Blurr review: Even the blind can see the fault lines in Taapsee Pannu’s maiden production

Inspired by the Spanish film Julia’s Eyes [2010], the Hindi remake lacks creative foresight.

Rating: 1.5 / 5

By Mayur Lookhar

Hindi cinema and its obsession with remakes. There we go again. Film industry will cite Drishyam 2’s [2022] success. So, it’s not that we are calling for any blanket ban on remakes. All we seek is worthy adaptations and no copies.

Actor and now producer Taapsee Pannu has looked outside to get the ball rolling for her production house – Outsiders Films. Naturally, the idea behind the name was to attract all kind of talents among outsiders. Maybe, outsider also implied to looking for stories ‘outside’ of India. Even as an actor, Taapsee’s recent films are all videsi inspirations – Looop Lapeta [2022], Do Baara [2022].   

Blurr [2022] is the official Hindi adaptation of Spanish film Julia’s Eyes [2010] that was produced by Guillermo del Toro. Interestingly, the Spanish film was remade into Marathi first as Adrushya [2022] that starred Manjari Fadnnis. We haven’t seen the original nor the Marathi remake. It begs the question why would you release a Hindi remake in the same year? Marathi cinema maybe niche, and Hindi is a larger market. Fair enough! But does Blurr [2022] capture your imagination?

The Hindi film travels from Delhi to cold Uttarakhand. The dark grey/blue hue is apt for a mystery thriller. Gayatri [Taapsee Pannu] gets a dreaded vision of her twin sister Gautami. The Delhi girl rushes to Uttarakhand, where she is stunned to find her blind sister dead. The local cop Chandel [Sumit Nijhawan], even Gayatri’s husband Neel [Gulshan Devaiah] are totally convinced that the blind Gautami committed suicide. The alacrity at which the cop and Neel jump to conclusion naturally raises suspicion about them. But they aren’t alone as every person Gayatri encounters in the vicinity behave very oddly. There are couple of eerie neighbors, including the lonely Radha Solanki [Krutika Desai], then later a plush hotel manager, its receptionist/concierge, local eye surgeon. None of them strike you as stable characters .

Co-written by director Ajay Bahl and Pawan Soni, the Hindi film appears a copy of the original. The thoroughly explained plot of the original online reveals it all. Jeez, Bollywood has got to ensure that the original film is temporarily unavailable in India in any form – text or visual.

Though we haven’t seen Julia’s Eyes, but the fault lines are clearly visible in Blurr [2022]. Our chief grouse against the film is the utter disregard for eye care. The vision issues and the cure are presented like they are straight out of a Manmohan Desai masala film. Not that this reviewer is a stickler for realism, but we say this from personal experience. Fathom this, in the climax, the antagonist injects a fully conscious Gayatri in the eye, without any anesthetic drop. There’s barely any reflex reaction or scream. Worse, moments later, there is no swelling, redness as Gayatri goes about her defenses casually. Eye hospitals will scoff at the misrepresentation, particularly the maker’s no insight into eye donation, surgeries, and post-surgery care.

It’s not the science though, but the art that is lacking in Blurr. The messy screenplay becomes insufferable due to the uninspiring acts. For a lady who has lost her sister, there’s hardly any grieving from Gayatri. The desperation to unravel the truth, results in a hasty show by Pannu, who is way off the mark here.  His character evokes suspicion, but Devaiah disappoints you more.

The sole saving grace here is the antagonist who we can’t reveal.  The back story, motif give an idea into his/her psyche. The actions though call for serious scrutiny and also exposing the lack of total foresight from investigating cops and one key professional. We feared a larger nexus, which would still have made sense, but the lone wolf acts raise serious questions on medical/police inefficiency, accountability.

The worse of the lot is the insensitive representation of women in a school for the blind. Gayatri goes unnoticed while eavesdropping during their conversation. Few moments later, a cocky blind lady sniffs the external presence. She sniffs Gayatri like an animal. A minute later, she scents the presence of a man few meters away.  If the sense of smell is so strong, then why couldn’t the lady sniff Gayatri easily?

The grey/blue hue, cinematography, and the deathly background score are fine, but the timid story, screenplay and the uninspiring acts break the deal for Blurr. Even a blind person can see the fault lines.

Blurr [2022] will be streaming on Zee5 from 9 December.


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