Ittefaq, starring Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshaye Khanna, is one of those films that has had us waiting for it with a bated breath. Not only was the trailer quite riveting, the whole mystery built around the film, with limited promotions and warnings against spoilers, helped create a frenzy. Needless to say, when the film released we were shuffling in our seats to know who the killer was. But does the film manage to sustain the suspense till the very end? Let's find out...
What’s it about
A classic murder mystery, Ittefaq has a gripping premise. The film opens with a car chase sequence. The cops are trying to nab an injured man, who looks like he’s running away from something he doesn’t want to own up to. Vikram Sethi (Sidharth Malhotra) is caught injured, his jacket covered in blood next to a dead body in the apartment of another woman Maya (Sonakshi Sinha). How did he land up there? The body next to him is of Maya’s husband. But wait, the plot isn’t linear. The twist comes when we are told that Vikram’s wife, Catherine, is also found dead in their apartment. Two separate deaths with a common thread of two suspects - Maya and Vikram. The Poirot in this Agatha Christie inspired tale is Inspector Dev (Akshaye Khanna), whose poker face will leave you baffled. The film is fast-paced and the narrative keeps you engaged throughout. Ittefaq is an effort that needs to be lauded for bringing back an forgotten genre that needs to be revisited often.
Director Abhay Chopra clearly has watched enough Fargo and True Detective to know that a murder mystery needs to look technically aesthetic, which is why the camera work is top class. Chopra sets up frames that take you right within the confines of where the action takes place - sometimes it is the living room of Maya’s apartment, or the four walls where Dev drags a solitary chair to interrogate Vikram. There is a lot of finesse in the way Ittefaq has been shot. Performance wise, Akshaye Khanna steals the show with his sheer presence. Not only does he look like the fittest cop to grace us since I can remember, but he’s cool in a Mathew McConaughey way. He oozes swag and makes every dialogue seem like he owns it. Underplaying the cop act with class, he never lets Dev become a caricature. Akshaye Khanna, we need you to do more films, don’t ‘cop’ out this time please! The supporting cast and every character - be it the subordinate cops, the watchman or even bystanders - are an intrinsic part of the plot. Sonakshi Sinha and Sidharth Malhotra have a crazy eerie dynamic throughout the film and it works in keeping the suspense alive. The fact that the film doesn’t have any songs is a blessing for the genre.
There is a lot of unnecessary side banter between cops that includes some toilet humour, which is jarring to the premise of the film. With all the hype surrounding the #NoSpoiler drama surrounding the film, the climax feels like the makers bailed out on us last minute. For a whodunnit, tying the loose ends of the plot or making it factually accurate is very important. Ittefaq does have a believable climax, but it feels like a last minute resort to give the film the expected twist and turn. With a premise like this, the end could have had an edgier wrap up. While the real action and pace picks up post interval, the first half is tedious and slow. Also except for Dev, why is every other cop and havaldar a dimwit ?
What to do
Ittefaq is gripping and promises a thrilling ride in a tight narrative and needs to be watched for its smooth execution. Also Akshaye Khanna’s cop act is perhaps one of the smoothest performances of 2017!
3 out of 5
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