Shree Paradkar, editor of the Toronto Star, wrote about her experience of watching Meghna Gulzar's upcoming Talvar (named Guilty in international markets) at the ongoing 40th Toronto International Film Festival.
However, for Paradkar, this wasn't just any movie. She is the cousin of Nupur Talwar, whose daughter Aarushi was murdered in 2008 at their home in Noida. The case, famously referred to as the Noida double murders, became a media sensation and is the basis for Talvar. Currently, Nupur and her husband Rajesh Talwar, Aarushi's father, are serving a life sentence in jail for the murder of their own daughter.
Paradkar, who has reported about the case several times, is one of many people who believe that the Talwars have been wrongfully incarcerated.
Recounting her experience of watching the film at a packed screening held on September 14, Paradkar says she "didn't" and "couldn't" cry, having braced herself well in advance to see "a portrayal of Aarushi's dead body". "And yet, it was seeing her character alive just moments before her murder that was nearly my undoing," she wrote, admitting that she was perhaps more like her cousin than she'd thought. Nupur was demonised by the media as well as investigating officers for her propensity to not display her emotions.
Calling Talvar a "powerful film", Paradkar wrote that she was relieved that it "stuck to the facts without embellishing or caricaturizing people in the name of 'dramatization'".
The only scene that "overwhelmed" her was one in which a dental clinic assistant (Krishna Thadarai, a once-prime suspect) slashes Aarushi's character's throat. Paradkar confesses to have buried her face in her hands at that point, given that there was solid evidence against his involvement in the murder (he was, however, eventually given a clean chit by the Central Bureau Of Investigation team looking into the case).
Her only complaint with the film was that it highlighted the incompetence of the investigating officers, but not their "malice or criminal wrongdoings".
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Talvar, starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, and Neeraj Kabi, releases in India on October 2.
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