Monday, August 22, 2016

Te3n (2016) - Bollywood's finest thriller of 2016, so far

Teen, stylized as Te3n, and in the English language, Three, is perhaps the finest Bollywood thriller of 2016, so far.

The Plot: Based on the 2013 South Korean film Montage, it depicts the pain and struggle a grandfather (Amitabh Bachhan) must go through to find out what happened to his daughter, in a kidnapping event set eight years prior to the current events.

The Good and The Bad: The cinematography is the foremost aspect of this feature. I really loved the lighting applied to both the present-timed shots and those of the flashbacks. I thought the bluish tone of the flashbacks were brilliant and really added depth to the narrative.

The narrative is finely penned. But it's relevant from the first half onwards that it took three screenwriters to scribe the script. This is because even though the plot is carried  cleverly through dialogues by our main character John and his interaction with detective-turned-priest Martin (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), there are times at which the present timeline becomes boring and the past footage is more fun to view.

Acting is the second-best feature of this flick. Amitabh Bachhan steals the show with an Oscar-worthy performance. The irony is that despite us having Siddiqui and Vidya Balan, performers of such high caliber, they are overshadowed by Mr. Bachhan's superior talent.

But don't let that be a blemish on the characterization implemented by the writing team. Every individual in the movie has their own allotted time in the spotlight, and both Siddiqui and Balan are given personas which they effortlessly make their own. Siddiqui is charismatic and I liked how it's shown why he gave up/got fired being a cop and transitioned to becoming a priest. And Balan, who has already cemented her position in B-Town as one of its greatest actresses, is equally impressive as Siddiqui in this exhibition.

Furthermore, from the onset to the ending, Mr. Bachhan not only showed his versatility from being a classic Bollywood heartthrob, to a 70-year old grandfather (and yes, he's 73 in real life), but he made Te3n the epitome of a character-driven shocker. This proves that Bollywood like Hollywood, that still relies on oldies like Samuel L. Jackson and Clint Eastwood to provide quality entertainment, also gives space to its legends to prove they have no limit to their on-screen showmanship.

Te3n is stronger after its interval of one hour and a few minutes has passed. It takes about 30-40 minutes to actually build up tension. I understand that it's an emotional thriller, but it the start should've been better with a swifter pace.  

Pacing is the greatest upset of Te3n. Only after the interval does everything (the writing, direction and acting) create such a colossal impact for the viewer,  that it came out as an explosion of cinematic genius. That's why I commend the superb direction by Ribhu Dasgupta and hope that he makes more films with such finesse.

The Verdict: If you're more into higher budgeted ventures, then Te3n might not be for you, but if you want compelling storytelling with an extremely gratifying ending, then this movie is certainly a must-watch, especially for the enthusiasts of dramatic suspense.

Rating: 3 out of 4. 

If you enjoy thrillers, please do check out Masoom Thrillers #1:


A collection of five short-stories guaranteed to chill your spine. Henna tells the tale of an ancient ritual gone wrong. Witness Protection deals with an FBI agent visiting a creepy village. Ghosts of Iraq is about four US soldiers haunted by a ghost in Iraq. Red Carpet is about two teenagers who discover something sinister at a high-end nightclub.

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