Its the same story told differently. While Avirook Sen has courageously named names in his thrilling book Aarushi, Vishal Bhardwaj and Meghna Gulzar take a different route. By claiming that their movie is only ‘inspired’ by real events, they take the creative freedom to deviate from the truth or look beyond it. So the thinly disguised names, starting with the film’s title to the C.D.I , their take on India’s premier investigative agency, all serves a purpose.
Extremely well crafted, with a documentary like feel, the film makers succeed in selling it as the truth without ever claiming to. A taut script, realistic performances by seasoned actors and thoughtfully cast ‘extras’ makes one forget that it is just a dramatic reconstruction of the supposed events. Irfan Khan manages to outshine the talented Konkona Sen and Neeraj Kabi ( of Ship of Theseus fame), but then, he is the hero of the film and gets to deliver all the best lines. To tell a tale which has been done to death and still keep the viewer hooked is no mean feat and the makers accomplish it. The pace slackens only when Tabu enters the frame……why O why has she been wasted in such a inconsequential role?
The film fails on only one account, in its bias for the Talwars. And although, in Rashomon style, it tells all three versions of the story, it makes the other two look unlikely, almost comical. The movie is more like an audiovisual petition by the Talwars, their day in court, their chance to tell the story without interruptions. But will this speed up their appeal hearing and more importantly will this film start a new trend of generating public opinion and influencing the government through celluloid?
The good thing is you don’t have to agree with the makers to enjoy their film. Watch it for its cinematic brilliance even if it is a tad inconvenient. With Akshay Kumar hogging prime time, Talvar is being shown at unearthly hours in most towns. As for me, I would have preferred to linger on in the hall a little longer after the last strains of Rekha Bhardwaj’s rendition of the haunting ‘Zinda’ died. But the ushers stood impatiently staring at me. They wanted me to leave so that they could too. Can’t blame them it was well past midnight!