Reema Kagti
Direction, Story & Screenplay

Zoya Akhtar
Story & Screenplay

Farhan Akhtar

Another Take
Talaash:Supernatural search

Man – that was some opening scene! Absolutely fantastic, attention-riveting action shot… the car crashing through the sea face barrier, tumbling into the sea, great gusts of spray and then – nothing, nada, zilch, and the sea slowly settles back into its usual placidity. 

For a mystery and crime buff like me, Talaash starts off by being fast-paced and racy, a lot of emotive content; finally, a story one can sink one’s teeth into. This is a movie where one resented the intrusion of the intermission. And then, wham! Just like that, a door slams shut and the story spirals in all kindsa directions. It beats me why writers get too clever and ruin a perfectly good thing that’s zipping along by introducing so many sub-plots that one loses track of what the actual story was. Talaash ends up as one genre piggy-backing on another and we go from super thriller into supernatural in a bewildering plot flip! 

Okay, so the story leads from a sub-plot of a superstar with the predictable super-surname of Kapoor, taking a nosedive into the sea in his car. Then we get to the main plot of super-cop Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) who’s investigating the crime. Then we come to sub-plot number two where there’s a small-time crook who lives in the red-light area and is surrounded by prostitutes of all shapes, sizes and ages and who’s quite obviously blackmailing someone. Back to the main plot where Surjan is still asking all the right questions. Cut to sub-plot three where he’s got this strained home atmosphere with a depressed wife, Roshni (Rani Mukerji) Introducing sub-plot number four with a scatty psychic (Shernaz Patel) who looks more scary than sympathetic and who can ostensibly communicate with the couple’s dead son – oh yeah, he died in a boat accident which is sub-plot number five. Ever so often we get back to the supposed main story – which should be all about investigating that superstar’s death, right? In the course of this, Surjan meets up with a glamorous streetwalker, by name Rosy (KareenaKapoor) who offers him solace and tidbits of information. Okay, I’m running out of fingers here, but yet another sub-plot is that the lame Timur (NawazuddinSiddique) takes over the blackmailing angle and plans to run away with a middle-aged prostitute well past her prime, which same thread somehow leads to unraveling the skein that Rosy aka Simran is a super spook! 

Aamir Khan delivers another impeccable performance and fits effortlessly into his character which has been well fleshed out; hardly surprising, that, considering the story was written years ago solely with him in mind for the lead role. His anguish and turmoil as the grieving father and confused husband are well etched. Nawazuddin Siddiqui does a very fine job and manages to leave an impression, pitted as he is against such stalwarts. Rani Mukerji does all and more that is demanded of her in a restrained act; her simple sarees and sans make-up look only serve to make her come across as appealing and sexy in an understated way. Between the two lead female roles, it is Rani that walks away with the accolades. 

No, no and no! Whatever happened to KareenaKapoor in this one – both the role as well as the actor? The character is way too refined; may, just may, work for a high-class escort service but certainly not for a Mumbai brothel girl! Her make-up is flawless, the clothes look designer, the speech and accent is upper-crust except for slipping in a belated ‘sahab’ in the conversation, and the coquettish attempts are just not working! Even though this is a writer and directorial goof-up, why couldn’t KK see where this was heading; after delivering a ‘Chameli’, one did not expect her to be naïve of what a streetwalker’s role demands. 

The music, with lyrics by JavedAkhtar, is befitting; kudos to Ram Sampath. Dialogues by FarhanAkhtar and AnuragKashyap are creditable; nothing clever, but crisp nonetheless. Direction by ReemaKagti could certainly have been tauter and more focused. Cinematography by Mohanan is compelling and on-the-mark. Editing by AnandSubaya leaves a lot to be desired. 

   Punam Mohandas

Punam Mohandas is a journalist and author who is also a film buff, accomplished travel writer and an expert on South Asia. She also writes columns on film personalities. She has lived and worked in India, Dubai and Bangkok.

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