Irrfan Khan’s performance, Meghna Gulzar’s direction and above all, its story and crisp screenplay by Vishal Bharadwaj makes Talvar a must watch film.
Talvar explores the socio-economic divides in urban India: the affluent doctor-couple, the Uttar Pradesh policemen with their regressive mindsets and rough methods of investigation, and the migrants engaged in lowly jobs. And the procedural protocol that exists in the Police System.
A high profile double murder case in 2008 in Noida, India where a 14-year old Aarushi Talwar was found murdered at her home. The suspicion pointed out to the 45 year old servant who was missing from the house. The next day his dead body was discovered in another part of the building.
Now the police suspected that teenage girl’s parents had murdered her with the theory that the father must have murdered the two after finding them in an ‘objectionable’ position. Other theories too floated around. Then the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who over the time came up with different theories, but each of them had insufficient evidence to back them. Finally the Court convicted the girl’s parents based on circumstantial evidence.
Talvar, the film is based on this murder case and its pattern of investigations by the Police and then the CBI. The film has gone one step further by depicting contradictory accounts of the case that seperately depict the victim’s parents as innocent or guilty.
It begins with introduction of Inspector Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) at an officers’ get-together of the country’s elite investigating agency, the Central Department of Investigation (CDI). Ashwin Kumar’s senior officers hand him the investigation of the case of murder of a 14 year old girl, Shruti Tandon (Ayesha Parveen) found dead at her home in Sameer Vihar of Noida. The incident is reported to the police by her parents Ramesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi) and Nutan (Konkona Sen Sharma).
Talvar’s story-telling is unique as it gives two verions of what could have transpired on that fateful night. The first version depicts as the parents guilty, while the other version investigated and constructed with its compilation of pieces together, different facets of the mystery, spearheaded by Ashwin Kumar shows the parents not guilty of the murder.
It is pathetic how office politics, professional rivalries and media coverage can influence the course of justice. Credit to the story, screenplay writer who goes in details to highlight the flaws in India’s criminal justice system, and the prejudices and limitations of the people running it.
It is after a long while that a Bollywood film actually shows the protocol, functioning and process followed by the Police at the grassroot level, then that of a Senior level and finally of the National Investigation authorities (which is the CBI in India).
Even the Senior officers at CDI have pressures, to undergo frustration and peer one-upmanship. Interference by the beauracracy, and then hustling up the case as the media pressure builds up on the authorities.
Or is the incompetence of the elitest investigation agency in our country?
There is uncanny similarity to the Sunanda Pushkar murder mystery and now even the Sheena Borah murder case. It would be interesting if Meghna-Vishal team could take up these controversial and unsolved cases in subsequent films. Maybe they could even be in the story-board stage by now.
Irrfan Khan is brilliant – subtle and underplaying his character when needed. Konkona Sen Sharma is the usual above the average. Neeraj Kabi who plays the girl’s father is a new find in Bollywood now. He has a great future. Tabu has an insignificant presence in this fast paced thriller.
Talvar is a riveting crime-drama.
Click on the Thumbnails for ENLARGED PICS:
Irrfan Khan as Ashwin Kumar, Central Department of Investigation (CDI) Officer
Tabu as Reema Kumar, Ashwin Kumar’s wife
Ayesha Parveen as Shruti Tandon
Neeraj Kabi as Shruti’s father Ramesh Tandon
Konkona Sen Sharma as Nutan Tandon
Sohum Shah as ACP Vedant Mishra- Ashwin Kumar’s assistant
Gajraj Rao as Inspector Dhaniram
Atul Kumar as Paul the CDI officer replacing Ashwin Kumar
Sumit Gulati as Kanhaiya, Ramesh Tandons’ assistant
Prakash Belwadi as Swamy, Ashwin Kumar’s former boss
Credits & Crew:
Production companies – Junglee Pictures/ VB Pictures
Produced by Vineet Jain, Vishal Bhardwaj
Directed by Meghna Gulzar
Written by Vishal Bhardwaj (Based on Noida double murder case)
Screenplay by Vishal Bhardwaj
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj
Cinematography by Pankaj Kumar
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Talvar, hindi movie review