Disappointing, Debauched, Manipulative, Subtly by crafty persuading audiences…
I wasn’t in India during the famous trigger-happy media frenzy sensationalized Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj 2008 double murder case of Noida India, thus watching Talvar movie was a first time exposure on what actually could have happened. On the promotional campaign the Director Meghna Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj reiterated in every channel interview that they have presented the facts as it is – without taking sides and leaving in the end for audience to decide. Such claims added immense credibility and interest for me to see the movie.
But I was thoroughly disappointed.
Obviously, by the wrong claims made in promotion by them (they should not lie and fool the people) – because assuming they showed just actual facts (as them claim) the main purpose of the movie was clearly to show the parents were innocent due to blotched up police investigation (the movie shows that very effectively). The script, screenplay, writing, dialogues, casting, background score, using one-liners effectively (always in favor of Talwars), slight tinkering of events (that no one knows what happened – except what they show on screen) here and there, (to favor the Talwars). The movie was not only manipulative but intrusively playing on the psychology of audiences by misusing the power of cinematic medium. I found the movie serving the same purpose as the frenzied media – the difference was timing and intent. Clearly the purpose of the movie was questionable.
It was well documented and no one can deny the way police messed up the crime scene and investigation and thus CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) was brought into the case.
But just use some intelligence and say that the first CBI team led by Ashwini kumar - Irfan Khan (who is shown as a drunkard, emotionally devastated with a broken marriage and divorce, a mobile phone gamester with short-broken attention spans, a violent investigator using beatings and torture, whimsical to the extent of beating the police officer with a stick, attacking a colleague in official premises) – how can he be believed? On one side, the police churned up the theory of claiming parents as murderers without evidence – is it not possible that after seeing the inadequate forensic and investigative report Ashwini kumar would have had presumed and decisively pursued to build evidence to prove parents were innocent and there servants were murderers? It is possible…!
Casting was very important - what impact would it made if the role of Ashwini was played by an unknown actor – and Irfan was casted as head of second CBI team. The audience perception would have had swayed to what the second team would say. Additionally in the movie Tabu was paired with Irfan to build another by-plot of hero-heroine to lend authenticity to Irfan’s character as hero. Whatever hero says must be true- is the message audience takes back home. Very manipulative.
Last 12 minutes the movie focuses two CBI teams facing and arguing each other in a room trying to convince each other about which investigation is true. This is another ploy by writer Vishal Bhardwaj to get away with the real court scene (which was fact of what actually happened in arguments) and replace it with a fictional scene and presented distorted debate – instead of real one. Obviously court would have looked into much details the arguments of both parties – the defense and prosecutors teams. Close observers of cinema tactics who are really intelligent would immediately question this – Why the Director/ Writer duo should do such a thing and get away with showing at least 5-7 minutes of court arguments that lead to parents prosecution. Very disturbing when the pseudo – intelligent critics and reviewers applaud such a crafty and bogus manipulation.
There are rumors as claimed by a Director Manish Gupta who made another fictional movie ‘Rahasya’ inspired by Aarushi murder case, that the Talwars had approached him to make a movie showing them as innocent, and when the Director didn’t agree – they wanted to ban the release of the movie.
The producers & production services is unprecedentedly (never seen ever before) using the print media of a leading national daily to promote sway the readers and audiences with two page paid news-coverage for four continuous day since release of this film. Says a lot about what is the intent to push the content of the movie. Is there anyone behind leading this?
During the whole movie I found numerous instances where I clearly saw – how the Director and writer are mis-leading the audiences – rather than giving unbiased and factual evidence. I would not go into details of each instance, but close this review by highlighting the last scene where it is shown the parents entering the jail after being found guilty by the court and the manipulative sad back-ground score playing – stating parents are innocent and this is what should linger in the minds of audiences who walk out of the theatres. Debauching!
I am skipping discussing acting, direction, cinematography etc. due to lack of space.
I am disappointed with lyricist Gulzar’s daughter and I have no doubt but to question the integrity of the duo – Director Meghna Gulzar and screenplay writer Vishal Bhardwaj. Apologies and sorry!
If I had heard in their interview saying that the movie is showing Talwar parents as innocent, I would had certainly rated this movie 6.5, but now...
Unlike my full IMDB review, I didn't put my comment on use of paid-media (electronic and print) that producers and production services are using especially of leading national daily and its state subsidiaries. I could not resist but raise my protest over here - it is 5 days and there is 12 pages of paid-news coverage in TOI on Talwars. I am appalled and disturbed by this corrupt mis-use. It strengthens my observation further on the pervert intentions of the film-makers backed by someone who wants Talwars to be proved innocent.
I understand that there might not be a compelling case against the Talwars, but who is going to fight the case for the 3 friends of Hemraj - if they are innocent?
How I wish - money and easy funding - doesn't drive police, judiciary and media. How I wish - if this film duo had taken a clear cut case of a poor victim who is wrongly prosecuted and there is no one to even hear what they have to say. Just because they are poor - they don't have voice. And there are more than 300 K under-trails in India - some dying in the jail and their cases pending since 15-20 years. Very very sad, that people are running behind Talwars to give them justice with such zeal.
Dear Meetu, I could not resist but write back again here. Ten days, 17 pages of paid-news coverage in Times of India supplements City Edition, plus on-going regular news-clips in the main paper. Yesterday, (11 Oct 10 pm) heard the paid-debate on Times Now too (Good Arnab was neutral) but unlike Meghna's earlier rant about she is neutral, she was vehemently fighting for Talwars. What a let down from the time she came to promote the movie with Vishal Bhardwaj on NDTV saying - She has just presented facts. As I had not followed the case at all, came to know that there are so many facts, the film has intentionally not presented to the audience.
Just imagine, if the film is able to free Talwars, and prosecute the poor three friends of Hemraj, (yet according to the night security - no one came or went in the society or the house that night), Will Vishal Bhardwaj and Meghna Gulzar make a movie showing that they are innocent? NO, because they are poor.
I reiterate how good it would be if they had made a real life movie on an innocent poor rural person who is wrongly prosecuted and is in jail from last 15-20 years. There are more than 10% of such cases from the total of 3 lakh under trails in Indian jail.
I am no expert, but just using my common sense in an objective way to understand the case and the movie and its motive.
I feel very very let down by Vishal Bhardwaj's script, screenplay and Meghna Gulzar.
I won't be a surprise if Meghna Gulzar runs away with all critics awards - sadly this is the society we are living in today!
Move on.... Move on...!
(Rating 4.5 out of 10)