Te3n: A good old-fashioned mystery

Taking own sweet time:The film is slow and relaxed instead of a quick-paced, edge-of-the-seat thriller.  

In these days of edgy crime thrillers, Te3n takes us back to the old fashioned detective, the kind we encountered in a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot story, or in the German TV series Der Alte ( The Old Fox).

Amitabh Bachchan is John Biswas, a seeker of truth who rides a ramshackle scooter, has a penchant for cooking, fixing fans and spark plugs. Old, laidback, tenacious, eccentric — though not as much as a Poirot — he turns to sleuthing not as a profession but in the wake of a personal tragedy that struck him eight years ago. He is seeking justice rather than revenge.

Ribhu Dassgupta’s Te3n, based on the 2013 South Korean film Montage is slow and relaxed instead of a quick-paced, edge-of-the-seat thriller. The kind that will keep the viewers engaged depending on their age, levels of patience and interest in easy-going mystery thriller.

The pace of Te3n also derives from the world it inhabits: the moody Kolkata of Kahaani, of the Durga visarjan, and the haggling over fish prices. Unhurried, but with lots happening beneath the surface, glorious yet decrepit.

Genre: Crime thriller
Director: Ribhu Dasgupta
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty
Runtime: 136 minutes

Though dominated by the towering Big B there are other interesting characters on the side. Martin (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a cop coming to terms with his own guilt in a kidnapping gone wrong by becoming a priest, though not quite as successfully. And a woman cop Sarita (Vidya Balan), who shares a curious, undefined relationship with him. The three characters are thrown into events together, even as they follow their own leads, to solve an eight-year-old kidnapping mystery when a new one, mimicking the old comes calling. One would have liked to see more of the two cops, their relationships and interactions. The same goes for the banter and bond between the old man and the cop-turned-priest.

The situation is interesting but the process of investigation, the clues, their piecing together doesn’t set one’s grey cells working. You never quite sit up and wonder what next. The parallel investigations around which the film's narrative is built, the moving back and forth in time confuses instead of adding to the viewers’ involvement.

The climax gets disappointing with its predictable, explanatory touch. As a viewer, I like coming out of a mystery with questions on my mind rather than neat resolutions of all the loose ends.

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Printable version | Jan 7, 2021 11:38:41 PM |

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