“Thar: Dark Brutal Morbid Angry Violent” -A Subhash K Jha Review

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Thar(Netflix)
Starring Anil Kapoor, Harshvarrdhan Kapoor, Fatima Sana Shaikh

Tum Aa Gaye Ho Noir Aa Gaya Hai….In Thar the most expressive face is that of a bright little girl who points our young discernibly troubled hero to the address that he searches in the godforsaken village of Maunabao in Rajasthan. Godforsaken, because people are dying horribly tortured deaths and there is nothing our cop-hero can do about it.

The cop Surekha Singh, if you must know, played by a trying-hard-to-look-intense Anil Kapoor, is a deeply disenchanted man. His wife, played by the wonderful Nivedita Bhattacharya, has nothing but contempt for his lack of ambition. His son very bluntly tells his father he wants to become an IPS officer, so he can come back to their village and lord over his father.

There is clearly a lack of sunshine in this scorching-hot village. The sweltering heat and the rising temperature is fabulously captured by cinematographer Shreya Dev Dubey. She shoots the characters as extensions of the blistering environment. They are sullen , unsympathetic and seething in a self-destructive anger. None more so than the mysterious stranger(you know the stereotypical loner-hero in the average Spaghetti Western?) Siddharth , a brutal brooder with an axe to grind.

As Harshvarrdhan gnashes is teeth and tries to look like a wounded animal, Thar thunders into the zone of gory sadistic torture and violence . After a point, the brutality gets unbearable. But then you realize that desperate people resort to desperate remedies for their pain. What Harshvarrdhan’s silently simmering character makes us realize is that no amount of revenge can heal wounds that are too deep for blood.

The aura of a ‘noir western’ hovers arrogantly over every frame of Thar. There are men riding horses and shooting at their victims randomly just like in those Will Wild westerns with John Wayne in the lead. The stylish violence is after a point,reprehensible. I am not too sure the futility of violence is manifested coherently in the outflow of unstoppable mayhem

We soon realize that under the veneer of spiffy violence , Thar is nothing more than routine revenge saga with the violence dialed up drastically.Its noire aspirations notwithstanding , the characters move through a cesspool of blood and gore looking for a closure to their trauma that doesn’t exist, the closure I mean.

While Anil Kapoor for all his Anurag Kashyap-designed aggression and expletives seems a misfit in the milieu of morbid mayhem, Harshvarrdhan makes do with smouldering silences. Some of the supporting cast is interesting. Fatima Sana Shaikh as an abused wife gets her character’s anxieties and cravings right, though her clothes are too chic for her character, Jitendra Joshi as her brutish husband is excellent . Every time he is the frame with Harshvarrdhan we can feel the difference.

Until the end I couldn’t figure out why Raahul Singh was going around shooting people . The more the merrier,I guess.Minimalist in mood, nihilistic in tone,and atrophied in its execution, Thar tries to be that dark brutal desi Western which is cannot be.

Our Rating

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