has finally recognized his true filmmaking prowess. Better late than never!