Talvar Movie Review: Meghna Hits The Nail, Irrfan Shows His Brilliance Again
Two separate lines of investigation, both altogether contrary to each other, a case hinging upon circumstantial evidence, a theory that even CBI admitted was not quite conclusive and a judgment that led to an all around debate due to its rather ad-hoc and abstract nature - That's Talvar for you! A film, which picks up the real life murder case of a teenage girl that has continued to make headlines, and brings to fore a story that is not yet forgotten, and rest assured won't be ignored either for many more years to come.
If there was a story that was waiting for someone who could call a spade a spade, there is a glimmer of hope in sight, what with director Meghna Gulzar pressing all pedals to ensure that the world gets to see everything that went wrong right from the moment headlines screamed murder to the point where the parents were lodged into the jail.
As Meghna has pretty much admitted, everything that went into the making of Talvar is already out there in the public domain. However, the manner in which she spins it all together with her superb cast headed by Irrfan, another creative power who stood by her (Vishal Bhardwaj) and an editor (Sreekar Prasad) who most definitely knew where to press the right buttons, is what makes Talvar such a compelling piece of cinema that you can't afford to miss.
The storyline is known to one and all. A 14 year old girl gets murdered, and her parents are considered as the prime accused. A parallel murder takes place, that of their servant, and the case is classified as honor killing. While there were many who wondered if there was truth to this all, it is the entire process of investigation that is narrated so skillfully by Meghna that makes all the difference.
So right from the time a team of local cops contaminate the entire scene of crime to the manner in which the term 'characterless' is used by a senior cop to the case being transferred to the CBI (CDI, in the film's case) to the thorough investigation that is done by one of the most senior men around (Irrfan) to the change in guard that takes place to the reversal of evidences that start taking place to an altogether new theory emerging to a case being investigated by a new team - everything in the film is so gripping and absorbing that you can't just help but watch Talvar with utter disbelief.
The clues were all there, the evidence were waiting to be explored, the confessions made the motive ultra clear, the lapses in the earlier investigation were super blatant and yet, it is the parents who head for the jail. It is this bewilderment of the entire scene, stage and set-up that makes you look at the screen wide-eyed and wonder how everything just falls apart for this family.
What makes it all possible are some superb credible acts that Meghna's team of actors deliver. Irrfan shows once again how he is someone who can be a character in five minutes flat and while you marvel at his acting, you never see him repeating himself. Watch out for his earlier scenes of investigations and later towards the finale when a debate ensues between the two investigation teams. Brilliant. Same holds true for an ensemble cast that forms the investigation team, the cops, the seniors at the CDI and that man, Sohum Shah, who never fails to surprise. Baabarr, Ship of Thesues and now Talvar - he strikes again.
As parents, Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi are good, though one does feel that at some of the real crucial points, they don't quite express the kind of anguish that one would expect from such a situation. But then again as the cops argue as well - Can one truly gauge how parents would actually react in such a situation? Just for that, one could give them a benefit of doubt. Otherwise whether it is Prakash Belawadi (Madras Cafe) or Gajraj Rao (Black Friday) - everyone is simply brilliant in the film. As for Tabu, she has a miniscule part as Irrfan's wife and frankly, adds no value to the plot.
As a film though, Talvar comes across as a valuable piece of cinema and one just wishes that it would have continued for a little while before the end credits start rolling. At a crucial juncture of the film, one gets to see the montages in action and while for the super-snappy treatment this does fit in well, just in order to bring on a conclusion as a whole, the story line could well have included the scenes at the court that would have led to the eventual verdict.
That said, just due to the fact that an Indian film has actually picked up an ongoing case and taken a stand which (apparently) challenges the verdict that has been passed by the Court, Talvar needs to be lauded for its bravery. One now waits to see if this eventually makes a difference to the eventual state of the case. However as a piece of filmmaking which raises a lot of questions while also entertaining, Talvar is definetly a must watch.