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Movie Review: Talvar - The sharp-edged "trial by cinema"
"Insaaf ki devi ke haath mein ek talvar bhi hoti hai… pichle 60 saaloan mein usmein zang lagg gaya hai, jisey saaf karna hoga"
After watching TALVAR many would (and should) concur on the above. However, this sharp-edged suspense-murder-drama based on the 2008's "Noida Double-Murder Case" (involving a fourteen year-old girl and a Nepalese middle-aged male-domestic-help) makes one reflect on more-than the obvious.

This film very intricately opens this highly-sensationalised case, and makes one revisit and recollect the incident with all the once possible scenarios. Through the allies of contradictory references and their comprehension (a.k.a. the translucent "Rashomon effect"), we come to understand that a lot went wrong.

The slack of police in securing the crime-scene, collecting evidence with the forensics- compromised the better part of the initial investigation.

Then came the so-called "trial by media", which not only over-speculated, but also maligned the deceased in the most character-assassinating manner while putting the parents in dubious lights, much before any sound-factual inferences were made.

Followed, the special-investigation teams that tried to pull the threads yet, fell face down around the diplomatic executive safeguarding and the 'pulp-fiction' theories around this urban-legend. A film's sequence subtly mentioned (when the two investigative committees sat down to reach a conclusion) that every investigation must go through "search, evidence and conclusion"; ironically their order was conveniently altered and thus, fabricated around consequential evidences.

Around this time, we're provoked to question our many social, judicial and legislative norms - practice of keeping domestic-helps, the freedom and mutual trust with the lower-sects of society, responsibility of government machinery to ensure justice, the modern-dynamics of parent-child relationships - a few in the endless debatable list.

Nevertheless, unarguably the legal-judgment of the trial (or "contest of lies and half-truths") was not served befittingly with the apparent convicts gone scot-free and the victims been convicted. For the miscarriage of justice, one could feel that if not the 'shame on system', it's at the least the 'shame on humanity'.

Yet again, as a heartbroken man trying to come to terms with harsh-reality in the film "Blood Diamond", said - "Sometimes I wonder... will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? Then I look around and I realize... God left this place a long time ago."

The film is so far "the best" by director - Meghna Gulzar who managed to put together a thoroughly researched production with producer-screenwriter-composer Vishal Bhardwaj; an outstanding cast - Irrfan Khan (the righteous lead investigator), Sohum Shah (the associate who 'crosses-the-floor'), Gajraj Rao (the laidback, gossip-filled policeman), Sumit Gulati (the gossip-monging compounder), the most-outstanding ones Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi (the parents) - with enviable cinematography by Pankaj Kumar ("Haider") and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad ("Dil Chahta Hai").

Most importantly the film doesn't overdramatize the fact-line while covering all aspects in an instance of "trial by cinema". The film's 'whodunit' theme, though, objective enough managed to 'exonerate the convicted' in-theory, whilst echoing – "Jis din samay ne aakhen kholi… Insaaf - insaaf  - insaaf hoga".

Rating – 8.5/10

Verdict – An achievement of good film-making. An eye-opening, matured watch!

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