John Biswas’ (Bachchan) life is torn apart when his young granddaughter Angela Roy is kidnapped. Though Martin (Nawazuddin), the police inspector who handled the case has quit; John refuses to do so. Eight years after her disappearance, a similar kidnapping puts the spotlight back on the case. John, Martin and a new Inspector Sarita Sarkar (Vidya Balan) begin their hunt for the criminal. What is intriguing is that the modus operandi seems to be similar to the Angela case.
Based on the Korean film, Montage, Te3n is a whodunnit that is simple in its intention but clever in its execution. The disappearance of an abducted child has turned two people’s lives upside down; one is that of John and the second is that of Martin (Nawaz, who is flawless as a policeman-turned-padri seeking atonement).
With dogged determination, John makes it his life’s mission to resolve his granddaughter’s abduction and murder. Nothing will stop him—not old age, an erratic scooter or his caregiver duties to his wheelchair-bound wife. Bachchan, who recently bagged the National Award for his role as the cantankerous elder in Piku, is superlative. Having mastered every mannerism of a senior citizen, whether it is the mouth-agape expression or looking over the rim of his spectacles, his nuances are spot on. And that isn’t the only aspect of the film that is right.
The plot starts with introducing the audience to the eight-year-old kidnapping case through a conversation between John and investigating officer Sarita (Vidya is dynamic). And its strength is that it never wavers from around its three principal characters – the granddad, cop and priest, each of who is involved with the case for reasons of their own. What is also impressive is that the mystery is kept alive right through. As the jigsaw puzzle falls into place, the protagonists’ feelings towards the situation and themselves falls perfectly into place, keeping the viewers pleasantly engaged with the plot and the people.
The film’s ability to maintain the suspense right till the end makes it a must-watch for those who like whodunnits. However, a better pace could have lifted this film a notch higher.