A polished if sometimes overly-dramatised ‘Rashomon’-style account of the infamous and haunting 2008 Noida double murder case that till today no one knows the truth to.
Dir. Meghna Gulzar
2015 | India | Crime/Drama/Mystery | 132 mins | 2.35:1 | Hindi
PG13 (passed clean) for some violence and sexual references
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi
Plot: An experienced investigator confronts several conflicting theories about the perpetrators of a violent double homicide.
Awards: Official Selection (Toronto); Won Best Adapted Screenplay & Audiography (National Film Awards)
International Sales: IM Global
Subject Matter: Moderate – Crime, Justice
Narrative Style: Complex
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
Not sure if it made the world news back in 2008, but the infamous and haunting Noida double murder case surely shocked the whole of India at that time.
Although there have been several documentaries on the subject and movies inspired by the case, Talvar remains to be one of the more widely-seen ones, no doubt with Irrfan Khan headlining the cast.
After putting off seeing this film for quite some time, Khan’s untimely death sparked me to return to it. I’m a sucker for murder mysteries and investigative procedurals, and Talvar fits both to a tee.
It is a polished film, sleek with its execution, and not-so-straightforward in its storytelling; in fact, some might draw some parallels to Rashomon (1950) in its presentation of a few re-enacted ‘possibilities’ that the dastardly crime might have played out.
Similar to Kurosawa’s landmark work, truth is elusive, and till today no one knows who the murderer is, even if a number of (still problematic) theories point to the parents of their slain daughter and house servant.
Directed by Meghna Gulzar, Talvar may sometimes feel overly-dramatised, and its subplot involving Khan’s character’s divorce superfluous. In the quest for truth and public justice, Talvar also reveals what people with authority might do, however unethically, to be accountable.
It also shows us how solving a murder mystery can be an impossible task, especially when the incompetent police bungle up the crime scene or the media sensationally accords guilt before guilt is even established.
One might say, well, only in India will this happen, but truth be told, it is not the only democratic country that has readily—and perversely—kicked itself in the foot.