By Khalid Mohamed
Originally posted on Spotboye.com
Oh Kolkata! That means glimpses of old-worldly architecture, Howrah bridge and shady lanes pullulating with secrets and lies. Time doesn’t fly here. Instead in the ambience lurks dread, held-back tears and a sliver of fear.
Sujoy Ghosh, the producer of Te3n — presumably, the gimmicky numeral 3 is inspired by the Brad Pitt-Morgan Freeman thriller Se7en – is back on the Kolkata beat, assigning the reins to director Ribhu Dasgupta.
And if Ghosh’s Kahaani disclosed obvious shades of the Angelina Jolie movie Taking Lives, Dasgupta’s debut-making feature is ransacked from the South Korean whodunit Montage, lock, stock and smokin’ barrels. Alas, the original’s tautness is quite lost in the adaptation.
Honestly, now what’s with this South Korean wave? Guess it has something to do with the commercial successes of Murder 2 and Ek Tha Villain. So, why not do as the South Koreans do? In fact, despite copyright laws becoming stringent of late, there hasn’t been a 360-degree turn to originality.
Moreover, the overriding rebuttal to anyone who dares to crave for fresh, made-in-India plots, is, “What is your problem? As long as the rehash works.” Right. So no more laments and copycatting. Just lie back and enjoy the retread…er.. if you can.
Scooter over to the eponymous 3some then: A gaunt John Biswas (Amitabh Bachchan) is haunted by the trauma of losing his granddaughter in an abduction eight years ago. Father Martin Das (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), former cop, is pining for redemption. And intrepid police officer (Vidya Balan) is on the scene, to crack the case which may or may not have been committed by a serial killer. A perfect recipe for a spine-chiller?
Wishful thinking that. The pace is slower than snail mail. Clues and misleading red herrings abound. More fatally, the wrap-up is as alphonsos in summer. To be fair, revealing the twists and churnings here would amount to playing spoilsport. Request: go and do your own guessing game. The puzzle isn’t likely to make you chew your cuticles with suspense, with the mastery of let’s say even the vintage whodunwhats like Bees Saal Baad or Woh Kaun Thi. Sigh.
That squawked, the strong suit of Te3n is its turbocharged star power. Although Bachchan strode through similar terrain lately in Wazir (in which his daughter was killed in mysterious circumstances), he dignifies the enterprise with his implosive performance. In his check shirt, as he mulls over tape recordings and communicates his resoluteness , you not only empathise with his mission, but also understand that no other actor could have injected the same depth of conviction. At the age of 73, his chutzpah hasn’t diminished at all.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, either by his own choice or the director’s, doesn’t appear to have worked towards getting his accent in sync with his character’s. Emotively, though, he is spot-on. In an appearance which comes across as an exercise in précis, Vidya Balan is still first-rate, enticing you to wish the screenplay had allocated her a lengthier screen-time.
Come to think of it, never mind the script which is riddled with plot-holes, or the uneven direction. The moody cinematography, an above-the-cut music score, and the topnotch trio of actors all contribute towards that redeeming factor of brio. All seen and experienced, don’t expect a gripping masterpiece, and you won’t be completely disappointed.
Categories: Is the movie worth your buck?
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