Thar, directed by Raj Singh Chaudhary and starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and Fatima Sana Shaikh, offers nothing new to the cinematic world. The picturesque nature of the film is the only thing that distinguishes it. In the name of the western noir genre, it's more of a bad cop.
Last Updated: 11.07 AM, May 06, 2022
When murder and a stranger's sadistic torture plot shatter the walls of a tranquil desert hamlet, a seasoned cop (Anil Kapoor) sees an opportunity to prove himself.
According to the Taste of Cinema website, "noir western" is a genre in which hard-boiled, cynical cowboys battle their consciences as much as they combat outlaws amid the classic, rough environment of the Wild West. While reading these lines, Bollywood fans will immediately remember the dacoits' era, where it's horse-riding heroes and villains most of the time.
Thar is very much in that category and perfectly blends in those elements, but only as fillers in the basic storyline. We see a hot desert in Rajasthan, which is just a stone's throw away from the Pakistan border. It's something that is mentioned often in the film but just as information to the viewers. Everything is going well in the tranquil world, which gets disrupted after a city-born presence in the village.
Thar doesn't waste any time in establishing the fact that it's a revenge drama. Every five minutes, the gory sequences of battering are thrown in your face. Nope, I'm not going to disclose who's torturing whom and why. From the first frame, Raj Singh Chaudhary's film is filled with suspense and shocking sequences that can easily be called "spoilers".
Set in the 80s, the story keeps the out-of-the-map area intact and mysterious. The film starts with the brutal murder of a man and leaves him hanging on a tree. Although the murderer is not shown, we get an idea of the person's identity. Then suddenly, you see Rahul Singh as Hanif Khan just firing guns randomly for no reason.
Surekha Singh (Anil Kapoor) and Bhure (Satish Kaushik) are the local cops who are investigating the case. It seems like a golden chance for them to redeem their lost career while nearing retirement. The banter and the dialogue shared between them show the comfort they have had during their tenure as cops. Interestingly, Anil and Satish turn out to be the showstoppers of Thar with the way they easily ooze into their characters.
The major letdown in Thar is how they have shown brutality to humans, be it battering, or just cutting out body parts. It might make you squirm even if you have watched the Game of Thrones level gory sequences in life.
The film is headlined by Harshvardhan Kapoor, who enters this abandoned village called Munabao, claiming that he does the work of antique artefacts. However, that's the only information given out to the villagers, including the cops. This is also something that didn't go well with me-a village with a limited population and a "Pardesi" entering, but nobody caring to find out anything about him.
He reveals that his name is Siddharth, and that's one of the few words he speaks in the whole film. It seems like there's a hangover of 'look' from his previous outing, Spotlight from Netflix's Ray anthology. But I would say that it's a positive sign. The actor makes his motive pretty much clear without speaking a lot of words.
However, as the film progresses, it just seems to be a brutal film with a basic storyline. And it won't surprise you how much you can explore while placing the film in the 80s.
Thar, although being male-dominated, has given importance to women by showing their plight in a detailed manner. The moment Fatima Sana Shaikh as Chetna opens the door, we can figure out from her eyes what she desires. Soon, we get a little information about her life from the time her husband, Panna (Jitendra Joshi), enters the play.
Listing out the names of these actors gives a major hint that the film has done a perfect job in terms of casting. Along with the actors, even the outlandish world of Thar is captured beautifully by cinematographer Shreya Dev Dube. I can't call it a visual treat, but she understood the assignment perfectly, shot them well through her lens, and presented them in the most haunting way possible. But one aspect, which is captured fantastically by Dube, is the eyes of the actors in the moments where there is pin-drop silence.
The dialogues in the film are very limited and penned by Anurag Kashyap. As the film is set in the 80s, we have an idea that it might be set just a few years after Ramesh Sippy's Sholay created a huge wave across the country. Thus, the iconic dialogue that sets the trailer apart makes sense as well.
The film's casting of Anil Kapoor has done a stupendous job. Although he has been given most of the dialogues, we get to see the deep sorrow in his eyes. Especially the side profile in the scene where his son says he will become the DCP of the village and his dad has to take orders from him.
Another amazing performance is by Fatima Sana Shaikh, who takes charge of the scene she is a part of. As the film progresses, we realise she is not just a pretty face but has an important role to play in the man's world.
Harshvarrdhan, as mentioned earlier, who is also the producer of the film, puts out a decent performance in a minimalist way. Maybe that's what the plan was when he took up this unforgettable job.
Jitendra Joshi is too good in the film and the hardcore negativity induced in him leaps out when he makes an entry in the film.
Thar by Raj Singh Chaudhary has its moments and will be appreciated but only for its technical aspects, more or less.
Thar has nothing new to offer in the world of cinema. The only thing which sets the film apart is the scenic way it has been shot. It's more of a bad cop in the name of the western noir genre.