Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Vidya Balan
Director: Ribhu Dasgupta
A grieving grandfather, a crumbling city and a sarcastic cop-turned-priest: Director Ribhu Dasgupta’s TE3N is the sum of this riveting combination, made more powerful by one of Amitabh Bachchan’s finest performances.
An eight-year-old girl is kidnapped and the police are clueless, because what looks like an ordinary crime turns out to be a meticulously planned abduction.
It leaves the child’s justice-seeking grandfather John Biswas (Bachchan) in lurch, but he won’t accept defeat without a fight. He begins to probe into the matter but a police officer Sarita (Vidya Balan) and a sarcastic pastor Martin Das (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) make his task easy.
Though Dasgupta takes the audience straight to the scene of the crime, he doesn’t offer see-through solutions. It becomes a speculation game where you compare your theories about the next scene.
John Biswas’ long face and hunched walk make an impression the moment he appears onscreen. Here’s a sad, strong-willed Kolkata guy who is polite yet firm in his approach. You can’t doubt his good manners, but there’s something which makes you wary of him.
It’s not the world of shining skyscrapers, but a city where the walls demand a coat of paint. Here the lights are dim and bylanes eerie and empty. People are helpful but clueless. And, on top of everything, you’re alone in your pursuit.
Based on the Korean thriller Montage, TE3N is like a Hitchcock film where you keep staring at the screen in anticipation of a new twist even though you have a vague idea about the end.
It’s edgy, gripping and dark, mostly because of the actors and partly due to the milieu. While Nawazuddin brings a strangeness to the table, Sabyasachi shows how to get noticed subtly. Amitabh is the cohesive force behind this thriller.
The director weaves a web of lies and psychological disorders, but he also attaches motives to his characters. Though his choice of background music surprises at times, he compensates with pace. His biggest success is the high degree of audience involvement in a 138-minute film.
TE3N catches you by the neck and keeps you engrossed till the end credits. Amitabh’s superlative form is just one of the incentives to watch it. TE3N has enough to make you like it.