Movie Review: Te3n

June 10, 2016

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Ribhu Dasgupta‘s “Te3n” has an unmistakable “Kahaani” feel to it.

Handout still from "Te3n"

Handout still from “Te3n”

It certainly has a lot of elements in common with Sujoy Ghosh’s 2012 suspense thriller set in Kolkata. Vidya Balan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are in prominent roles, and Dasgupta uses a lot of the same motifs — crumbling houses, suspicious old men and the lonely bylanes of the old city. No surprise then that Ghosh is one of the producers of the film.

An official remake of a 2013 Korean film, “Te3n” focuses on John Biswas (Amitabh Bachchan) and his attempts to find his grand-daughter’s kidnapper eight years after she dies during a ransom handover gone awry. When Biswas spots a clue in a crowded fish market, he follows it doggedly, enlisting the help of a reluctant Martin (Siddiqui), the police officer originally assigned to the case. Guilt-ridden over the botched-up investigation and the girl’s death, Martin has left the police force to become a priest.

Martin makes a half-hearted attempt to help Biswas for old times’ sake, but it is only when another child is kidnapped in exactly the same way that Martin begins to fear old ghosts might be back to haunt Biswas and him.

Handout still from film "Te3n"

Handout still from film “Te3n”

Along with police officer Sarita (Balan), Martin focuses on the new kidnapping and finds he’s being deceived yet again by a criminal two steps ahead of the game.

The problem with “Te3n” is that the film is always two steps behind the game. Perhaps it is because of the perpetually wounded, mouth half-open expression on Bachchan’s face or the complete lack of expression on Siddiqui’s face, but “Te3n” never really seems to get interesting. Director Dasgupta gets the atmosphere right, but takes his own time getting the story off the ground.

Instead, the narrative is stuck in second gear, as if unable to drive its way out of yet another crippling Kolkata traffic jam. The three main characters in the film are also surprisingly one-dimensional — especially Siddiqui’s cassocked cop-turned priest — and do nothing to move the stuttering story along. The film’s heavyweight cast can do nothing to salvage it.

Despite having a lot of things going for it, “Te3n” doesn’t pass the first test of a thriller – it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Editing by Tony Tharakan; Follow Shilpa on Twitter at https://twitter.com/shilpajay and Tony at https://twitter.com/TonyTharakan. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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