A few years ago, Vidya Balan wowed us in Kahaani, a suspense thriller, which ranks amongst the best in Hindi cinema. Now Sujoy Ghosh, the director of that film, decides to produce another suspense thriller, (based on a Korean film) and cast Balan again. On top of that, he manages to rope in two other fantastic actors- Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Amitabh Bachchan. Isn’t that an interesting recipe? The only major change is that Ghosh now decides to entrust the direction to Ribhu Dasgupta.
So how does this ensemble work?
What’s the plot?
Eight years have passed since a young girl lost her life in a carefully orchestrated kidnapping-murder incident. The perpetrator was never caught and the cops have already accepted their failure. But the victim’s septuagenarian grandfather (Amitabh Bachchan), living with his wheel-chair-bound wife, still refuses to let go of his grand-daughter’s memory and keeps making rounds of the police station. Undaunted by the passage of time, he keeps digging into the past, hoping to find the missing clues that will lead to the kidnapper-murderer. Meanwhile a new child-kidnapping takes place in the city, which is almost mirroring the old, unsolved case. The chief investigator (Vidya Balan) decides to seek advice from her cop-turned-priest ex-colleague (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who had investigated the original case. As these three protagonists, each with a different individual perspective, go on the crime-trail, the scenario starts getting more and more confusing. Will they finally nab the elusive criminal?
· Amitabh Bachchan delivers yet another brilliant performance. His character is well-etched. The way in which he changes his body language and dialogue delivery to show the grandfather’s old age, helplessness, sadness and untiring zeal to uncover the crime is simply amazing.
· The two other protagonists- Nawazuddin Siddiqui (despite getting a poorly explained character!) and Vidya Balan (having an almost secondary role!) show their talents through natural portrayals.
· The second half of the film is excellent.
· The story-line and the direction (in spite of some obvious pitfalls!) deserve some credit for keeping you guessing and thinking even after the conclusion.
· The songs in the background gel well.
· The most glaring flaw is the annoyingly slow pace of the first half. The film takes too long to really get going. Better direction and editing could have tightened it up.
· Barring Amitabh, every other actor could complain that their character was half-baked!
· For the lovers of the thriller genre, the storyline and the twists may appear familiar.
· The Kolkata locales and the overall treatment keep reminding of Kahaani.
Big B’s masterly performance, excellent supporting cast and an intelligently weaved suspenseful plot make Te3n a worthwhile watch, if you are patient enough to wait through the painstakingly slow build-up.