Posts Tagged ‘ Shishir Sharma ’

Talvar

Talvar-Poster

Talvar
Release date: October 2, 2015
Directed by: Meghna Gulzar
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sensharma, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah, Shishir Sharma, Prakash Belawadi, Gajraj Rao, Tabu, Atul Kumar, Sumit Gulati

In the summer of 2008, a juggernaut hit the Indian TV waves. It was the Indian Premier League (IPL) and as one of the many theories suggested, the domestic helps in the Arushi-Hemraj double murders were bonding over a cricket match, on the night the mysterious killings took place. There was another theory which suggested that Arushi wanted to get back at her parents for something real bad. All of these theories, some debunked, some not, were polar opposites of the other.

The selection of the right theory is perhaps the part where a case is said to be solved. That selection is corroborated with some testimonies, and/or material evidence. Some cases are “easy” to crack, either by force or by a criminal confession. When proven right, the entire process is a treat to watch at the cinema halls and a great read in the papers. When the investigation goes awry, it’s a disturbing fact to consume that someone innocent could be punished for someone else’s transgressions, or “justice will be denied” forever.

Names of the characters are tweaked by a letter or two, and Talvar takes an outsider view at the whole murder mystery. There are several vantage points, and none from the inside. There’s the Kanhaiya (Krishna in the actual story, played by Sumit Gulati) angle, then there’s the local police’s bumbling perspective, ‘CDI’ investigator Ashwin Kumar (Arun Kumar from CBI, enacted by Irrfan Khan) piecing together the puzzle with his own story, and the chaste Hindi speaking CDI officer Paul (Atul Kumar).

Every perspective plays out in Rashomon fashion, always adding layers to what’s known to the world. Every time the story is retold, the order of events is changed, the agenda is changed, and even the killer. The film does take a stand, after making its point in an eight minute long debate between the two separate teams of investigators; both of them biased towards their own findings and prejudiced towards the other’s methods and observations. The stellar performances of all the cast members keep the proceedings engaging, even with the grim content at hand.

The state of affairs is only alleviated, with Vishal Bharadwaj at the helm of the writing department. In the midst of horrid allegations and depictions, there are sardonic lines from our lives that lighten the tone of events. Gajraj Rao, Sumit Gulati and Atul Kumar are vital bit players that hold the film well with their respective performances. Khan is at the center of the film, not just in terms of current star power, but also in terms of his character’s positioning. He’s shown to be the beacon of light, no matter how realistically fallible.

Ship of Theseus actors Neeraj Kabi as Ramesh and Sohum Shah as Ashwin Kumar’s junior have their hands full and they deliver well. Konkona Sensharma blends in with every shade that is given to her character, in the way of different ‘flashbacks’.

Talvar reiterates symbolically, that solving crime is just another job for some. At the same time, it’s a job with an inevitable but disallowed margin of error. How an actual murder mystery unveils in ‘real life’. Definitely not like an episode from Sherlock. 

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Mary Kom

mary-kom-poster

Mary Kom
Release date: September 5, 2014
Directed by: Omung Kumar
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Darshan Kumar, Rajni Basumatary, Sunil Thapa, Shishir Sharma (WHY ARE THE END CREDITS ROLLING DOWN SO FAST!?)

Biopics always get the viewers’ guard up, be it in terms of factual details or just the chronology of events in the title character’s life as compared to the real timeline of those events in the person’s lifetime. MC Mary Kom is a boxer who still actively competes, and that may have deprived the makers of this film from putting a definitive byline to it. Unlike Paan Singh Tomar or Milkha Singh. Yet, they don’t even make good of what they have at hand.

Mary Kom’s story is shown in a non-linear order, going back and forth between her current maternal state and her humble beginnings. The struggle to attend legitimate training, the opposition of a family member, her ‘love story’ and even her initial round of victories are shown in a matter-of-fact manner; which translates to no empathy/sympathy for the lead character. Everything just happens, and nor any of it is given any depth whatsoever.

If you replaced all of the actually-boxing-in-the-ring parts and substituted them with any other sport, you wouldn’t spot a difference. There’s absolutely no insight on technique, no interesting anecdotes. All of what I just mentioned might appear to be superficial flaws if they stuck with an uncompromising story at the core. But they falter at that too.

Kom’s fight against the Federation has no base to play out on. The disagreement with the officials who don’t select her for her comeback tournament comes up short, even somewhat (unintentionally) sympathetic to the apparently erring officials. An ill-placed self-victimizing racism allegation, in a film where not a single vague racist stereotype is depicted, left me with a strong pungent repulsion for the protagonist in that particular scene.

What’s likeable, you ask. Priyanka Chopra’s grit as Kom, the victory dances and her incoherent and unexplained anger outbursts. With an unnecessary mishmash of two floundering accents, she’s the hero *cough* yes, hero. You don’t have to use ‘heroine’ just because it’s a woman! She has various layers to her, a liberty that almost no other character was bestowed upon. Darshan Kumar, who plays her friend-lover-husband shows shades of range, only to be clipped by the editor or perhaps the writer. Sunil Thapa as M. Narjit Singh is stellar and thank the heaven and hells, he doesn’t have a horrible hybrid accent.Also, lo and behold Keiko Nakahara’s photography. If the film makes you shut up and watch, her frames have a major part to play in that.

The first-half of the film is just a series of shots and scenes highlighting no specific hurdles of Kom, making you question what direction is the film going in. Alas, in the second half, the screenplay starts to assume a certain shape and form. Notwithstanding the formulaic reuse of generic components, the lack of a potent downfall of the athlete and the persistent one-dimensional treatment of major characters, Priyanka Chopra and the spirit of Mary Kom keep fighting to grip you. Do they grip you? Of course they do, because they don’t make movies on influential women in India. Yet.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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