I shall confess: I love suspense thrillers, murder mysteries, and all things noir. While Scandinavian fiction tops my list of guilty pleasures, I am loving the new surge in Bollywood suspense thrillers — from Kahaani to Drishyam to Ribhu Dasgupta’s latest production – Te3n starring Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan. While Bollywood seems to do better when making adaptations (Te3n is based on a Korean movie, Drishyam on a Malayalam movie), it is still an applause worthy effort according to me.
What do I like and dislike about Te3n the movie?
Atmosphere of Calcutta
Calcutta, oh, Calcutta. If any city has atmosphere, it is Calcutta. Crumbling, colonial Calcutta. Lazy, languid Kolkata. I love the city and the movie (with excellent cinematography) captures the city beautifully. The pace of the movie, which some have criticised as far too slow, complements the pace of the city. On the negative side, some of the scenes seem to have been far too inspired from Kahaani. Durga Pooja, the banks of the Hooghly, Mona Lisa guesthouse?
Acting of the Three Gods
I think the title of the movie is a tribute to the 3 stars of the movie: Amitabh is of a class of his own. With his slightly milky eyes, arthritic gait, and hunched body he captures a grandfather in despair perfectly. He makes you want to root for him, the underdog, and unknowingly positions the plight of India’s ageing population very well. Nawaz, again, adds a touch of humour to everything he does while keeping the pain and emotion intact (although I am a little bored of seeing him on screen these days). And after Kahaani, Vidya Balan has become synonymous with Calcutta. The remaining actors were all faultless.
While I love Nawaz, it seems like he’s in way too many movie nowadays. (He’s got 10 in various stages of production in 2016!) The trailer before and after the movie had him playing a psychopath in Raman Raghav 2.0. And then suddenly we seem him on screen playing a man of the church? It’s all too confusing.
Image credits: Reliance Entertainment
Plot & Editing
Perhaps I haven’t seen enough thrillers, but I couldn’t predict the ending of this story at all. Some critics have trashed the movie as being far too predictable (or confusing) but I was glued to it throughout — trying to figure out whodunnit?? The plot has some gaping holes (** Spoiler Alert **: The voice analysis done didn’t capture John’s voice the first time around? And if I was Manohar and I knew my grandkid had been kidnapped and was following the exact same pattern as 8 years ago, I would have gone to the police saying I know the motive (revenge) and John’s family is somehow related).
The editing was mostly tight, however, the movie was looong. I think we as an audience have gotten used to faster paced movies (One and half hours seems perfect, so at 2 hours 16 minutes, this movie really dragged.)
What’s in a name?
After the movie, I asked Mr T, why Te3n? He agreed it seemed like a strange name and a tribute to the 3 main stars: Amitabh, Vidya and Nawaz. However, from a story perspective it doesn’t seem that strong. Three people hunting for a killer? Not really — because they aren’t doing it in equal measure. Te3n as a tribute to Se7en? Well, Brad Pitt’s Se7en focused on the 7 deadly sins, so the name made sense. In this movie, the number 3 could have played a larger role in the script. Also, my guess is if they just called the movie Teen, it would get confused with teenager!
Overall Te3n Movie Review
I’d definitely say go watch Te3n once. It may not join the pantheon of Bollywood movies, but it is a decent way to spend your evening.