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Mumbai India
Talvar: The Sword of Crime Perspectives
Oct 06, 2015 02:22 PM 3915 Views

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Mark Twain is once known to have quoted “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”  Over the years, this has actually proven to be practically correct.It is often said that that crime & criminals draw parallels with, or get heavily inspired by the film world. However, at certain rare instances, complicated real life incidents, tend to bring in a role reversal.


The Noida double murder case(Aarushi Talwar & servant Hemraj) in 2008, was one such incident which the shook the entire nation. Talvar(2015) is a bold attempt to recreate the entire episode(with character names changed) in about 2-1/2 hours.


The movie begins with a 14 year old Shruti Tandon(Ayesha Parveen) found murdered in her flat, at Sameer Vihar, Noida while her parents Ramesh(Neeraj Kabi) and Nutan(Konkona Sen Sharma), were asleep. The Delhi Police led by Inspector Dhaniram(Gajraj Rao) begin their investigations with minimal interest in the proceedings. There are tight timelines & immense pressure coming in from higher authorities, to wrap up the case as soon as possible, which makes the situation even worse.


Subsequently, the Central Department of Investigation(CDI) is asked to intervene since the overall approach by the police department is shown to have been weak & haphazard. CDI chief Swamy(Prakash Belwadi) deputes one of his best officers viz. Ashwin Kumar(played by Irrfan Khan), supported by Vedant(Soham Shah) to crack the case. Whether their findings are similar or is there an underlying alternate story behind it, requires one to watch the film.


The screenplay, true to its theme, follows 90% of the factual series of events(based on case details available in public domain), minimum cinematic liberty and a fast paced narration.The core intent of the film is to highlight different perspectives of crime investigations, and also how typical human psyche plays an important role in influencing judgement.


Films from the past, that have dealt with this aspect in similar fashion include 12 Angry Men & its Indian counter-part Ek Ruka Hua Faisla!


The ‘backbone’ scenes of the film which include – the investigations by different teams, interrogations of the accused, emotional outbursts, action sequences have been very smartly and maturely handled. Most of them succeed in making an impact, without being clichéd, forced, or over the top.


Full credit goes to director Meghna Gulzar & writer Vishal Bharadwaj for the maintaining the essence, throughout the film.


The narrative does not beat around the bush, or get into too many explanations, thanks to a razor sharp editing by  A. Sreekar Prasad. The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is quite realistic, and gives a feel as if things are happening around you and not on screen!


Dialogues, barring few witty one-liners, are just like real time conversations, setting the tone of the film. Meghna Gulzar’s prolific writing skills come out well through them.


Background Score(Vishal Bhardwaj) is apt, and fortunately does not come in as an impediment during crucial scenes unlike typical Bollywood thrillers


Performance wise, it’s Irrfan Khan who once again showcases his acting prowess, walking, talking & breathing life into his character. Gajraj Rao excels in the role of a typical Delhi cop. His body language, laid back attitude, appearance are pretty much in sync. Prakash Belwadi is just outstanding. He provides the much needed ‘satirical’ comic relief, with a South Indian accent!  It is indeed a pleasant surprise to see him in such a different role, after Madras Cafe


Neeraj Kabi & Konkana Sen Sharma as Shruti’s parents, provide adequate support, emote well, but fall short of screen presence.  Ayesha Parveen as Shruti does well in a brief cameo. Atul Kumar makes his presence felt. Shishir Sharma is perfect. Soham Shah is strictly okay. Sumit Gulati shows conviction.Tabu’s role though insignificant to the principle theme, does manage to touch upon certain important aspects of investigators’ personal lives.


To summarize, Talvar is nothing but a mirror image of the current state of affairs in India. It throws open a mixed bag of challenging questions viz. Is seeing really believing?  Can reasoning power also be blind flooded by herd mentality or clichéd thought processes?  Can gut feeling be influenced by external factors as well? Are conclusions really derived from investigations or is it the other way round!


It is a perfect example of coming-of-age mainstream hindi cinema, worth a watch at least for introspection.


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