Talvar: Justice, where are you?

I walked into the theater today knowing fully well what to expect. I knew most of the evidences and arguments related to the case, primarily through the media debates around the time of conviction and also through a number of articles that I read. I expected to walk out of the theater feeling dejected and angered at the media trial, the shoddy investigations and the verdict. There was all of that but the movie also left me with a quirky smile on my face. I am yet to figure out if I was, and still am, smiling at the dark humor in the movie or just the travesty of it all.

TalvarFilmPoster

We all have our prejudices in life. I would be surprised if there is anyone who would disagree. After all we are all a product of our experiences and often life experiences tend to sway our perception to one extreme or the other. I would hold myself guilty of believing in lot many things without actually examining the evidence. For example, if Arvind Kejriwal does a press conference tomorrow and says that Mr. X is guilty then I would probably presume his guilt even before the matter goes to the court. BUT the problem becomes glaring if and when the investigation agencies and courts are prejudiced. Unfortunately, this is what I fear happened in the 2008 Noida double murder case.

Now before you turn around and ask me “Who are you to pass a judgement when the ‘honorable’ court has convicted the Talwars?”, I would like to clarify that I am just an individual fully capable of using my own brains to come to a conclusion. The only difference between me and someone who believes that the Talwars are guilty is that I do not have a court judgement to fallback on but that does not change anything. Yes, as per the law of the land, the Talwars murdered their daughter and Hemraj and I cannot do anything about it. But I am yet to hear about one piece of evidence, circumstantial evidence aside, which proves beyond reasonable doubt that the parents slit their daughter’s throat that unfortunate night. Honestly, I will be a much happier person if I see that evidence and convince myself that justice has been delivered so please do let me know if you are privy to any such evidence.

I do not want to make this one long rant about the injustice but I do want to raise one point regarding the state of the police in our country. Two days ago I saw a Ravish Kumar report from Dadri where a man was murdered for rumors that there was beef in his fridge. Ravish was shown around the house and the room which still had blood stains and fingerprints. There were clothes full of blood lying around. More than once, Ravish told the other people around to not touch the spots where there might be some fingerprints as it will be useful for investigations. The cops were there too. They were sitting outside the house playing cards if I am not mistaken. The UP Police probably felt their job was done once they had confiscated the meat from the fridge and sent it for forensics. It was a similar scene 7 years back in the Talwar house. So what I want to ask is does the Indian police know what cordoning of the crime scene means? Does the police know that their job is to investigate and present facts and not to fabricate theories? Does the police have the independence, the resources and the will to conduct a thorough investigation? If the answer to anyone of these questions is no, then it’s worrisome.

Talvar

Coming back to the movie Talvar, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a good investigative thriller. I enjoyed it for the dark humor and some really fine acting performances. Watch out for the scene near the end in which both sides discuss the merits of the evidence they have. You will find yourself laughing no matter how serious the matter may seem. Irrfan holds the film together from start to finish and I cannot think of anyone better to have played the role. In fact everyone from the elaborate cast has done a fine job and delivered some memorable performances. After you watch it, do sit back and remind yourself that what you saw is for the most part what unfolded in the past 7 years.

I do hope that at least everyone reading this blog tries to do their own small investigation and think about the case without any preconceived notions or theories. Justice may be delayed or denied in the courts but at least everyone who dares to call them guilty must know about the case in detail and not just what they have heard from others. Watch the movie. Read Avirook Sen’s book Aarushi. Read a few articles (will keep linking a few below). Watch some TV debates. And just think about it.

I would like to leave you all with this recent tweet by Shree Paradkar (Nupur Talwar’s cousin).

A few links (will keep adding more):

Haider is Fascinating

I do not feel capable of writing a review for an adaptation of Hamlet because I have not studied Hamlet that well and barely remember it. But I am making this post because I cannot stop myself from recommending this movie. If even one person reads this blog and decides to watch Haider, I will be happy.

Haider is fascinating. It’s Brilliant. The story starts of a little slow but sucks you in and you do not take your eyes off the screen after the interval. Those who have seen Hamlet will be forced to compare and judge this movie as an adaptation. But for me, this is Haider. Not Hamlet. And Haider is a very well directed film by Vishal Bhardwaj, who is undoubtedly one of the finest directors in our country. I am happy to know that directors like Vishal Bhardwaj are there to inspire the next generation of directors in India.

The performances are remarkable. Shahid, Kay Kay, Shraddha shine and all other local actors have done well. Shahid needs to do less of the Phata Posters and R Rajkumars and do some interesting roles. He has a lot of variety and has shown immense growth as an actor. Kay Kay is a fine actor and he does complete justice to his role. Shraddha is relatively new but holds her own in front of all the other experienced actors. Her songs and the music in general is another addition to Haider’s appeal. Irrfan Khan shows that you do not need a lengthy role to make an impact.

But Tabu just steals the show. Each and every scene in which she is present is a lesson for all other aspiring actors. You can be part of a 200 crore movie in which there is no substance to your role or look for challenging roles in which you grow as an actor. Tabu is too good of an actress to not get more meaningful roles. I really hope this is the beginning of a lot more good work for her. And I need to visit/revisit some of her previous work now.

I just lov-ed Haider. This is the kind of film that Bollywood should be known for. Not Slumdog Millionaire. Go watch it! Now!