Ittefaq, a thriller, is directed by Abhay Chopra and stars Siddharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshaye Khanna and is produced by Shah Rukh Khan and karan Johar. Abhay, who is the grandson of the legendary BR Chopra, has remade his grandfather’s 1969 film of the same name which had been directed by another legend Yash Chopra. Obviously then, there will be comparisons. Let’s address that first. So this Ittefaq, though interesting in it’s own way does not match up to the earlier one and that is primarily because Siddharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha are unable to bring the same level of performance that Rajesh Khanna and Nanda did. But keeping in mind that not many of this generation would have seen the earlier film perhaps that will not matter quite so much. Also it is not exactly a remake but a different film with similar circumstances.
Ittefaq is an interesting juxtaposition of two versions of one truth from two people Vikram played by Siddharth and Maya, played by Sonakshi. Maya’s husband is killed and either of the two could be the killer except both their recitation of the events of that rainy night differ widely. Dev, the detective played by Akshaye Khanna, has to separate fact from fiction to arrive at the identity of the killer. The film takes us through both their stories and both seem plausible. So much so that when the final denouncement happens it is not just the killer that is surprising but also the how and why.
To that extent Ittefaq achieves its target. What spoils the fun is the pat way everything happens so that eventually you realize it is not quite coincidence, or ittefaq as it were, that makes things happen but careful planning.
Thrillers need edge of the seat moments to drive the film as also unexpected events. Ittefaq has neither. The director instead reveals the opposing narratives a bit at a time to build suspense. This doesn’t quite create the atmosphere a film like this should nor does it show much competence on the part of the police. And why neither party asks for a lawyer is baffling.
Siddharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha go through their parts without any great display of histrionics. Just as in the film it is left to the detective to make sense of the narrative, the acting stakes are also left to Akshaye Khanna who is a delight to watch.
Abhay Chopra has bitten off a lot by attempting to make a thriller for his first feature and his lack of nail biting or nerve wracking moments affects the films over all impact but yet it’s a good attempt. He has kept it short (108 mins) which helps too as does the fact that there are no songs.