Talaash Movie Review

By Vinay

Spooky. Solemn. Super

First things first, Talaash is easily one of the better movies you will see this year. In the same breath, considering the reputation of the team behind the camera and the caliber of the one in the front, it should have been the best movie of the year, but slightly disappointingly, it is not. Though that takes nothing away from a terrific second outing as director of the very talented Reema Kagti (the vastly different Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. was her first movie). Talaash is riveting, grabs your attention from the very beginning and even with the meek sucker punch at the end, it still is brilliant for Bollywood. Those not exposed to firang cinema will enjoy it even more.
Talaash has many stories within the primary story which involves a cop, Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) attempting to solve the mystery behind a freak accident of a movie star. A parallel story involving Aamir and his wife Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) attempting to cope with the loss of their son in an accident is equally intense. Somewhere in between, talking always in a surreal manner-Rosy (Kareena Kapoor) plays a hooker who is mysteriously providing clues to Aamir and surprisingly providing him solace in his internal fight. The duality of every character is striking; Aamir is the tough cop in day and the weak tired man fighting himself at night. Rani is the depressed mother but is also aware that her husband suffers more and needs more help. Kareena is the hooker on the outside but speaks of great pain and debt on the inside. Nawazuddin Siddiqui (brilliant, again) as Tehmur is handicapped physically but as soon as you think of sympathizing, he shows his shrewd streak.
Credit must be given to the story writer duo (Reema Kagti and Zoya Akthar) as they manage to weave multiple threads together to create a brilliant first half. At the interval, you have no clue what is happening on screen and there are far too many unlinked questions but at the same time you have been thoroughly entertained. This is exactly what this genre of movies is supposed to do. It is the second half and especially the parts immediately post interval that sort of drag the movie down. The fact that any movie goer half his salt would figure out the climax does not help either.
But these are minor hiccups on an otherwise thrilling ride. The music by Ram Sampath (Delhy Belly chap) is sufficiently haunting, sometimes even giving the feeling of a horror movie rather than a thriller. The editing (Anand Subaya) is crisp keeping the film taut and the cinematography (Mohanan) is excellent capturing the dark underbelly of Mumbai.
More plaudits are due for the Director; this time for the attention to detail she manages to give to her characters. Do not miss the subtle disapproval by Aamir of kids dancing on Himesh’s songs, fitting perfectly well with his tough cop character or the leaf-less tree post the death sequence, many such moments of brilliance are littered throughout the movie. All in all, Reema Kagti has done enough to be considered among the talented crop of directors whose movies should be awaited eagerly.
For once the importance of good actors in lead roles cannot be stressed enough. Talaash would have suffered enormously had it not had the three star leads that can also act. Rani is understated and apt in her silent suffering role. Kareena is too good looking for a hooker but with garish costumes at her aid she manages to pull off the mystery girl part well, easily her best performance in recent times (I haven’t seen Heroine). Finally, my favourite actor ever since I was 5, Aamir Khan delivers his usual restrained pitch perfect performance. 3 years after 3 Idiots and possibly a year before Dhoom 3, you can see where Talaash fits in his repertoire of films. This is not the best Aamir movie ever, nor is his performance the most standout feature of the movie but that is where he is different from the other two Khans. Aamir, the star has consistently done movies that do not require him to be larger than life (DCH, RDB, TZP), the script is always the winner and in that sense Talaash does not deviate.
It tells a really good story with the help of a fantastic star cast and a very able director. Do not miss it, despite the flat climax.
Rating: 3.5/5, the first half is easily 4 on 5!
Dessert Note (DN, as desserts are served after main course, a dessert note is served after the main article):
For those of you wondering if Aamir has a moustache just because of peer pressure (Ajay Devgn in Singham, Salman Khan in Dabangg), well, it turns out that the perfectionist Khan was just emulating the real life tough cop Himanshu Roy, check out yourself here.