Guilty is desperately tacky. The fast-forward-and-watch kind of tacky. The Bengali Rhodes scholar in Guilty has ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ tattooed on her chest in such giant fonts that who knows, maybe Tagore can spot it from whichever realm he inhabits. The ‘small-town’ girl constantly keeps saying where she is from in sentences her place of birth has no relevance. “I have just come from Dhanbad and I need to wash my clothes right now,” the girl says in one scene, sitting in front of a bucket of clothes, making Dhanbad sound like some kind of a radioactive wasteland. The nerdy men are the ones who bring out morchas and secretly they are infatuated with the ‘cool’ girls who are not interested in them.
Now being a comical stereotype is hardly Bollywood’s biggest crime, right? If Guilty was about anything except consent and sexual assault, these were easy things to ignore. Since it isn’t, the caricaturish characters (worsened by superlative bad acting) make a story about assault, also, caricaturish. And that felt pretty wrong.