Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Talvar’ (Guilty) was received warmly at the recently concluded Toronto Film Festival. Twitch Film described Talvar as a “remarkable achievement that works on a number of levels, both as a contemporary Indian movie in contrast with the mainstream market and as an experimental effort designed to question long-held assumptions of superiority and safety.” In it’s review The Screen Daily ascertains that “Meghna Gulzar’s thriller based on a true story is such a mockery of the legal system that much of it plays as a comedy.” Variety meanwhile terms Meghna’s film as a “well-crafted whodunit as something akin to an extended ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “Law & Order: Noida.” For his role as the investigative cop Ashvin Kumar, Irrfan Khan predictably garners maximum accolades.
Talvar is based on the 2008 Noida Double Murder, where 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar, was found dead at her home with her throat slashed along with family’s servant Hemraj. This was a widely followed case especially after a messily conducted investigation declared that the girl’s parents, Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar, conducted an “honour killing” of their daughter after finding her in a compromising position with the servant. Eventually the Talwars were convicted and remain imprisoned. ‘Talvar’ has been produced and written by Vishal Bhardwaj, who has given a “Rashomon” spin to the story with multiple-viewpoint dramas, with Meghna treating it as a tight thriller.
Even as she basks in her long overdue creative success, one person in Meghna’s corner always knew that it was just a matter of time that she finds her voice. That would be her father Gulzar saab, who has always taken great pride in his little Bosky’s work. Almost a year back, he had told me, “Mark my words. Meghna will surprise you with her new film.” Gulzar saab feels he can never make the kind of films that Meghna does and terms her directorial debut Filhaal as “way ahead of its times.” Between the father and daughter, it’s pretty much a mutual admiration society as Meghna who has dedicated Talvar to her father, quips with a smile, “Mom (Rakhee) is the critic in the house because my father just doesn’t have it in him to criticize me. The maximum he can say is that yeh aisa ho sakta hai.” Her father’s unflinching belief sometimes “scares” Meghna too, as she says, “I don’t want to ever let him down and that’s why I try twice as hard.” Ask Meghna what would be that one cinema trick that she could steal from her father and she says, “It would have to be his writing which makes his films extremely powerful. There is such brevity and simplicity in his words that they connect at a pure emotional level.” As to her favourite Gulzar films, here is what the proud daughter has to say: “Ijaazat for the dignity he accorded to an extramarital affair; Khushboo for the strength he gave to Kusum; Aandhi for putting a beautiful spin on love and longing and Lekin for being the ultimate ghost story.”
Come Octorber 2nd, when ‘Talvar’ releases, it will be her father’s turn to share his list.
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