Films | Movie Reviews | Talaash – Film Review

Talaash – Film Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on November 30, 2012 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Farhan Akhtar, Aamir Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani
DIRECTOR – Reema Kagti
WRITER – Zoya Akhtar & Reema Kagti
CAST – Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor
MUSIC – Ram Sampath

Our romance and comedy obsessed Bollywood has little space for suspense thrillers. Worthy aside, they are rarely headlined by top stars. By that measure alone, Talaash comes with a certain amount of curiosity attached to it.

There are two movies in the film and several stories branching from them, all with the single theme of a search. However, it isn’t the usual self-conscious, cumbersome identity search. Inspector Surjan Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) is looking for the answer to a mysterious accident while struggling with a personal loss that refuses to let him be at peace. While he delves deeper into the mysteries of the case, he confronts more mysteries, ones that are more confounding. Ones that are offering an answer only if…

The curious thing about Talaash is that it is out-of-the-box and extremely traditional at the same time. At its centre is a hunt. The film opens with a classic mystery that the police are trying to sort out. Soon enough, a parallel track opens up making the case a sort of an allegory only to fuse again with it in the end when the suspense unfolds. This throws the mood of the film off the track, the film not drawing a cohesive line between its beginning and end.
Yet, so strong is the story-driven orientation of the film that it carries us through despite all its cinematic troughs (and heard-before music by Ram Sampath, thankfully not picturised as set pieces). After a solid, gripping and excellently sketched first half, the movie drags in the second, almost becoming like some other film altogether; the set-up of the first not serving it at all. The entire finale then cries out for a bigger suspension of disbelief than would have been otherwise required. If managed, it has all the potential of a satisfying experience.

Talaash perhaps is one of those rare Bollywood films that uses its characters and setting to serve the story. It is set in two backgrounds, a middle class one of the Inspector and the lower, fringe strata of crime lords and flesh trade. The film handles the apparent realism with attention but a sanitized hand, holding anything unseemly at a slight distance making it all seem staged. It also gives its leads un-manicured appearances to help the mood.

While these details somewhat help, it is the performances that bring the film alive. Aamir as the tense Inspector with a tormented soul plays his character with superb control, steering clear of the angry, frustrated police officer stereotype. He is not hiding his struggle, he is simply dealing with it the best he can and Aamir plays Shekhawat beautifully. Rani Mukherjee as his depressed wife carries her completely de-glamourised look with a delicious lack of self-consciousness and lets her eyes speak freely. Kareena Kapoor as the unattainable minx seems a bit of out of place with a very polished, upper class accent for a street girl. However, she makes up for it with her inherent charisma that helps bring out the enigma of her character.

Standing tall among the stars is Nawazudding Siddiqui, the man with that exceptional chameleon-like quality to get under your skin with the least effort.

Director and co-writer Reema Kagti carves an engaging and tight thriller that is a box of contradictions. It is well-written and stereotypical. Well-directed and unfinished. It mixes genres a little differently than the Bollywood norm without creating anything new. Despite all this, its strong story-telling spirit and unapologetic grasp over its narrative makes it a rare pleasure we could readily have more of.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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