4 Nov 2017

Ittefaq: Sluggish, Half-Convincing Thriller

A bestselling writer Vikram Sethi (Sidharth Malhotra) is on the run for allegedly killing his wife. During the chase, his car overturns. Despite injuries, he manages to make a run to a flat, where he encounters Maya (Sonakshi Sinha). As the film begins we catch Vikram standing over a dead man at the house, Maya's husband.

The investigating cop Dev (Akshaye Khanna) is given three days to solve the case by his senior. Why? As Sethi is an NRI and UK citizen with connections, that is the time they have to keep him under custody. Soon Dev is embroiled in two versions of what happened on the night of the double murder. Vikram and Maya convincingly utter varied narratives to how the night unfolded. Who is telling the truth?

No Shred of Dread     
The refreshing thing about Ittefaq, it is not a lazy remake. This is a whole new premise, apart from retaining certain elements of the impressive, if flawed in bits, original Rajesh Khanna starer, Yash Chopra directorial Ittefaq (1969). New characters, new situations, and a whole new ending.

The itch here is the slow pace, the sheer lack of tension and texture for most of its running time. The first half feels stretched and rooted in unnecessary repetition. Somewhere in the final ten minutes, when a white car makes a speedy u-turn, the film fleetingly comes alive. Otherwise, there is no shred of dread or any touch of 'what will happen next' here.

Vikram is not an engrossing, intense character as Rajesh Khanna's mad, unpredictable, danger-oozing fugitive. He seems victimized and straight.That Sinha is off-note as the allegedly devious Maya doesn't help too. It is Akshaye Khanna as Dev who keeps us invested. Here is a character where a lot is intangible and seething beneath the supposedly calm surface.

Final Take   
Though the apt, late climax is part-impressive and decent, it is not watertight. Overall, Ittefaq has its moments, is good in bits and manages to end on a surprising note. It's not a top-notch thriller, but worth a watch.    

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