The new Ittefaq is certainly more sleek, coherent, in it’s storyline compared to the 1969 classic, After all, how does a suspected schizophrenic, an established murderer, allowed to roam with his own cigarette lighter. He is stripped of all possessions, is having jail like numbered clothes, even though he is technically in a mental hospital, declared dangerous and a criminal, is allowed to roam freely with an igniting instrument, a lighter, to add to the style quotient of the character, and later on that very illogical object is clinching evidence to determine the murderer.
So the new Ittefaq, has brains, and probably that is the only thing going for it. Comparisons to the classic are natural, but the suspense and drama in the old is one is more intense than the new one.
There is something about flashback that does not work in a suspense movie. Only a few films pull it off, like Memento, in the rest, flashbacks kill the building up of suspense. The 1969 movie uses a linear storytelling approach, which works for the film. When Rajesh Khanna is at Nanda’s house, the slow, gradual increase in drama, increases our investment in the film and create two central characters for us to focus, and the plot revolves around them.
In the new movie, the burden to carry the story falls on three characters, but none of them become as intense as the two from the classic. Coming to the central character, it was always going to be difficult going up against an in form Rajesh Khanna, at his prime. The performance in the 1969 classic is of an actor on his rise, and since major part of the film has he and Nanda, engaging back and forth, both characters get well established. In the 2017 one, Sonakshi Sinha is left in the lurch, plus having two versions of her, makes it difficult to identify with either one, and to add to it the intermittent flashbacks make the character graph drop the moment it rises.
Akshaye Khanna as the inspector is more prominent, than the inspector in the 1969 classic played by Iftekhar. There the Inspector’s analysis is more of an afterthought and here it is more proactive. The new film has it’s moments and they do come with Akshaye Khanna, whether they are the interrogation scenes, or interactions with fellow police, there are some noteworthy scenes
Highlight is the confusion that is caused between ‘interrogation’ and ‘interview’, and they way a family prepares, calling all relatives, getting all dressed up, as they think it is going to be an interview. Such scenes do give us some chuckles
So, which one is the winner, for me the 1969 classic. The story is filmy, illogical, but the suspense is real, and characters that stay with you rather than a ‘clever’ story.