How Talvar (2015) Exposed the Flaws of the Indian Justice System
Talvar: A Gripping Film on India's Most Controversial Case
Talvar is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language thriller drama film directed by Meghna Gulzar and written by Vishal Bhardwaj. Produced by Bhardwaj and Vineet Jain, the film is based on the 2008 Noida double murder case involving a teenage girl and her family's servant. Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi, the film follows the investigation of a case from three different perspectives in which her parents are either guilty or innocent of the murder charges by the police investigation, the first Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe and an investigation by a different CBI team. The film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival in the special-presentation section, and was screened at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival. It was released theatrically in India on 2 October 2015 to mostly-positive reviews, with particular praise for its writing and performances; however, many of the critics felt that the film was very biased towards the parents. The film was a moderate box-office success, grossing 302 million (US$3.8 million). Bhardwaj received the Best Adapted Screenplay Award for Talvar at the 63rd National Film Awards, and Prasad received the Award for Best Editing at the 61st Filmfare Awards.
The film is based on the real-life case of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade, who were found murdered at their home in Noida on the night of May 15-16, 2008. Aarushi's parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, were initially suspected of killing their daughter in an honour killing after finding her in a compromising position with Hemraj. However, after Hemraj's body was discovered on the terrace of their building, the police changed their theory and accused Rajesh of killing both Aarushi and Hemraj in a fit of rage. The case was then transferred to the CBI, which conducted two separate investigations with contradictory conclusions. The first CBI team cleared the Talwars of any involvement and suggested that three other servants who worked in their neighbourhood were responsible for the murders. The second CBI team rejected this theory and filed a closure report naming Rajesh as the sole suspect but without enough evidence to charge him. The court rejected this report and ordered a trial based on circumstantial evidence. In November 2013, Rajesh and Nupur were convicted by a special CBI court and sentenced to life imprisonment. They appealed against their conviction in the Allahabad High Court, which acquitted them in October 2017 due to lack of conclusive proof.
Talvar is a compelling film that explores one of India's most controversial cases with honesty and sensitivity. The film does not take sides or offer a definitive answer to what really happened on that fateful night, but rather presents multiple versions of events based on different sources and interpretations. The film uses an example of the Rashomon effect, where different witnesses or participants have contradictory accounts of the same incident. The film also exposes the flaws and biases of the Indian justice system, media, and society that influenced the outcome of the case.
One of the main strengths of Talvar is its script by Vishal Bhardwaj, who is also known for his acclaimed adaptations of Shakespeare's plays such as Maqbool (Macbeth), Omkara (Othello), and Haider (Hamlet). Bhardwaj's script is b70169992d