As an Aamir Khan starrer, Talaash got the automatic branding of a unique experience. But in his quest to do something different, Khan seems to have stumbled this time as the plot gets lost in its own mystery.
The plot: Inspector Shekhawat (Aamir Khan, perfect) is looking for answers to the baffling death of an actor. Why did a sober actor swivel his car in the middle of an empty street and plunge into the sea? Every inquiry, every clue ends up in a dead end. The more he tries to seek answers, the further he is away from solving it.To top it, a hawaldar tells him that the same street has had a few similar unexplained accidents. Shekhawat is a man who can’t sleep – it’s a dry span professionally and personally, he and wife Roshni (Rani Mukherjee, splendid), who are grieving parents, are pulling away from each other.
Respite comes only from the moments spent with Rosie (Kareena Kapoor, gorgeous), a hooker from a brothel near the accident spot. From an annoying hooker who has nothing more to offer than her “services”, she soon starts pointing him in the right direction. He keeps going back to her, seeking information, but there’s a lot more lurking here than just a complicated case, and it’s murky, mysterious and moving.
The good: It is late at night on a sleepy street when Pinky suddenly starts barking. You think the dog is barking at the solitary cyclewallah when swoosh… out of nowhere, a car comes dizzyingly and heads straight for the sea. Talaash has begun and you are hooked, impressed.
The first half constantly offers many such startling incidents; some spooky, a few baffling and quite a bit truly mysterious. Just when you think you know where it’s all going, the tale takes a turn and you find that you are sheepishly wrong. Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti have jointly poured a lot of emotions and heart into the screenplay making it strong not just with its suspense element but also emotionally rich. Weaving the personal and the professional threads in an out-of-the-world terrain is smart and literally, on a different level. Mohanan’s cinematography lifts the screenplay even higher.
To support the mystery and intense drama, is a brilliant star cast. Aamir Khan is powerful, as always. You move with him, experiencing every emotion that he feels. Rani is equally comfortable in a small but heart-wrenching role.Whatever made her do something as unsuitable as Aiyya a few weeks ago? Kareena Kapoor looks fabulous and is superbly coquettish as required. Nawazuddin Siddhiqui is fantastic; he is so into his unpleasant role that he makes you feel for his character. Although cast in a side role, Raj Kumar Yadav (Devrath Kulkarni, Aamir’s subordinate) plays his part to perfection.
The bad: In one word, the climax. What starts off as a journey full of suspense and mystery, ends abruptly, hastily and even as a bit of an anti-climax.The initial mystery which is stealthily built up leaves you at interval point dying to get back to your seat to know, what next? But what comes next is definitely and disappointingly, not quite what you expect. To put it directly, the second half fails to keep up with the excitement and mystery built in the first half.
There is an element of enforced suspense which leaves the impression of an incomplete screenplay – for instance, the other accidents that have happened at the same spot which is left strangely unexplored by Inspector Shekhawat and would, ultimately, have not had anything to do with the rest of the story.
On a minor irritating level, Aamir keeps stressing on the word talaash in several places, as if he’s valiantly justifying the title.
Ram Sampath’s music is decent and supports the movie well but doesn’t stay with you. A strain of the Sholay tune that added to Gabbar Singh’s menace, is used here to up the suspense and that’s definitely not creative brilliance.
Overall: You feel let down that Talaash fails to live up to the expectations, there’s definitely something missing out there. But for excellent moments of suspense and perfect performances, it is worth a one-time watch.
– Priyanka Ketkar