Rajeev Masand’s Review of Ittefaq

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha, Akshaye Khanna

Director: Abhay Chopra

Watching Ittefaq, you’re instantly reminded just how good an actor Akshaye Khanna is. He plays an inscrutable police officer investigating a complex double murder, and although the film isn’t perfect, Khanna remains dependably brilliant.

His character Dev Verma is the film’s most interesting figure, easily the smartest one in the room. Khanna plays him with furrowed brow and urgent gait, and the film’s writers give him some of the best lines. But more on him later.

First-time director Abhay Chopra borrows the film’s title and a few broad ideas from Yash Chopra’s claustrophobic 1969 thriller starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda, which unfolded over a single night and largely in one location. But the new film is its own thing. This is a whodunit with two suspects and various possibilities.

Sidharth Malhotra plays Vikram Sethi, a bestselling author who’s on the run after being accused of killing his wife. He ends up at the home of Maya (Sonakshi Sinha), and the same night her husband is also killed. Dev is brought in to get to the bottom of things and to dig for the truth from their vastly different versions of what went on in that flat that night.

It’s an interesting premise but the script lacks urgency and the makers fail to build enough tension. As the story unravels, the chinks in the writing become apparent, and multiple coincidences pile up. Sidharth is sincere and conveys vulnerability when he’s pleading innocence or embracing defeat. Sonakshi, however, is strictly one-note, and makes it hard for you to care for Maya because the writers give her so little to work with, and because she invests so little in her.

Well, good thing there’s also Akshaye Khanna. Whether it’s chiding junior officers for making tea at a crime scene, or throwing a look that instantly straightens out a colleague who’s got carried away by a witness’ hospitality, his Dev is the film’s most fully realized character, and one of those rare movie cops that feels authentic.

Ittefaq is crisp at 107 minutes, but not particularly brisk. It’s well shot and skillfully executed, but the big climatic twist is entirely unconvincing. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

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  1. Sumit mitra

    November 5, 2017 at 8:27 am

    I think the movie deserves more than 2.5 stars as it does leave us wanting for more towards the end , when the case gets cracked and one of the accused is exonerated ( Don't want to spoil the fun for people who haven't seen it !!) ..Plot is convoluted and the throwback scenes as explained by each of the accused  , does get overlapping and leaves one bamboozled , but neverthless keeps us hooked to our seats. ( Something which thrillers are supposed to do !!) Every movie can have its relative improvisations once made & this is especially more applicable to thriller genere.  The intrigue and the enigma surrounding the movie continues throughout & even though one is able to guess who did it , one still wants to see the sequence of events or what  actually transpired and that's what keeps one glued till the very end . Each  character is deligent in their potryal , and each of the suspects  redefine the emotion " innocence"  in their own individualistic characteristic style , making it  believable every time its narrated by them.  The movie will win more accolades solely on the basis of its power packed script and some cheesy one liners by Akshay Khanna ( Who gives a commendable performance of the perfect inscrutable cop torn between two parallel narratives ) but if more star value was added by virtue of having an SRK or Akshay Kumar , it could have got the cash rigesters ringing faster , though eventually the movie is expected to do a good business… A Must watch for all bollywood buffs , but also for the viewers who watches English movies , as the speedy , pacy thriller is at par with A listed top of the line Hollywood noirs…

  2. Anindya Basu

    November 6, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I watched the film too. And I disagree with the author on Sidharth Malhotra's portrayal of Vikram Sethi. I felt Sidharth's acting was not convincing enough. But I agree with Mr. Masand that the script lacked urgency and sense. I felt that since Sidharth's character tried to flee twice he should have been the prime suspect which he was shown to be but still got released only to be realized later that it was a mistake. That was a genuine writing flaw. Anyone else would have taken care of this fact. But thanks still for treating us with a film that was not that bad anyway.

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