Thar (Netflix) review: Aesthetic, intriguing but held back by the narrative

Thar is a dark western-style thriller set in the village of Munabao, Rajasthan, revolving around a series of murders and the police officer Surekha’s attempt to solve the case. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

In 1985, a man in the village of Munabao, Rajasthan, gets brutally murdered. Inspector Surekha (Anil Kapoor), investigates the case and is suspecting the local dacoits.

Siddharth (Harshvarrdhan Kapoor) is a businessman from Delhi looking to hire educated locals from the village.

As the investigation moves forward, more individuals start to go missing. There’s also a mystery surrounding Siddharth.

Who is the killer? And will Surekha be able to solve the case?

Performances

It’s no surprise that Anil Kapoor, with all his experience, can easily blend into any character at this point.

Surekha is a disgruntled cop who wants to prove himself in the twilight of his career to give a response to younger cops who talk down on him. Kapoor is at the centre of the narrative and one of the standout performers.

His son, Harshvarrdhan, also excels as the brooding man looking for hires from the village. Or is he really? There is an enigmatic aura around the character perfectly captured by Harshvarrdhan.

Another excellent performer is Fatima Sana Shaikh as Chetna, a troubled wife silently unhappy with her marriage.

Satish Kaushik as Bhure, Jitendra Joshi as Panna and Mukti Mohan as Gauri all impress but do not have nearly enough screen time as the others.

Positives

The desert as the setting gives a rather unique approach to the film, making it feel like the western genre usually seen in Hollywood.

The dark tone and the intensity work ideally along with the whole thriller atmosphere and make you feel that the stakes are high.

This allows for spectacular visuals throughout. Thar is extremely well-shot, with fascinating scenes of the desert landscape and its flora and fauna.

Right from the start, director Raj Singh Arora makes sure that the intrigue builds up. The suspense of finding out the killer as well as the motive keeps you hooked.

The pacing of the film, although slow a few occasions, is overall well-structured. The runtime of approximately one hour and fifty minutes is suitable for the narrative.

Negatives

Despite all its pros, the biggest con of Thar is when the killer’s motive is finally revealed. It’s nothing extraordinary and does not make you surprised one bit.

This is a narrative most avid film viewers have seen over and over again. With such a unique setting, the potential for the film was humungous and it really should have done better than the run-of-the mill story.

Some of the characters, such as Bhure, are wasted and could have received better treatment.

Verdict

Thar should definitely be watched for the praiseworthy visuals and the unique setting, and not for the narrative. However, make sure you’re not daunted by gory scenes before you start this one.

Rating: 3/5


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