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Thar - Baati churma Western

Thar, the new release on Netflix this week starring Anil Kapoor as a grizzled cop and his son Harshvardhan Kapoor as the stranger in town a la Westerns, has got to be one of the most gruesome and gory Hindi movies made. Set in the badlands of Rajasthan in 1985 with dacoits and opium smugglers thrown in, it has some of the most gratuitously violent and bloody torture scenes shot in brutal closeups I have seen. I am not a fan of the Hollywood slasher gore genre personified by films like the Saw and Hostel franchises and confess to never having seen those and don’t ever intend to, but know of them by reputation and am quite certain this movie could give them a run for the money. Mercifully at a runtime of 1hr 45 mins, time was not added as an additional dimension of torture for the viewer. Satish Kaushik, who is Anil Kapoor’s real life buddy for decades, adds some wry levity to the proceedings as Anil’s cop sidekick. Fatima Sana Shaikh and Mukti Mohan are the gender diversity quota. Anil does a good job of playing the smart but weary, close to retirement inspector who is aware of his shortcomings. Unfortunately his apple does fall far from the tree. Harshavardhan who was relatively ok in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018) plays the avenger strictly one note. The body count keeps rising so much by the end that I thought the title Thar didn’t refer to the desert but to the Marathi word for dead.

May 6, 2022

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