Thar movie review: Anil Kapoor owns the show in this visually stunning Netflix crime drama that's marred by predictability
Twin murders in a rather uneventful village leaves a police inspector digging deep into the criminal underbelly of the place with a mysterious man becoming the prime suspect.
- Raj Singh Chaudhary
- Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor,
- Anil Kapoor,
- Satish Kaushik,
- Fatima Sana Shaikh
Raj Singh Chaudhary directorial may not be perfect, but the stunning visuals and Anil Kapoor ’s thrill-seeking character keeping you hooked till the end.
In Munabao, a remote village in Rajasthan, nothing interesting ever happens. However, a series of gruesome murders follow the arrival of an unknown city man who maintains an air of mystery.
A soon to retire cop, Surekha Singh (Anil Kapoor) gets on the case with his accomplice Bhure ( Satish Kaushik ) as the two instances of murders in the village seem to have common link – opium trade. The new stranger in town ( Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor ) becomes a suspect as he goes around the village with a job offer and knocks on the door of one man, Panna (Jitendra Joshi). He also forms an unspoken bond with his wife Chetna (Fatima Sana Shaikh).
What follows is a gritty crime drama with the true motivations of Harsh Varrdhan’s character remaining shrouded in mystery till the very end. While Surekha and Bhure’s search for answers exposes the criminal underbelly of drug operations, the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit is this mysterious man who says he deals in antiques and employees three men who are potentially linked to drug trade.
The screenplay and the setting of this crime drama does half the job for Raj Singh Chaudhary, as it draws you into the story. The rotting corpse of a buffalo in the middle of the desert signifying the rotting core of this seemingly peaceful village, to the beauty and silence of the vast and empty Thar captured in sharp contract to the grisly murders and brutal torture, all blend in to capture your attention.
For the, other half, the plot fails where it tries to stretch the mystery till very last minute. Harsh Varrdhan’s character and Anil’s character occupy most of the screen time, with Fatima and Satish’s characters getting most of what’s left. While all actors make the most of their time on camera with splendid performances, the narrative gets frustrating after a point as it becomes hard to relate to Harsh Varrdhan’s character who is a man of a few words and the viewer is dragged along with him from place to place with no inclination on the part of the filmmaker to give answers.
Of course, various scenarios course through your head to understand what this primary character is up to and why. But by the time it is deemed fit to provide answers, the plot has already crossed the line to predictability.
Another thing that baffles you is the time in which the plot is set. Thar takes you back to 1985 to narrate this crime drama, but the significance of this time period to plot is lost on you. The story is such that it could have been set in any time period but you wonder till the end if there’s something about the era associated with the film that you missed.
Anil Kapoor does a splendid job playing a man who craves to prove himself as an inspector at the verge of retirement and rises to the occasion when the opportunity presents itself. Harsh Varrdhan, on the other hand, has little room to put his acting chops on display with the mystery surrounding him in the film engulfing opportunity.
Fatima Sana Shaikh’s character blossoms beautifully while Mukti Mohan’s feisty avatar makes it an impressive debut for her. Jitendra Joshi aces his part as Panna, while Satish Kaushik’s adept performance leaves you impressed.
Raj Singh Chaudhary's screenplay and additional screenplay by Yogesh Dabuwalla and Anthony Catino, deserve a special mention for setting up this noir film which feels like a perfect ode to the cowboy films of the West. Anurag Kashyap 's dialogues never go over the top to make the already packed narrative melodramatic and perfectly match the setting and tonality of the film.
Thar is visual extravaganza which could have been extraordinary had the plot been treated with equal care as the scene setting. However, despite the predictability, it a film that won’t make you feel like you wasted your time or disappointed.