Star cast: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Yadav, Shernaz Patel.
What’s Good: The nuanced performances; the enticing cinematography; the direction and music.
What’s Bad: The pace; the slightly disappointing ending.
Loo Break: None.
Watch or Not?: Let the thrill and mystery sink in. Watch it for a different kind of film with much more than good acting, music and the thrill.
There’s a lot of searching in Talaash; Aamir’s quest to solve a murder, Rani gropes for closure, Nawazuddin tries to find a way out of his hellish life.
When a famous actor dies in a mysterious accident, police officer Surjan Singh Shekhawat aka Suri (Aamir Khan) mixes up his personal and professional worlds. His search for answers takes him to seedy whorehouses and a milieu of pigheadedly uncooperative to dangerously seductive characters.
He has a street-smart junior, Devrath (Raj Kumar Yadav) who helps him in the investigation, a deliciously inviting hooker, Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), who drops mysterious hints about the case and talks in riddles, and a tricky Temur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who’s playing his own games. While he tries to connect the dots of the murder, blackmail and the lies, he and wife Roshni (Rani Mukerji) are barely able to come to terms with the death of their son. Old hands in the police department try and persuade Suri to drop the case, claiming it to be one of the unexplained “A Final” ones.
Blaming himself for his son’s death, Suri spends his nights wide awake, driving through desolate streets and seeking answers, leaving Roshni alone to grapple with her pain. So when a neighbour (Shernaz Patel) claims to talk to her dead son’s spirit, Roshni does not need much convincing to seek her help.
Was the actor’s death an accident or murder? Is there something that connects Suri’s son’s death and the actor? Does Temur help the investigation, botch it or start his own games altogether? And what role does Rosy really play in all of this?
The answers aren’t all purely deductive, but veer to the supernatural as well.
Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar’s second collaboration sees a lot more intricacy in terms of the story, depth, characters. The story has been woven very well to display the dangerous dance of how Suri’s real, imagined and perceived worlds intermingle. Their skill in creating an eerie heaviness throughout the film is very good. The dialogues by Farhan Akhtar are good. One flaw seems to be in Rosy’s character. She seems too classy with her dresses, bags and stilettos, to be an ordinary hooker that she’s shown to be.
The film takes its own time, ambling through the dingy, claustrophobic corners of Kamatipura. While this really accentuates the mystery and thrill, it can get tiring to some. They deserve another pat for bringing out the emptiness surrounding Roshni and Suri without too much of the waterworks. Even though the ending explains the mystery, it’s not entirely satisfying.
Talaash Review: Star Performances
Perfectionist or not, Aamir Khan does an excellent job of the troubled cop-father Suri. He really brings out a father’s pain – the helplessness, playing over what he could have done differently over and over in his head, the inability to comprehend why and come to terms with it. It’s difficult to look beautiful and as pained Rani Mukerji who does a marvelous job as Roshni. And she’s not doing it by bravely wiping away her tears with her pallu; it’s her expressions and the silence that do all the talking. Kareena Kapoor manages to hold Rosy’s mysterious aura quite well. One scene – when she tells Suri about her missing friend – particularly stands out for just how perfectly she allows only a sliver of sorrow to show on her face.
How Nawazuddin Siddiqui manages to pull of slime bag and adorable Temur in one role is anyone’s guess, but this man makes you giddy with his facets. Raj Kumar Yadav does well as Devrath. The other actors lend very good support.
Talaash Review: Direction, Music & Editing
Reema Kagti keeps a consistent direction throughout the film, giving the viewer everything to concoct the answer to the mystery in their own heads. The ending might be a letdown for viewers for the unconventional way she chooses to answer questions, but it has been done well. KU Mohanan’s cinematography is wonderful. He lends a dreamy look throughout the film with the colours, focus and the weirdest locales. Ram Sampath does an amazing job with the perfect mix of titillating and mysterious with jazz, electronica and classical fusion. Javed Akhtar lends good lyrics.
The sets deserve a special mention because they are so brilliant, with even the infamous cages of Kamathipura.
Talaash Review: The Last Word
For those patient through sit and allow the movie to take over, Talaash offers a lot with the mystery, Aamir and Rani’s performances, and enticing cinematography. But others might be put off by the unconventional story might not satisfy all.