New Delhi: This Friday many cine buffs will head to theatres to watch Meghna Gulzar's directorial ‘Talvar'. The movie stars Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi in leading roles.
‘Talvar' traces the story of the infamous double homicide of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade. With changed names but following the same storyline, the filmmakers wish to bring out the hidden aspects of the story to the entire nation. After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was well received, it will be a test for the movie to weave the same kind of magic back home.
On May 16, 2008, Dr. Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur Talwar woke up to see their 14-year-old daughter dead with a slit neck on her bed. Almost immediately, the police thought that their domestic help Hemraj, a 45-year-old man, had committed the crime, only to find him dead on the terrace the next day.
The needle of suspicion then moved towards the couple. According to the investigation, the couple killed their daughter and servant when they found the two in an ‘objectionable' position.
This double murder drew such attention because it divided the country into two parts. The case was handled by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Firstly, a team was led by officer Arun Kumar and later after his tenure ended, another was led by officer AGL Kaul.
Both the teams gave contradictory results. Kumar and his team asserted that other than the parents, two domestic servants and a compounder at Dr. Talwar's office could be involved. The other team declared that Dr. Talwar was responsible for the murder.
While the former's report wasn't perused further due to lack of evidence, it was maybe because of the latter's reports that the couple were convicted and imprisoned.
The movie ‘Talvar' bares most of the facts of the case before the audience. Variety wrote, “Based on a notorious double-murder case in the Indian city of Noida, “Guilty” is bound to stir up controversy on its home turf with its dramatically potent depiction of police ineptitude, media excess, bureaucratic infighting and a possible miscarriage of justice. But offshore audiences are more likely to view helmer Meghna Gulzar's well-crafted whodunit as something akin to an extended ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “Law & Order: Noida.”
While Meghna says that her movie is unbiased, American film critics feel the movie sympathises with the parents. While the larger part of the country feels that the couple has got what they deserve, ‘Talvar' might stir new conversations. With its dramatic representations, the movie is bound to question the role of the media in shaping the judgement about a heinous crime.
The Aarushi and Hemraj murders brought the Indian judicial system under scrutiny too. From a political involvement in the case to the accusation that the CBI teams are biased, the case became the most talked about topic in the nation.
Reviews of the movie in the foreign media say that it leaves you in an unsettling position. It gets under your skin and without taking any side forces you to ask the most important question. Was justice denied?