– A teenage girl is found dead in her bed ,slain and bloodied. The cops arrive ,agree that the sevant has done it , and declare it an open-and-shut case. Next day , servant’s dead body is discovered in another part of the building. The film is based on a 2008 murder case in noida , in which 14 year old aarushi talwar was murdered in her home. In the film , Aarushi is Shruti ,Hemraj is Khempal , the Talwars are the Tandons , and the CBI is the CDI. The film begins with Nutan Tandon (Konkona) opening the door for the maid in morning and a while later discovering her daughter’s dead body and shrieking for her husband.
Details are key in a film of this nature, and Bhardwaj’s script is the real hero here , based on great research. Soon after the murder , the local cops of Noida, led by the stereotypical pan chewing , insensitive Dhairam (Gajraj Rao) start investigating and surely enough ,they go crushing over crucial evidences with their haphazard handling of the situation and also the hurry to come to a conclusion , because of the growing media attention. Ashwin Kumar ( played by Irrfan Khan channeling CBi officer Arun kUmar ) , who takes the case reluctantly , but methodically sets out searching for evidence and other possible culprits.
The film presents us with different versions of how the Tandon’s daughter’s murder took place. In one , the parents are the culprits. In another ,the servants are the culprits. In third version , a critical detail is added and this proves to be a big twist in the tale. The film clearly takes a side and one of the major criticisms this film will face that it is biased towards parents. However that shouldn’t be the criteria to judge the quality of the film. The crime is told entirely from the point of view of the investigators and we never get a sense of what Nutan and Ramesh are feeling or going through. Talvar mainly deals with the flaws in India’s criminal justice system and how it is often controlled by the prejudices and limitations of the people running it.
As for the performances , Konkona and Neeraj are as detached as their characters demand. Sohum Shah’s Vedant and Gajraj Rao’s inspector Dhaniram deserve a special mention , as does Prakash Belawadi. Irfaan khan is an actor whome i don’t like much. He has immense calibre but what he lacks is control and perfect timing. However when he times it perfectly he is superb to watch like in Lunchbox and here in Talvar. This is surely one of his better works . However one actor who impressed me most is Atul kumar as last investigative officer. I liked the subplot involving Tabu. It doesn’t have any connection with the main plot of the film. However cinema like life doesn’t need to be meaningful always. Talvar is an extremely well-made thriller and will surely rank among one of the topmost films of Indian Cinema.