Questions, Possibilities, Assumptions Are Three Things That Makes A Murder Crime Thriller Work. Akshay Khanna led ITTEFAQ Has All Of It And A Bit More, going by Indian Standards.
Thankfully, the producer and director have kept ITTEFAQ at just over 100-minute of length. It is quite short compared to usual length of Indian films. However, even this length allows the film to move at a leisurely pace and keeps building the tension. It is anyway not a heart-pounding mystery that makes your mouth go dry.
Itefaq is a wee bit disorienting. It is shaky, moving between narration of stories by Maya (Sonakshi Sinha) and Vikram (Sidharth Malhotra), the two suspect. It does not add to experience that they deliver their narration in bits and pieces to Mumbai crime branch investigating officer Dev Verma( Akshay Khanna). It works as a deliberate ploy to keep you guessing, fill your mind with possibilities.
It would have been excellent, if Itefaq was successful in emotionally connecting the audience with any of the two prime suspects. There is no moment where the audience strongly feels for the characters and wishes that either Snakashi’s or Sidharth’s version to be true. Both the suspect retains uncanny calmness and there is no over dramatized threatened to the wits end scene.
Results, the audience fail to associate with the suspects. However, no one is complaining as the film keeps you engaged.
The camera and light work is brilliant. The shots through Mumbai rains are captured brilliantly. The dialogues do their work in heightening the tension. They are short, and with built in pauses for emotions to get expressed. The denudant director Abhay Chopra comes out a winner with this much-awaited film with legible marketing or promotion.
The film belongs to Akshaye Khanna. It’s unfortunate that he has done so few films. There are shades of Vinod Khanna’s mannerism, smile and gait in Akshye performance. It adds to the whole package. In fact, the centre remains Aakshey Khanna with his overpowering performance. It is only towards the end when suddenly Dev allows you space in partnering him to share what is going through his mind.
Sidharth’s limitations get exposed in such films. He remains a single expression actor and must do something about it. Sonakshi’s has a limited presence, but she delivers her part well enough.
Caution for under 40, go and enjoy it and do not compare it with any Hollywood film. We are a late entrant to no song- strong storyline- experimental films by Indian standards. Appreciate our moving in this direction.
Even if you are over 40 and have earlier watched the 1969 ITTEFAQ starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda, this one will be a different experience as it has a limited feel of it. This is a case where you can say, the 1969 film has only been an inspiration. The writers and director have remoulded 2017 ITTEFAQ with a different take, treatment twist and turn.
STAR CAST: Akshaye Khanna, Sidharth Malhotra, and Sonakshi Sinha. DIRECTOR: Abhay Chopra
STORY: Abhay Chopra, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra