Director: Meghna Gulzar
Producers: A A Films
Writer: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Neeraj Kabi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Sohum Shah
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
Genre: Crime Thriller
Release Date: October 2, 2015
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
The infamous Aarushi Talwar Murder Case is by far the most complicated one India has seen. Some botched up investigation by our authorities added to the complications. So, naturally, it requires a truly talented and skillful filmmaker to portray the case, its consequences and the various layers attached to it on screen as they happened.
Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar has, over the years, shown some glimpses of her talent. But through the movie Talvar, she has proved herself as a seriously talented filmmaker. The film has achieved a new benchmark for presenting and narrating crime thrillers in Indian Cinema.
Although Talvar is based on the murder of Aarushi Talwar, the names of the characters are changed. The story commences in 2008 in Delhi when the 14-year-old Shruti (Ayesha Praveen) is found murdered in her bedroom. Her parents (Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma) are quite sure that their servant Khempal committed the act.
But their claims fall like a pack of cards after Khempal is also found murdered on the terrace. After some poor and clumsy investigation by the police, the case is handed over to the CDI team headed by Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan). His task is cut out as three different versions of the same incident come to the forth. So, who really killed Shruti and Khempal? And why?
Having said this about the direction, such films achieve such results only if the writing rises to the occasion. As a writer, what Vishal Bhardwaj has achieved here is pure excellence! Through a gripping screenplay, which doesn’t let you look off the screen, and some deeply meaningful as well as hilarious dialogues, he has given a tutorial on how crime thrillers are written. Showcasing three different versions of the same incident so intelligently is the highlight of his work. The Dharam Prachaar Awastha scene surely deserves special mention.
But apart from keeping you glued, the film will be remembered more for raising some serious and disturbing questions. Examples – The hypocrisy of the respectable urban class. The gross apathy of police and agencies. The over-desperation of our television media.
The technicalities ably complement the subject here. The film is well captured and edited. The background score adds more intensity.
But there are some minor areas of concern. The manner in which the story culminates should have been more natural. The climax appears abrupt. There are few issues with the reaction of few characters too.
Lastly, as is the need in such films, some terrific performances raise the level. Irrfan Khan continues not to deviate from perfection. He is simply outstanding, like always. After Ship Of Theseus and Byomkesh Bakshy, Neeraj Kabi is once again outstanding. He deserves to be included in the list of the most talented artists currently. Konkana Sen Sharma also lives up to her image of a fine actor.
Sohum Shah, who was also impressive in Ship Of Theseus, is once again flawless. Gajraj Rao, Shishir Sharma, and actors playing Khempal and Kabi’s assistant deserve high praise too. Atul Kumar, well-known theatre personality, is spectacular towards the end. Tabu shines despite playing a cameo.
Overall: Talvar is one of the best crime thrillers to have come from Hindi cinema. The film is a must watch even for those who don’t prefer this genre. The positive word-of-mouth will fetch good collections for it at the box office, mostly in the urban centers.