Dedh Minute Review: Talvar

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This week on Dedh Minute Review, film critic Aniruddha Guha reviews Meghna Gulzar's Talvar. Watch the video to find out his verdict.

Talvar is based on the infamous 2008 Noida double murder case, where 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead along with the Talwar’s domestic help, Hemraj. Aarushi becomes Shruti in the film, Hemraj is Khempal, and Aarushi’s parents convicted for the two murders, become the Tandons.

It’s a smart procedural, a genre rarely taken up by our filmmakers, and is more concerned with the investigation of the murder rather than its final outcome, which is what sets it apart.

It’s explosive material to begin with, and Vishal Bhardwaj writes an effective screenplay, largely sticking to the events as they unfolded, but inserting nuances that make the film gripping.

Director Meghna Gulzar does a fine job bringing Bhardwaj’s script alive on screen, and is helped massively by the presence of a stellar cast.

Talvar is the Avengers of Hindi film acting, with Iron Man Irrfan Khan being joined by the faultless Konkona Sen, Neeraj Kabi, Tabu, Gajraj Rao, Atul Kumar and Sohum Shah. A special mention here about Prakash Belawadi, who you may remember as Bala from Madras Café.

Irrfan is the best actor we have today, and Bhardwaj and Gulzar unashamedly use that to their advantage, propping him up as some sort of a messiah for the Tandons, and ensuring the audience roots for what Irrfan's character believes in.

That’s a filmmaker’s prerogative and completely acceptable, but I found their inability to be more scathing about the media’s role in propagating a narrative that suited the prosecution, disappointing.

Also, Talvar veers a bit towards the “filmi” in places, like a clichéd side-track about Irrfan’s failed marriage, which seems out-of-place in an otherwise taut film.

Talvar is among the most riveting films this year, and stays honest to the story it set out to tell. My rating’s a 4. This Talvar has a sharp edge.

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