A weary cop on the verge of retirement. A stranger in the moribund village.An array of mysterious grisly murders. A tale of revenge and redemption. This is how I would summarise Thar, directed by Raj Singh Choudhary and produced by Anil Kapoor and Harshvarrdhan Kapoor, that is set in 1985 in a remote village in the borders of Rajashthan that goes by the name Munabao.
Thar sees Anil Kapoor playing a police officer,Surekha Singh and investigating a spate of anonymous brutal killings and disappearances, along with his assistant played by Satish Kaushik. In his words, the tranquility of the barren lands is disrupted as if a whirlwind has swept through and baffled them.
While Sr. Kapoor grapples to solve the case , Jr. Kapoor makes a suspicious entry into the village.Apparently into the trading of antique pieces, he hires some men, one of whom is the abusive husband of Fathima Sana Shaikh
A clear influence of the Western Noir is seen in Raj Singh's gaze on the various elements that bind into the ethos of Thar. The quintessential expanse of the lands under the unforgiving scorching son, the sleepy village, the frail and limited inhabitants add to the visual imagery, meticulously lensed by DoP Shreya Deb Dube and Production designer Wasiq Khan.
But Chaudhary's treatment doesn't rise above the sum of its parts.I wish it had more intricacies and back stories.What Thar needed was a denser plot,but what we get is a potpourri of undercooked material stuffed into a 108 minutes packaging( shrewd editing by Aarti Bajaj),swarming expletives( dialogues penned by Anurag Kashyap) and hence a hurried culmination.At one point, the plot needlessly wanders off to a gun fight between the daring cop and bandits
Amidst the serene and savage, we get a sumptuous performance from Anil Kapoor. The seasoned actor imbues Surekha Singh with an unmistakable wordly-weariness and rugged charm. In one scene, we see him relishing Laal Maans along with Kaushik and throwing some advices towards the latter in a casual abandon. I wish I could relish Thar that wholesomely.
On the other hand, Harshvarrdhan is rather understated and recluse.He performs with a singular note of emotions and expressions. His Siddharth is a brooding portrait of a thick-skinned avenger.
Fathima doesn't get much scope here, and so is Mukti Mohan.The underrated Akshay Oberoi is wasted and we see him in just one scene.
Frankly, the line that divides revenge and relief emerging out of it requires a deeper nurturing and Thar doesn't quite meet that. It has its set of strengths but doesn't empower to be a remembered fare.