Sunday, 4 October 2015

Talvar "Of Truth, Lies and Red Tape" My Review

Director : Meghna Gulzar
Starring : Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen, Neeraj Kabi, Soham Shah, Tabu, Atul Kumar, Gajraj Rao 

The Aarushi- Hemraj case, splashed across the media, being fed a pack of lies by the police, then investigating the case, and later the CBI coming in and revealing the criminal botch up that was done by the UP police handling the twin murder of Aarushi and Hemraj. We have all cracked our heads and gone through various emotions as rumors peddled as facts were served to us. Justice has been denied if an innocent has been punished, Justice is also not served when the guilty are let out scot free.

Whatever may be the truth, we would never know, as there is no clear evidence of what really happened on that horrific night in the house of Talwars, known doctors in Noida, rich and respected. Their 14 year old daughter found brutally murdered in her room, and later the prime suspect as per the police, their servant Hemaraj, his body was also discovered, murdered in an identical manner. A mystery that could have been solved if the Police had done due diligence, instead of the mockery they made out of it. Even the CBI could not do much apart from submit a report that they don’t have enough evidence to prove the Talwars guilty. But the special CBI court has sentenced them to life imprisonment and currently they have appealed in the Allahabad high court.
Coming to the film, Talvar just about veils the fact that it is the same case, by changing character names, and organisation names, CBI is CDI in the film. The title itself is similar phonetically to Talwar.

It is not an easy film to watch, as you cannot watch it like just another thriller, whodunit. Everyone who knows about the brutal killings, which is pretty much “everyone”, cannot watch it dispassionately. 

The first 30 minutes of the film are a bit tedious, the writing unsure, but then it gains momentum and by the time you are back after interval, it is compelling, disturbing, all involving and leaves you extremely uncomfortable, questioning your own beliefs, no matter which side you have leaned all this while. The fine writing even manages to infuse humor in the going ons, specially in Gajraj Rao’s scenes,  even when one of the scenes is a bit outlandish… also the dark dark humor that unfolds in the internal CBI meetings… Bravo. The world our house help inhabits, the migrants staying in poor conditions, yet enjoying their off time drinking, watching shows in their mother tongue.. and their eyes straying to the young daughter.. and harbouring lust.. things which we normally don’t see in a film, is shown unflinchingly.. making you squirm in your seats.  The Narco test segments sent a chill down my spine. The film is raw and rough, no frills and no breathers.. and it is this assured treatment that makes it a must watch.

If “Court” had left you frustrated, this will leave you enraged, disturbed, empty and exposed. Scary how easily can the law enforcers, crime solvers, can turn a crime scene into a free for all, contaminate evidence and botch up an investigation of such a heinous crime.

The point the film makes vehemently is it is better to let 10 guilty go than to punish the innocent. Alas one would never really know. Though the film leans towards the Talwars as being innocent, it does allow the other point of view to be presented rather strongly.

A stellar cast of Irrfan, Konkona, Neeraj Kabi, Tabu, Sohum Shah, Atul kumar and Gajraj Rao infuse scary realism to the film. Irrfan as the CDI officer Ashwin Kumar delivers yet another ace performance, playing a video game as he interrogates, humming mera kuchh saaman as his trial separation starts with his wife, played by Tabu,  a small but impactful role. It is such an inspired performance by Irrfan, helped by some great dialogues, as he succeeds in making an officer investigating brutal murders a flesh and blood character, letting us in his ordinary world and ordinary live, going about their business in the most routine way. 

Neeraj and Konkona underplay and win. Full marks to Honey Trehan for picking each actor with precision, and the ensemble works superbly. I would also like to mention A. Sreekar Prasad's absolutely brilliant editing. With a film that involves so many threads and still is just above 2 hours, it is  commendable the way it has been put together. 

Meghna Gulzar finally has a good film under her belt. Some of the scenes are going to stay with me for a long time to come.

My Verdict 3/5