Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Movie Review: Talwar

Image Courtesy: wikimedia.org
The Story Frame:

Talwar is based on the infamous 2008 double murder mystery case of Arushi, a 14-year-old DPS girl in Noida and Hemraj, the domestic help in her house. The film revolves around three contradictory versions of the investigating teams and hovers more over the innocence of the parents allegedly involved in the murder. The story becomes a medium to revisit the most sensationalized case of the nation and also one which rocked and questioned the conscience of parents of the nation.

The film was screened in Toronto International Film Festival on 14th of September, 2015. The film is written by the versatile filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and the director of the movie is Meghna Gulzar. The film is produced by Junglee Pictures a division of The Times of India Group.

Cast: Irrfan Khan (CDI Officer Ashwin Kumar), Konkana Sen Sharma (Nutan Tandon - Mother of Shruti Tandon), Neeraj Kabi (Ramesh - father of Shruti Tandon), Sohum Shah (ACP Vedant Mishra - Second-in-command of Ashwin), Tabu (Reema - Ashwin's Wife), Gajraj Rao (Inspector Daniram), Prakash Belawadi (Swamy - Boss of Ashwin), Sumit Gulati (Kanhaiya), Atul Kumar (Paul - The new CDI Officer), Shishir Sharma (JK Dixit - The new Boss of Ashwin who replaces Swamy)

Genre: Crime Drama

Direction: Meghna Gulzar

Produced by: Vinet Jain, Vishal Bhardhwaj

Production Company: VB Pictures

Written by: Vishal Bhardhwaj

Cinematographer: Pankaj Kumar

Music: Vishal Bhardhwaj

Film Editing by: A Sreekar Prasad

Distributors : Junglee Pictures

Theatre Release: 2nd October, 2015

Language: Hindi, English (film titled as Guilty)

Duration: 132 minutes

Image Courtesy: imgix.net
Reviewer's Thumb Mark

The CID boss Mr. Swamy (Prakash Belawadi) asks his protégé  Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) the investigating officer of the Shruti Tandon murder case that have he ever observed the statue of justice? He continues saying that people often look at the blindfolded statue holding the balance scales but miss out the sword it wields. The sword depicts the role of the police force.

Well, here in the Arushi Talwar case the whole case was botched and goofed up by all the investigating team, leaving the nation to speculate and live in suspense. The 2008 double murder case rocked the whole nation and the media, as usual, lapped up the whole story adding more spices and served them to us. The voyeuristic media in the name of seeking justice made all the people directly and indirectly involved in the case go under the media trial mercilessly. To add more spice the first investigating team and the following two CBI investigating teams came up with contradictory versions and claims about the whodunit theory. Finally in 2010, after a string of investigations one after another the CBI appealed for a closure of the case due to lack of evidence against the sole suspect Rajesh Talwar identified by them. However, the court rejected the plea and initiated criminal proceedings against the Talwars and the couple were convicted based on circumstantial evidence. Both are still languishing in jail while their appeal is pending in the Allahabad High Court.

It seems that the movie's screenplay writer - Vishal Bhardwaj- intentionally directs the viewers focus on the possible innocence of the parents involved and thereby giving them a benefit of doubt. The film very craft fully depicts different versions of the investigating teams and the various suspects under the scanner. The movie ends with an emotional happy family video recording done on a camcorder of the deceased to portray that everything was well before the brutal murder. The movie leaves the viewers to decide who deserves justice.

The film is good and is a onetime watch for those who would like to see what they already know on screen. It would be a bit disappointing for those who want to know the mystery and would like to reach the core because the film fails to do so.

Neeraj Kabi and Konkana are not in their element and probably their caliber is not explored to the hilt. Tabu as Reema and her marital discord with Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan) is an unnecessary add on and definitely a distraction. What was the compulsion of the filmmakers to bring such an angle is difficult to decipher. Irrfan Khan as the hard-nosed investigating CID officer plays well in his role in every frame - be it his sharp intelligence, his dark humor, his helplessness with authority - touches the viewers.

The real show stealer is Gajraj Rao as the Paan-chewing inspector Dhaniram. He stands out as an actor by his commendable performance. His lackadaisical attitude gets on your nerves. Sumit Gulati as Kanhaiya (compounder of Dr. Tandon) also has given an impressive performance.

Songs like : Jis din aakash bedaag honga, chehera chaand ka saaf honga and Lagta hi woh zinda hi moves you.

In short Talwar, doesn't offer much and I doubt whether it has been successful in garnering support to change the public opinion about the Talwar couple. A movie from the stable of Vishal Bhardwaj could have been more intense and intriguing.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3/5