Nupur Talwar, thus far formally designated the prime suspects within the homicide of their daughter Aarushi. The director of the movie,
Meghna Gulzar, is much extra restrained, calling herself solely “a small hyperlink in that chain”. She does not go as far as to say that the movie influenced the decision, however simply that she believes “they (the judges) additionally appeared on the details and the info that we noticed, and in addition noticed that it wasn’t including up”. The place each she and Vishal are on frequent floor, in a chat with one another and with DT, is that there’s lastly no holding again in emotionally reacting to, and feeling validated for, a film that they tried so onerous to be clinically distanced from whereas it was being made. Produced by Vineet Jain and Vishal Bhardwaj, the Junglee Photos’ enterprise aggressively challenged the favored narrative in regards to the case when it got here out, and at the moment, when the additional judicial interpretation of details has adopted in the identical path, Vishal and Meghna rewind and clarify that the “slant” wasn’t of their minds, however within the information and proof.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar
have been acquitted by the Allahabad Excessive Courtroom on Thursday
Meghna, earlier than the movie’s launch, we had mentioned the way you had appropriated this subject, that sooner or later something associated to the case would contain you as an authority on it. You talked about that it had occurred after Filhaal with the topic of surrogacy. Is identical set to occur now?
Meghna: Properly, all of that occurred at the moment. I used to be simply joking to somebody that the quantity of calls and messages I have been inundated with, it is virtually like I argued the case. Which isn’t the case. However I am glad for it.
Not as a result of I get all of the calls or I get my title splashed throughout all platforms. However due to the rationale I am getting the calls, as a result of they have been acquitted.
You’ve got develop into the ambassador for the trigger mainly, have not you?
Meghna: I’d name myself a small hyperlink in that chain.
Is it politically or legally incorrect to ask whether a movie influences the way the judiciary or other people see a case?
Meghna: When we released, we were saying that we are safe in showing what we’re saying because we believe that the judiciary does not get influenced. It’s their job not to get influenced. And therefore we can go out and put out that other perspective, purely for the knowledge of the public. Because we are making a film out of a story from the society, for that society. And it’s the judiciary’s job to keep their blinkers on and not get affected by the film. I don’t think that’s what’s happened here either, I don’t think they’ve gotten affected by the film. I think they have also looked at the facts and the data that we saw. We looked at it objectively, it was laid out in front of us, and we were like, okay this is not adding up- which is what we were doing in the movie. And I think that’s what they have done as well.
You had recalled how an audience member said, ‘Character is not connected to crime, evidence is.’ Anything to add to that today?
Meghna: So even then, in 2015, I was saying this, that all the stories that came out in that press conference (by the
Noida Police), most of them dropped and didn’t make it to even the Sessions Court trial, because they were completely baseless. But it lingers in public memory, the way those things were played up, I think everyone will remember that story about the 12 hotel rooms being booked, the wife-swapping story; I remember the incest story. So it’s difficult to erase that from public memory. Which is why I say, yes, there is a vindication and there is a victory, but there is also a vacuum. Because the damage is irreparable. Aarushi’s not coming back. Their nine years or 10 years since this happened are not coming back. And that will still rest on us, as a society. But at least now they get to grieve, which they haven’t got to do all these years. I’m hoping they find closure.
You had said the film highlights the grey areas that exist and you’re hoping the public and the decision-makers pick those up. Do you think the film had a hand in changing the public perception of the case, the dominant narrative at the time?
: Public perception, I think yes, definitely. Because even when we were making the film, and when it was coming out, we were still being thrown questions by the media ki ‘humko toh sab kuch pata hai, aap humein naya kya dikha rahe hain?’ So you were still met with those blocks, that ‘we know everything’. There has definitely been an attitudinal shift after having watched the movie – an attitudinal shift in the belief in the innocence of the Talwars. That much we can say that the film has accomplished, yes.
But as late as last year, I was still being questioned, ‘you really think they’re innocent? Because your film seems to say so. But we know differently, we have friends in the police in Delhi’. So it’s not like we just swept away the public and won everybody over. Woh nahi hua.
DT’s interview with Meghna Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj from 2015
Some people are still saying, ‘arey parents ne hi mara hai. Acquit ho gaye, but I know’…
Meghna: Exactly. The stories that came out at that time, when it first broke, and the way the media went to town with the stories on the family, and just lapped up everything that the police was giving them, I don’t think that will ever get erased from public memory.
The girl’s character was being decoded from her post mortem…
Meghna: Even today, there is a clear difference in tone of the people who were writing against the parents, and those who were writing for them, in their calls to me. That has not changed. They know they have to cover it because it’s very big news, but do they agree with it? No.
Vishal, what calls have you been getting?
Vishal: Bahut phone aa rahe hain. Main feedback yehi aa raha hai that it has never happened in the history of cinema, where a film could change the opinion of everyone. This is the feeling I’m getting from everyone. However, you feel a little frustrated also, that the Talwars lost nine years. How is that going to come back? Baaki toh verdict se ek baat zaroor tay hoti hai ki film ka bahut deep hai penetration, agar honestly kahein… Now, we are looking forward to meet the family. Whenever I am next in Delhi, I’m going to meet them.
Meghna: Yeh plan zaroor banana hai, aur maine bhi aana hai.
You have met them face to face earlier?
Meghna: Yes, in jail. After the film’s shoot, though. We didn’t want to colour ourselves before that.
So after the film, when you met them, did the impression you got of them validate your story, or did you have any doubts after talking to them that maybe these people…
Meghna: No, it validated it. Not only me, the jail superintendent used to call them ‘doctor saab’. And he himself believes that he couldn’t have done what is being said. Bada aadar aur samman milta tha dono ko wahan pe.
Vishal: But at the same time, we were also treating it clinically, because we didn’t want to colour ourselves, by taking a vibe personally. We wanted to put facts on screen. So we didn’t want to take an emotional impact or vibe. We were clinical, we tried to be very neutral. People thought that the film had bias, that we want to show the parents as innocent. Woh intention thi hi nahi. Intention thi ki jo sach hai hum woh rakh rahe thay.
Meghna: Haan, because agar aap woh data ya facts dekhne jaayein toh anyway they used to slant in a particular direction, when you laid it out all together. Toh woh hamara bias lagta tha, but it was actually everything that we had put together, woh apne aap hi ek taraf jhukta tha sara.
Poster of the movie ‘Talvar’ based on Aarushi murder case
Given your repeated assertions that you were clinical, distanced, neutral, while filming, is your validation today intellectual or emotional?
Vishal: Emotional in the sense ki jab humne facts ko dekha, toh of course jo aaj court ko laga hai, humein bhi wohi laga tha. Par humein usse emotional distance rakhna zaroori tha. So intellectually we had to bring it like the way it is.
Meghna: My reasons for making this film were totally intellectual, because there was no space for emotions at that time. The emotional fulfilment was after the film released. But now we’ve reached a point where khul ke we can become emotional about it, there’s no holding back now. Hum sab, I think, apni alag alag jagahon par roye hain thoda sa.
Vishal: Ek badi kamal ki andar ki feeling hai, you’re feeling so emotionally liberated today. Ki hum kahin, kisi tareeke se, kisi ke kaam aa sake.
Meghna: I was often asked, ‘it’s a successful film, it’s done well, when are you going to stop hesitating and celebrate it?’ And I used to say, ‘when it serves a higher purpose’, because woh nahi hua tha uss waqt. So maine aaj kaha, I will celebrate the success of ‘Talvar’ today. That is my feeling right now.
–With inputs from Aarushi.Nigam@timesgroup.com