Starring: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Prakash Belawade, Atul Kumar, Sohum Shah, Gajraj Rao
Directed by Meghna Gulzar
There is a scene towards the end of Talvar where two sets of CDI (a fictional CBI) officials defend their own line of investigation into the double murder case, while trashing the other’s account. It’s a long, riveting scene, sailing smoothly on some crackling writing by Vishal Bhardwaj (a smart dig at the BJP and Congress, a cheeky reference to the missionary position and merry quoting of popular Bollywood songs) and compelling performances by Irrfan Khan and Prakash Belawade on the one side and Atul Kumar and Sohum Shah on the other. It’s the solid writing, sharp dialogue and the spot-on performances which shine along, be it Neeraj Kabi and Konkona as the parents charged with the murder of their own daughter, or Gajraj Rao as the crooked Noida cop who leads in the investigative botch-up. Of course, it’s the quirky, witty officer, Irrfan, who gets the most play and he makes the most of it.
Talvar is a straight, linear retelling of the infamous, convoluted Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj double murder case of 2008. Talwars become Talvar of the title (as in sword of justice), Hemraj turns Khempal, Aarushi becomes Shruti and Jalvayu Vihar of Noida is Sameer Vihar. The focus is on the slipshod work of the cops rather than the trial itself. The film pretty much shows what has already been in the public domain without any embellishments—the utterly inefficient Noida police, the CDI probe led by Ashwin Kumar (Arun Kumar in real life, played by Irrfan)...