Thar Movie Review: The Setting Is The Real Hero In This Movie By Anil Kapoor, Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor

Thar has many elements that demand our attention: a small outpost in a frontier town, a mysterious stranger, a few agents and a series of bodies that drain their lifeblood, fall into disrepair, die. But this is one of those movies where the setting is the real hero: the ‘marusthal’ (desert) stretching as far as the eye can see, crumbling fortresses, bare trees providing scant shade, unrelenting, harsh beauty. This breathtaking landscape and haunting soundscape becomes the site of a ‘bawandar’ (storm), as one protagonist describes it, which blows everything away in its wake. These sights and sounds of thar will stay with me even if I quarrel about it.

This movie would have been called a spaghetti western at the time Sholay (1975) came out. The filmmakers are aware of how much Thar, set in 1985, reminds us of the OG desi western: a balcony with a woman looking out over it, the blazing lights of the desert, the armed men clattering on horses and the howling violins. And just in case we’ve lost track of it, Inspector Surekha Singh (Anil Kapoor), who likes to explain, muses aloud whether it’s no longer about bad guy Gabbar, but maybe Jai and Veeru, or even Basanti, or you know. , Ramla?

Believing he’s clouded the waters enough (the dialogues are credited to Anurag Kashyap, who probably grinned as he wrote these and other salty, curse-laden lines in the film), the cop who’s done his job without getting a promotion get, returns to work: who is behind the murders?

As in all good westerns, the needle of suspicion swings at the almost silent outsider, who visits a small eatery run by a jolly fellow in suspenders. Wearing ‘khakee’ and ocher, which match the colors of the film, Siddharth (Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor) traverses the area in a muddy jeep. Who is this guy? Is he really an antique dealer as he claims to be? Or is there something sinister going on? There are drug growers and smugglers. Were they the ones responsible for the terrible deeds?

Meanwhile, we get to see the most eerie, horrific scenes of violence, bordering on torture porn. And this is where the movie starts to feel overdone: The victims, hanging from the ceiling, blood pouring from multiple vents (I’ll never be able to see a rat the same way again), beg for mercy over and over again. By then we are numb and past caring. A well-judged mystery reveals its cards at the right time. In Thar it comes just a little too late. In between, a thread with ‘afeem’ (opium) smugglers from Pakistan and their accomplices on the Indian side is thrown in. But these threads don’t quite fit together well enough, and the film feels disappointing for all its brilliant technical specs.

In a place that feels so real, many of the actors seem grafted. The couple meant to be locals (including Jitendra Joshi and Sanjay Bishnoi) look like they could fit in, but even they stand out when pitted against the villagers featured in various scenes. Fatima Sana Shaikh makes us aware that she has hidden feelings, but she draws attention, and her clothes feel like a costume. And Harsh Varrdhan comes across as too impassive, even if he shares his turmoil. Anil Kapoor, on the other hand, although he doesn’t look rustic enough, glides smoothly through the film, zigzagging, shooting, cursing fluidly: he is the worn, tired moral center of the film, and he doesn’t dodge a single bullet.

The best performance comes from Satish Kaushik: as the lower caste agent whose uniform is a shield in more ways than one, Bhure is one with the ‘thar’. This is where he came from, and this is where he is going.

Thar film director: Raj Singh Chaudhary
Thar movie cast: Anil Kapoor, Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jitendra Joshi, Sanjay Bishnoi, Sanjay Dadhich, Mukti Mohan
Thar movie star rating: 2.5 stars

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