The best thing about “Ittefaq” is its runtime of 107 minutes. Director Abhay Chopra seems to have realised what many in Bollywood haven’t – when it comes to thrillers and mysteries, it is best to keep it short. Bereft of item songs and irrelevant sub-plots, the film sticks to its main theme and comes out looking good.
Unlike the original 1969 film with the same title, Chopra adopts a Rashomon-like approach in his remake. Vikram Sethi (Siddharth Malhotra) is a renowned author whose wife is found dead in her hotel room. Under suspicion for murder, he goes on the run and lands up at Maya’s (Sonakshi Sinha) doorstep. Next, we find Maya’s husband lying dead in their tastefully done-up living room with a fatal wound on the head. She claims Vikram killed her husband, but Vikram tells police that the man was likely dead before he arrived.
Caught in the middle of these two versions is detective Dev (Akshaye Khanna). The wry and straight-talking policeman has to sift through the many clues and red herrings in his path, and he does so in style.
Khanna is undoubtedly the star of this film. He gets the best lines and delivers them with panache – trademark half-scowl and deadpan wit in place. Both Vikram and Maya are merely supporting characters who hinder Dev’s pursuit of the truth, and that is a good thing.
Malhotra and Sinha don’t have the acting chops to match Khanna, and seem happy to let him take center stage. Michal Luka’s cinematography is on point, painting Mumbai in apocalyptic, gloomy monsoon colours that go well with the tone of the film.
In his debut film, Chopra seems to have enough control of his craft to never drift too far away from the core; and even though the twist in the tale doesn’t entirely come as a surprise, “Ittefaq” still manages to keep you hooked enough to want to know what happens in the end.