Talvar

Honestly, I have never noticed Lady Justice’s sword. I have noticed the blindfold, the scales. But never, the sword. Probably, the sword is held close to the body facing downwards in all the profiles of the statue. Or, probably, it was never a part of any Hindi movie dialogue, haranguing on the utility of the sword.

Anyway, I missed it. And I knew it today. There is a scene in the movie where the sword (Talwar in Hindi) of Lady Justice is discussed. It’s a subtle pointer to the family in question.

The Talvars. Both parents doctors, living with only daughter. A daughter who, if alive, would have grown to be a beautiful lady. Any picture of hers, show her photogenic oval face and beautiful intense eyes.

She was found with her neck slit on 16 March 2008. Her parents, supposedly, slept through the murder, in the adjacent room with loud air conditioner. The prime suspect, their absconding male house helper, is found dead, smothered and his neck similarly stilt, on the Talvar terrace.

With Talvar’s nominated prime suspect dead, an opportunity arose to one and all, to catch the killer. Indians are schooled in the class where evidence all always in search of the investigator. Thus, the eternal desire of open and shut case.

2008 Noida double murder case was a sensation in the prime time media. Every citizen had a theory. They still have. And I have, and while watching the movie, my biases came alive. The treatment of the movie not did change my theory.

The movie starts by showing the police in poor light. Almost dumb. In fact so bad, that I felt, was it that bad. There is a scene towards the end where Irrfan Khan comments on the investigation. He says, “first the crime was fixed then evidence collected to prove it”. I believe, the movie’s premise was first set to show the Talvars as innocent and then the script written to establish that premise.

Silence is not golden when public opinion is concerned. If the public is not given a narrative to chew on, they will attempt to figure it out themselves. That’s dangerous to governance. Hence, a necessity to fire media controlled narratives. The public, unknown to them, are always in control of some narrative or the other, with control strings going right up to media and then governance.

So, in 2008, screaming narratives where given to the public, for them to creep on broadcast opinions. This movie- Talvar – is similar attempt to influence opinions and portray Talvars as innocent.

The movie ends with similar theme. There are two sides, with distinctly different opinions. And it’s a subtle attempt to shore up compassion. The loosing side is rationalised as the right side.

Truth is shown to be sacrificed on the alter of justice, with the Lady Justice’s sword.

Irrfan Khan, the actor who brought life to the show in the second half of the movie, is on the loosing and the right side. He gives credibility to the core premise, that is, Talvars are innocent. Just as the police are shown as bumbling idiots in the first part, in the second and better half of the movie, Irrfan is shown as serious and methodical investigator.

To put more weight, emotion wise, he is shown as performing a thankless task, despite his personal problems. He and wife Tabu has filed for separation. And, to top it up, his partner in investigation, opportunistically becomes a turncoat. These subtle script manipulations are to get the audience invested in Irrfan’s plight, and invest the accrued emotions to agree in his conclusions.

Atul Kumar as Paul, the investigator who takes up the case when Irrfan is kicked out, is impressive. I liked his controlled acting. After the show, I searched him on the net, and found, he is actor-director in theatres. I must complement the movie makers of not replacing the character of Irrfan with a bumbling idiot. Or did they try that? There was an attempt to show Atul as quirky when he was first introduced.

I didn’t like the movie. I felt it’s contrived with some hidden agenda. As I recall the period from 2008 to 2013, when the Talvars were finally convicted, I recollect numerous and frequent periods of bail applications by Talvar lawyers, articulate Talvar-Friends appear on media claiming Talvar’s innocence, and lawyers debunking any court verdict after any courts judgements. It appeared like a game.

Sorry, the movie doesn’t change my sentiments. I still feel they are guilty. The Talvars and there friends, the media, then and now, trying to prove, poor powerless servants as guilty, does not go down well with my line of thought.


Also published on Medium.

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