Movie Review:A phenomenal must watch Movie, Justice driven to the Talwars.A strong belief that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar have been wronged by the Indian justice system has led Vishal Bhardwaj to write his most sharply focused and (clear-thinking/easy to understand) (words for a movie) yet. Talvar, directed by Meghna Gulzar, has only one purpose: it is a (sound and video) written request to the people in charge to reconsider the sentencing of the dentist couple serving life terms after being convicted of murdering their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic worker Hemraj in 2008.
Starting with the title, which is a play of words on the couple‘s last name, and going on to the recreation of the facts or conditions that surround the murders and the interesting (and sexually-related?) names of very important characters, the similar things between the real and the reel are so brightly/extremely obvious that Talvar sometimes feels like a slickly produced, tightly written and beautifully performed true crime fact-filled story or film (about an event or person) rather than a work of fiction.
Bhardwaj’s (words for a movie) is not based on professional writer Avirook Sen‘s Arushi, which was published a few months ago. But the movie and Sen‘s book have the same reason (for doing something): to expose the sloppiness/poor quality that marked the (act of asking questions and trying to find the truth about something) from the word go, underline the (unfair, pre-decided bad opinions) and (state of not caring about other people’s feelings) that made the Talwars appear guilty even before the first chargesheet had been filed, and point to the possible (mistake in how laws are carried out and how guilty people are punished) that has landed the couple in prison (appearing to be) for no fault of theirs.
Multiple opinions/points of view
Gulzar’s movie weakly introduces elements of doubt in an otherwise heavily (loving only one political party) story by presenting different opinions/points of view of how the crimes might have been executed. This (what people commonly call a/not really a) Rashomon effect, named after the classic Akira Kurosawa movie, is used by filmmakers to suggest the (open to opinion and judging; not black-and-white) and unreliable nature of human perception. Scriptwriter Bhardwaj sends out and uses the device to buttress his belief that after all angles have been thought about/believed, there is simply no way that Ramesh and Nutan Tandon could have killed their 14-year-old daughter in her bed and beat up their manservant Khempal to death.
The police are quick to accuse (of a crime) Ramesh (Neeraj Kabi) and Nutan (Konkona Sen Sharma) on the basis of poorly gathered leads. Shruti and Khempal die over and over again after stylish investigative officer Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan) takes over. His money is on the other servants who were drinking with Khempal on the night of the murder, and he backs his explanation (of why something works or happens the way it does) with narco-analysis tests. However, a departmental (state of being in competition with each other) secures/makes sure of that Ashwin Kumar‘s explanation (of why something works or happens the way it does) is wrong/disgraced and replaced with another one: the Tandons clubbed Shruti and Khempal to death with a golf club and faked their sadness when the police arrived.
Eager/eagerly wanting something followers of the high-pitched and loud media coverage of the double murders will immediately recognise the people in a play in the case: Ashwin Kumar is modelled on Central Bureau of (act of asking questions and trying to find the truth about something) officer Arun Kumar; Paul, played by Atul Kumar, looks like fellow CBI officer AGL Kaul. Bhardwaj does a fine job of boiling down often-confusing details into a clear storyline, but maybe the clearness comes from/is caused by an unshakeable belief that the (law-related) system failed the Tandons and let the real killers go free.
This bias ignores Ashwin‘s reliance on the wrong/disgraced practice of narco-analysis to convict the possible murderers and his roughhousing of a police officer and a key witness. Ashwin declares that justice can sometimes be (accomplished or gained with effort) only by breaking the law, but his actions are presented as honorable and necessary rather than (possibly not true, good, or honest). Narco-analysis tests are not allowed in court with good reason, and Talvar is at its weakest when it hints that drug-caused confessions hold more water than solid leg work.
The movie‘s strengths and pleasures flow from its smooth and gripping 133-minute story, which is interrupted only by an unnecessary sub-plot involving Ashwin‘s relationship with his wife (who’s not part of the family anymore) (Tabu). The weird and gross material is given a cool and controlled/not showy treatment and the performance are calm and confident performances. Irrfan has the best lines in a (words for a movie) very excited with the thought of letting him have the last word. The excellent sequence in which Ashwin, with the support of his former boss Swamy (Prakash Belwadi), tears into Paul‘s overheated imagination, shows/tells about the actor at his natural best. The rest of the group (of performers or objects) cast doesn‘t lag behind. Gajraj Rao is extremely effective as the oily paan-chewing police officer who ignores very important leads, while Konkona Sen Sharma is terrific as the sadness (about death)-struck mother wrestling with terrible loss.
Talvar makes a rich and beautiful and convincing case for the Talwars, but it ignores one of the biggest factors behind their conviction. A separate, (story designed to warn people of something) can be spun on how news (reads news on TV/people who read news on TV) in hot pursuit of ratings and tabloid-influenced editors stacked the odds against the couple. Avirook Sen‘s book Aarushi provides (more than two, but not a lot of) events of how unverified claims about the private lives of the Talwars created an (unable to be attacked or doubted) image of the dentists as planning (something sneaky) and swinging monsters.
Talvar has been co-produced by Junglee Pictures, the film production arm of the Bennett and Coleman Company Limited. The company also owns the Times of India newspaper and the Times Now television channel, whose own overdone/overly excited and emotional coverage of the murders is best left for another day, and maybe another movie.