When cinema indirectly passes judgement

Cinema and visual content are known to have a strong influence on people. One develops views and tends to judge according to what has been read and seen.  The year 2015 was the year of Talwars in a way. From Avirook Sen’s book Aarushi to Vishal Bhardwaj and Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar, this year, people have got the chance to go in depth about the 2008 Aarushi–Hemraj double murder case and see what exactly happened and how the case developed over the years.

“It was after reading the book I realised what happened to Talwars was unfortunate. The case is a clear example of personal egos and a botched-up investigation. The biggest irony however is that we still are mum about the verdict,” says Monica Sharma, a journalist.

Here, one can clearly figure out that the way Sen has portrayed the case while hinting at Rajesh and Nupur Talwar being innocent.

Having read the book, Monica wasn’t in favour of watching the movie, “It will be too depressing to watch the visual representation of the case,” she says.
Similarly, Zain Anwar, a 23-year-old film enthusiast, expresses about his baffled mind state after watching the movie. He says, “After watching Talvar, I was sad, disturbed and scared.”

Along with being upfront in the portrayal of how the murder took place, the film also forces people to question themselves on trusting the police.

“The Talwars are ordinary citizens of this country like you and me. The scope of justice seems too timid. Although I don’t have a problem against the judicial system and the courts, what the police does, is actually scary,” adds Anwar.

So we see the kind of effect cinematic and literary representations can have on the audiences. In the past too, movies like Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke which was based on Nanawati case and No One Killed Jessica based on Jessica Lal murder case, have evoked a kind of sympathising reaction from the audiences.

Showing the other side of the narrative, Bollywood has tried to project a big case to a larger audience, though through director’s own understanding and perspective. 
Suparna Sharma, a film critic, shares how Talvar clarifies all the misconceptions that people had about the double-murder case.


“Both Bhardwaj and Gulzar have brilliantly shown that how we need to ask questions and not be convinced by what the cops say,” says Sharma.

“The movie will make people see something, which they haven’t seen earlier. After all the reactions, I hope that something around it is done.”

But does cinema really carry the power to influence people, the investigative departments and the judiciary?

Anuj Kumar, another film critic, tells Metrolife, “Earlier cinema used to be very balanced. But today, directors do take cinematic liberties to take sides. We cannot deny that directors have taken creative licences to highlight one theory and undermine other.”
He explains that even in a movie like Haider, Bhardwaj has tried to show his
perspective where there is inclination towards a certain perspective.

He further adds, “This is the first time that we have cinematic and social intervention for a criminal case where the film is indirectly passing a judgement. The movies on real incidents in the past, were made only after the judgement was passed.”

Having said that, Kumar emphasises that the right kind of audience will never be influenced by a movie. “The film must be watched as a film and not given more importance than it actually deserves.”


Positive about Talvar being very close to reality, Kumar feels that it does evoke feelings and emotions, but should not influence people.

“Bollywood does not have that kind of power and I think our judiciary is mature enough to pass right judgements,” he says.

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