Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 2nd October, 2015
Time : 132 minutes
Director : Meghna Gulzar; Writer, Music (& Producer) : Vishal Bhardwaj;
Starring : Irrfan Khan, Neeraj Kabi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Sohum Shah, Gajraj Rao, Sumit Gulati, Prakash Belwadi, Atul Kumar, Ayesha Parveen, Divya Bhatia, Shishir Sharma
As you watch this gripping, tense film you’re either thinking ‘this could happen to you’ or ‘is this what really happened’ ? What else do you say when you have cops as incompetent as ours, news media whipping up a bloodthirsty frenzy, an insatiable public only too ready with moral, hypocritical judgements, bureaucrats trying to save their own skin and that of their friends, back-stabbing for a promotion and finally, a judiciary that possibly (probably) over-steps it’s bounds.
This is a film about the infamous Arushi Talwar killing - the double murder of a fourteen year old girl and the manservant of a household in Noida (UP), where the parents of the unfortunate girl are currently languishing in jail. Make no mistake, the film-makers do take sides here – they are not just trying to bring you the facts (didn’t really follow the case so cannot vouch for their veracity) but also to give you their perspective, and also entertain you… Through clever casting and a crisp screenplay, the film does manage to cast more than a doubt on what has transpired in this shocking case.
The acting is excellent – whether it’s the paan-chewing Gajraj Rao as the investigating inspector, or Sumit Gulati as the overly helpful compounder, Sohum Shah as a diligent CDI (CBI equivalent) officer and Prakash Belwadi and Shishir Sharma as the outgoing and incoming heads of the CDI. The main leads excel too, as expected, with Neeraj and Konkona as the anguished, uncommunicative parents and Irrfan as the main investigating officer of the CDI, in the centre of this storm. And in all of this, Tabu, in a guest appearance, still manages to make an impact.
The film is handled extremely well. Meghna, in her second film, shows a deft touch, getting great performances from her cast (she succeeds particularly with the parents) and also, thanks to the story by her mentor, Vishal Bhardwaj, the titillation and the more sleazy aspects of the case are minimized, with the human aspects played out skillfully. This film isn’t an easy watch, especially if you’re parents and even more so if you have a young daughter, but it does make an impact – a very strong one at that.