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TE3N - An official remake of a Korean thriller, it has its moments but the end result suffers as the director remains more interested in the lead act of AB than the mystery itself. (Review By Bobby Sing)
10 Jun, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / T

If a director gets three dependable veterans as Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan (in a guest role) to work with, chooses an exciting genre of a mystery crime thriller to make a film upon and has even got a well-made foreign original to follow (buying the official rights), then the chances are very rare that the project goes wrong and doesn’t turn out to be anything above average, missing that much required grip and pace.
However, the rare example is here in the form of TE3N, which is an official adaptation of Korean film MONTAGE (2013) revolving around two different kidnapping cases of kids happening at a gap of 8 years. Riding high on the emotional trauma felt by a weak, soft-spoken old man still looking for the clues post 8 years of the tragedy, TE3N is certainly rich in its visual looks and craft, but doesn’t turn out to be any fast paced engaging thriller with a director functioning more in the awe of his lead legendary star instead of the film itself.
In other words, since the captain of the ship, Ribhu Dasgupta mostly remains interested in the character of Amitabh Bachchan a lot more than the pace, suspense and shock value of his film (especially in the first half), TE3N eventually suffers a lot and is only able to give you some thrilling moments in the concluding hour alone becoming its major saviour.
Yes, apart from the terrific performance of AB, the film has an eye catching backdrop of Calcutta too shot well by the cinematographer Tushar Kanti, making you feel the charm of an old city (and life) with the use of cassettes, tape recorders, an obsolete scooter, fountain pen, trams, telephone booths and a lot more as a visually well-conceived project. But its not as gripping and engaging as a mystery thriller should be with a lazy and boring first half to be specific.
Thankfully the director does get back to those expected twists and surprises in the final hour of the film as the secret unfolds. But a mystery movie or a novel actually works when its first half grabs you from the collar and forces you to be attentive looking for the clues left in the narration with no loose moments as such. Sadly here the suspense element remains at the back seat right from the beginning (using the unwanted songs too) and many silly insertions further ruin the impact bringing in the predictability factor. As a result, even when the climax has some good surprises for the viewer revealing the actual culprit, the film isn’t able to make any solid impact and one doesn’t feel like having seen something exceptionally engaging from the team capable of doing a lot better.
Personally I got the clear indication of mediocrity coming ahead, the moment I got to see the unusual and ‘strictly not funny’ church sequence, where the father (Nawazuddin) starts reciting the verses of a funeral in front of a couple standing there to get married with a smile. And on being reminded of the offensive mistake he says, “Arey its just the same thing, but you will understand only after a while!” (Great indeed!)
Further it honestly got worst, when this father only turned out to be the investigating police officer of the kidnapped girl’s case 8 years back. Frankly I couldn’t get the thought process behind such strange insertion in the film serving no purpose at all (Its not there in the original). May be it was done just to paint an unrelated picture of a secular India by using the characters of a father in church and a Muslim in the graveyard helping the old man.
Anyway, the other most disturbing scene raising some strong doubts about the personal experience or vision of its director Ribhu Dasgupta was also right there in the first 15 minutes itself, when I got to hear a cassette in a tape recorder getting stuck on a particular phrase & repeating it on a loop like a record player (LP). Now having used the tape recorder for a good two decades of my life, I haven’t seen any machine doing this ever as there is no mechanism in a tape recorder that can make it happen logically.
Here for many viewers, this might be a very minor thing to be ignored without giving much importance. But when a director is considered to be a great creator by noticing all the minute things only used in the backdrop of his major scenes then we also cannot ignore such strange minor insertion that clearly indicates that the man actually doesn’t have the ‘real’ understanding of that gone era and the nostalgic machines to be honest.
Besides, revealing the weakest point of the film, it’s the voice of the kidnapper on the phone call that straight away gives away his identity even to a layman spoiling the entire suspense. In short, the voice was not at all distorted and could easily be recognized heard somewhere in the last few scenes itself quite weirdly.
Depending entirely on the major final twist instead of any interesting build up, TE3N also gets indulged in a lot of spoon feeding that is one feature our Hindi films are not able to get off with. Where cinematography adds a lot in its overall impact, the background score adds to the boredom in the first half and then begins creating the excitement post a good 50 minutes towards the intermission. Plus mentioning a production catch, I think Amitabh’s house shown in the film was the one used in the short film AHALAYA too made by the same team (that isn’t any flaw of course!). Musically I couldn’t find a song that could reach out to me in musical terms. So this is yet another example of a soundtrack having some fine lyrics but not the melody, Hindi film music fans keep waiting for.
In all, it’s just Amitabh Bachchan who single handedly lifts the film through his emotionally moving performance and nobody could have done it better expressing the love, pain, guilt and old age other than the blessed actor. AB is just terrific in his portrayal as required but I wish the director had given much more attention to the script and the missing pace in it moving ahead than his personal love and admiration for the living legend.
With the story progression taking its own long time to come to the much awaited twists, the other department where the film is not able to deliver the expected results are the performances of both Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan (surprisingly). Where Nawazuddin is just there offering nothing fresh, Vidya Balan looks like wasted in a deliberately created role doing nothing significant. However Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, the Bengali veteran does it well reminding me of his Feluda movies.
Summing up, as a shocking crime thriller TE3N does have an engaging second half giving you the content expected. But it’s the sluggishly visualized first half that pulls the film down quite severely. So you can surely give it a try, but don’t expect any fast paced, spell binding, stunning mystery thriller to be exact.
Rating : 2.5 / 5  (including an additional 0.5 just for the terrific AB)
(For the readers, who wish to know what TE3N precisely missed as an adaptation of its original Korean film MONTAGE in comparison?)
If you are really interested in this particular genre of crime mystery thrillers, then you will be both surprised and annoyed knowing an extremely important or the most crucial point completely ignored or shockingly missing in this Hindi adaptation.
(Spoilers Ahead – Please read it after watching the film as it reveals all)
A kidnapping-murder case of a young girl is 15 years old and the very first scene in MONTAGE shows the detectives visiting the mother of the girl (converted to the grandfather in TE3N) giving her an unexpected, disheartening news all of a sudden.
The disheartening news is that as per the law of the country an unsolved case has to be dropped after 15 years of its happening stopping any kind of official proceedings. So the detectives are here to inform that its all going to end in a couple of days and we will not be investigating any more following the set procedure. The lonely mother gets shocked and cries, “No, you cannot do that”.
That very night, the detective visits the place of accident (besides the river/sea) to pay his last personal homage to the dead girl and is shocked to find a flower nicely wrapped and placed at the very spot as if someone else was also there to pay his own respect. The detective at once calls the mother to ask whether it was her but gets the answer in negative. So that had to be the killer, also visiting the place for the last time with a flower, as the case was going to be closed in a day making him free forever.
In clear words, even the killer was waiting for this specific tenure of 15 years and the case getting over officially. But now finding the flower, it was evident that the wanted man was right there in front of everyone only to be found in the remaining time before its all over as per the country’s law.
Hence from here onwards the fight against the time begins, wherein the detective becomes desperate to find the culprit within the next 24 hours and the mother also gets hopeful beginning her own search for the same individually.
The time keeps on passing and despite getting close to their man, they are not able to find him in the given period. Suddenly, just a few hours before the official deadline, there is news of another kidnapping happening in the town exactly in the same manner as it was done 15 years back.
As a result, though the lawful limit of investigation is soon going to be over, the old case still cannot be closed as a new crime has been committed with the same modus operandi after 15 years.
And who has done the fresh kidnapping, it’s the mother herself as she did manage to find the real kidnapper within the short time but couldn’t find any solid proof to submit to the authorities. So skipping the idea of killing the man herself, she had to do something that the old case doesn’t get over in the next few hours making him free forever.
THAT PRECISELY is the rock solid base behind the well written Korean film MONTAGE, which goes entirely missing in TE3N for some unknown reasons, sadly resulting in a pretty average film.
As a matter of fact, TE3N also once again reveals our decades old style of film-making where the STAR is treated much more important than the script itself. And the point gets strongly proved in this particular case as where MONTAGE entirely progresses considering the detective as its lead character, TE3N always keeps it major focus on the old grandfather changing the entire perspective and the important center-point of the original mystery.
What a miss we have here unfortunately!
Cheers!

Tags : TE3N Movie Review by Bobby Sing, TE3N Film Review by Bobby Sing, Inspired from Korean origial, Korean films adapted in Hindi, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Inspired Films, World Cinema Inspired Films, Official Remakes of World Cinema films
10 Jun 2016 / Comment ( 2 )
Kumar

Hi, watched the dvd yesterday with family and was frankly disappointed. Yes, the pace is slow.
What is unbelievable is Amitabh being with the kidnapped child, and the child is happily playing with him. No talk to his mom, dad, etc. after the reunion.
Strange. The child sees his grandfather going to jail for his kidnapping and still keeps his mouth shut - inspite of the fact that the child was shown as very close to his grandfather. Too many loose ends.

Bobby Sing

Rightly pointed out Kumar, the film had too many loose points which were not actually there in the original.
Thanks a lot for sharing your views.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!

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