Bollywood’s efforts at presenting good whodunits are rather scanty, but I am wonderstruck at the frequency of it being once in five years! The first taut whodunit in Bollywood in the 21st century was in 2002; the movie was the less publicized MANORAMA: SIX FEET UNDER. If you have not seen it, you must certainly get it on a DVD and watch it; it has a fine story with lots of twists and turns. And after that we had to wait for five years till 2012 brought the famous Vidya Balan starrer KAHAANI and a short while later Aamir Khan’s TALAASH. And after a hiatus of another 5 years, we now have ITTEFAQ. Although there has been a ITTEFAQ in 1969, which was a very well made suspense movie, and a totally forgettable ITTEFAQ in 2001 starring Sunil Shetty, and the 2017 ITTEFAQ, the stories in these three presentations are different from each other. And without an iota of doubt, the story of the latest ITTEFAQ easily stands out as one of the best suspense stories that have been presented in Bollywood. Credit for that goes to a threesome: the director Abhay Chopra and two others; credit for producing this also goes to a threesome: Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Shah Rukh’s Red Chillies and Renu Chopra (daughter-in-law of the famous B R Chopra).
The twists and turns in the latest ITTEFAQ do more than mere justice to a whodunit; in fact these constitute the pillars of the movie. The one-liners, actually help the story telling process and since most of the one-liners are mouthed by the cops, this shows a maturity to be able to laugh at the foibles of the cops themselves and Akshaye Khanna does his investigator role with aplomb.
Though it is a suspense thriller, ITTEFAQ doesn’t convey grimness; it is not what one could call an edge of the seat thriller. It is just a hundred minutes long, but despite that, one can’t call it a very taut product. While the screenplay (also by the director) can be partially blamed, I feel that both Siddharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha, who play the lead roles aren’t able to bring in the feel required in the complex roles. This is what ultimately causes the movie to be a couple of notches lower than what KAHAANI delivered in 2012 and what MANORAMA: SIX FEET UNDER delivered in 2007. But at least, thankfully, there are no unanswered FAQ (as what one would encounter in Indian suspense tales) in this ITTEFAQ!!!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
November 4th, 2017