Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Tasveer: Not so picture perfect
There are films that grab you instantly and don’t let you go till the credits roll. There are those that start off on a great note but lose the plot midway. And then there are those which don’t start off on a good note, nor do they end on one.
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer” falls in the third category. The film starts off at a sluggish pace, but by the time the second half rolls in, it graduates into a half-decent thriller and you start to think that Kukunoor may be on to something after all. You are wrong. But we will get to that in a bit.
The protagonist of this film is Jai Puri (Akshay Kumar), a somewhat melancholic forest officer (although his profession is dealt with in the first five minutes of the film and never mentioned later) who we are told can see the past through a photo.
When his father dies in a purported drowning accident, Jai comes across a slightly eccentric, obsessive ex-cop Habibullah Pasha (Jaaved Jaffrey, playing what I thought was the best character in the film), who is convinced that it was murder.
Determined to get to the bottom of it, Jai tries to solve the mystery by going back in time to when the tragedy occurred, through a photo clicked just minutes before his father drowned.
Jai finds that each of the three people in the photo with his father had a reason to kill him, and sets about trying to find the killer.
What you want from a suspense thriller — very obviously — are thrills (of which the film provides none), and of course a great climax. Unfortunately, the film’s climax, which could have been quite innovative, turns into this sordid saga which never seems to end.
At just over two hours, the film lags in places, and neither the script nor editing is tight. The locales are picturesque given that the film is shot entirely in Canada, but that is not why you would watch a thriller.
Of the cast, everyone except Jaffrey looks like they would rather be facing a tiger than acting in this film. Akshay Kumar looks so disinterested in the part he is playing, there’s not a single scene where you feel for his character.
What I feel really bad about is that this film has Nagesh Kukunoor as its director. The man who gave us films like “Teen Deewarein”, “Iqbal”, “Hyderabad Blues” and my personal favourite – “Dor”, slips into mediocrity with his latest.
I even overlooked “Bombay to Bangkok” because Kukunoor was one of the few directors on my “to watch out for” list. Now, I wonder if it is time to take him off it
Given that Tasveer is the last Hindi film you will see at the theatres for some time (producers and exhibitors have been unable to arrive at a solution with regards to distribution of revenues), this is definitely not the best way to bid a temporary good bye to your neighbourhood multiplex.