Ittefaq movie review
A good murder mystery leads you by the hand but doesn’t advertise its wares, takes care to keep it taut, and delivers a satisfactory payoff. Despite a few niggles, this brand new Ittefaq, which takes broad pointers from the 1969 original of the same name, manages to pull it off.
Does the first-time director hit the right buttons in what is understandably one of the year’s most anticipated Hindi films? Yes and no. On the face of it, Ittefaq is a slick, stylish whodunit that is cast more in the mould of a police procedural than a good old murder mystery.
The story of Ittefaq, as we well know, is about two killings most foul. In the new take, a twist in the tale delivers an intriguing perfect-murder scenario in which the lawman comes tantalizingly close to bringing a fugitive to book. As a film, Ittefaq is definitely more than half-decent. It is competently mounted, compact and visually classy. As a thriller, however, its twists and turns aren’t exactly of the kind that would blow you away. Ittefaq falls a tad short of being a genuine humdinger. But, to be sure, it falls only a tad short.
It is a thriller that remains watchable without being a consistently pulsating, heart-pounding experience.
One of the reasons why Ittefaq does not deliver the anticipated knockout punch is that the two lead actors – Sidharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha – are hard-pressed to convey the full dramatic implications of the urgency and distress of the troubled characters that they play. Both, as in the case of Rajesh Khanna’s painter and Nanda’s homemaker of the late 1960s, are trapped in tottering marriages. Both have a motive to rid themselves of their respective partners.
There are a few problems here. Initially, the background music calling attention to itself is not promising. The thread of inept cops and their banter starts off as annoying, not just because we’ve seen this kind of stuff before, but also because the quantum makes it feel superfluous. Dev is prone to making smart-alecky comments, and you can see the dialogues being pressed into the service of old-style one-liners. They all start sounding too expository, dotting the Is and underlining the Ts. And a couple of elements end being clunkier than they should.
You will see some untapped chemistry between Sid and Sonakshi which can work wonders if given a chance. The supporting cast, especially Himanshu Kohli and the one who played the constable did a fab job in adding some light moments in an otherwise dark narrative.
Watch Ittefaq because the film reveals a great deal about how Bollywood filmmaking has changed over the past five decades. If that isn’t a big enough draw, watch it for nonpareil Akshaye Khanna. He overshadows everyone – and everything – in Ittefaq.