Ittefaq is the story of UK based novelist Vikram Sethi (played by Siddharth Malhotra), who is in India for his latest book launch. Minutes after the launch party for his book, his wife and CEO of the publishing house which had published Vikram’s novel, dies and the needle of suspicion points towards Vikram who is on the run from the police.
In order to hide himself from the police, he lands up at Maya’s place. Maya (played by Sonakshi Sinha) runs for her life seeing the blood-dripping stranger at her place at midnight. The police chasing Vikram reaches Maya’s apartment and when Maya returns to her apartment with the police, she sees Vikram is standing near the body of her husband Shekhar. Vikram is accused of both the murders and taken into custody.
Officer Dev (played by Akshaye Khanna) takes up the investigation. And during the course of the investigation he finds that for the same set of events, both Vikram and Maya have different versions. Clearly one of them is the killer and is lying. Dev has to find out whom but it is a tough task for him as the needle of suspicion keeps swinging between Vikram and Maya until new facts emerge from the evidence and witness statements.
What remains to be seen is whether truth about the double murder emerges and whether the killer is apprehended or not. A nail biting and gripping thriller follows once Vikram is in police custody and interrogation starts.
The screenplay of the film is deliberately dull to reflect the darkness of the story it reveals. A man, Vikram, who is in love with his wife and accused of her murder makes desperate attempts to convince the police with his side of the story and doesn’t get enough time to grieve also, whereas a woman, Maya, who is portraying symptoms of domestic violence, acts as a victim and mourns for her dead husband but there are enough cracks and inconsistencies in her version.
And despite all this, Vikram is accused, in custody, tortured, as he is a man, while Maya is looked upon with sympathy and is treated as a witness, because she is a woman. These are the dark realities of our society which are aptly reflected by the deliberate dull screenplay.
The film is very realistic. Even though the first part, sans the beginning is slow as the story builds up, but the second part is where the film gets interesting because that’s when the truths begin to unravel and a completely different story emerges.
A lot of technical details have been taken care of and the credit for that should go to the director.
Of special mention is the overall callous behavior of Indian police. So, whether it is the constable Damle who dozes off on duty, or starts to prepare tea at the crime scene, or gulps the remnant beer from a glass to be submitted to the forensics for finger print profiling or the sub inspector of police who eats almonds to sharpen memory but forgets keys aspects of the case, the irresponsible behavior of the lower rung of the police has been beautifully depicted. They are the only light moments in this otherwise serious and intense movie with a gripping plot and nail-biting suspense.
Quite often, crime stories carry the risk of unstable balance between emotions and facts leading to the movies having multiple technical mistakes like the film Pink which was wrought with legal loopholes. This film does not belong to that category of sloppy film making and that’s what makes the experience enjoyable.
There are no songs in the film, not that one was required, and had it been there, it would have been totally out of place. I am thankful to Abhay Chopra, the director for that. He ensured the film remains tight to its plot and does not waver unnecessarily under the scourge of cinematic liberty and compulsion for melodrama.
The performances by all the lead actors are commendable and of special mention would be constable Damle who adds up light to the otherwise deliberate dull screenplay with his comical world view.
Akshaye Khanna, as the strict investigation officer once again tells us that the man makes the right choices for his characters, something which he can do justice to, while Siddharth shows us yet another flavor of the actor in him. Sonakshi Sinha is commendable as usual.
All in all, I would say, if you want to watch a good film this weekend, watch Ittefaq. It’s no Ittefaq that it’s a good movie. I am giving it 3.5 star in the hope that more and more filmmakers would take a cue and make such movies.
This review has been contributed by our Guest reviewer