Movie Review: ‘Talvar’ Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seats

Talvar is a film which raises a lot of questions, besides being entertaining.

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Stutee Ghosh reviews <i>Talvar. </i>(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

Most of us are aware of the Aarushi Murder Case. So much has already been written and said about it. We all have very defined views about who we think is innocent and who we consider guilty. Why then should we watch Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar?

It was rather well received at the Toronto International Film Festival and that is obviously something we should be excited about. But more praiseworthy is the point that here’s a film that does not force feed its opinion on us. Instead, it lays bare all the facts, puts the various perspectives before us and allows us to make up our own mind. It tries in its own sincere way to clear the smog of confusion and suspicion that still seems to engulf this case.

In the film, while the details remain the same the names have been changed. Here the CDI is investigating the murder of 14-year-old Shruti. The needle of suspicion sometimes points to the parents and sometimes at the househelps. It’s a difficult watch no doubt especially when we encounter the insensitivity of the police officers and the callousness with which the crime scene was compromised and all forensic evidence allowed to be washed away. However, Vishal Bhardwaj’s crisp writing and Meghna Gulzar’s steadfast direction ensure that Talvar never slips in its resolve to throw new light on the case.

Poster of <i>Talvar.</i>
Poster of Talvar.

We as viewers are kept at the edge of our seats. Just when we think we have cracked the case a new angle is put forth followed by another fresh perspective. The film does not play it safe. It does seem to take a subtle stand but not before allowing us to examine all plausible situations. We are lead into the Tandon household; we share the parent’s horror at seeing their only child lie in a pool of blood. We too suspect the missing servant Khempal. We share the confusion when his body is found on the terrace. And slowly our gaze is allowed to be a little judgemental. We explore the parent’s side, question the servants and judge the police and its shoddy investigation. We remain involved in the narrative throughout.

The strongest thing about Talvar is the acting department. Irrfan Khan is his usual brilliant self. As the Chief Investigating Officer his clinical dry humour and intense gaze is exactly what the role demands. Tabu who plays his on-screen wife has a bit role but it’s always a pleasure watching her. Shruti’s parents are Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma who melt into their roles as grief stricken parents. Overall it’s the gritty storytelling and the remarkable actors who help make Talvar a mature, well-executed piece of work.

I’ll go with 4 QUINTS OUT OF 5. This makes so much more sense than those noisy television debates!

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