Starring: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherji, Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Subratt Dutta
Directed by Reema Kagti
Talaash is two different films rolled into one. There’s a thriller probing a filmstar’s death: was it an accident or a murder? Concurrently, there’s a tale about a cop and his wife coping and coming to terms with the loss of their son. While the latter is a very affecting and compelling track, the former leaves one very dissatisfied.
The jigsaw puzzle is laid out well to begin with. As with most Excel productions, Talaash is a very well dressed film. The striking, sensuous visuals and the moody music create a perfect setting for crime. There are nods to various films, from The Sixth Sense to What Lies Beneath. And the red-light area, with its colourful characters, seems like an updated version of Salaam Bombay. If Kareena is the femme fatale of many a “film noir”, the nosy neighbour Shernaz Patel is the derivative of the many eccentric ladies of crime—from Arsenic and Old Lace to Rosemary’s Baby. However, the “police procedural” itself doesn’t prove quite as impenetrable or befuddling. The film flounders as the mystery begins to unravel. Why does every strand in an Indian thriller need to be tied up neatly? Why does everything need to be explained and spelt out clearly? What of the power of the unsaid? In retrospect, one wonders if the film wouldn’t have been better off just as a study in sorrow? Does not the whodunit angle detract rather than contribute to the film? The biggest disappointment of all is the jerky, altogether clumsy resolution that meshes the two tracks together. It doesn’t feel as though it has grown organically from within the narrative but something thrust from outside. In an effort to be intriguing, the film ends up being silly.
Aamir as the cop seems to have a fixity of gaze at the start of the film, for a reason. He gradually grows and acquires shades with his character. Kareena plays herself but, as his confidante, fails to find a vibe with Aamir. It’s Rani—delicate, subtle and heartachingly sad, an effortlessly cheeky, razor-sharp chaiwala (Nawaz) and unaffected pimp (Subratt) who prove to be the backbone and keep one involved till the end. Or at least, till a little before the end.
What was appreciating towards me in the movie, is that phenomenon not important to the hero, is accepted by him as something not explained, and he lets these be. What concerns me, is that I found the movie incomplete, because this isn't the end in the life of the protagonist in the movie, played by Aamir.
"Talaash" is certainly more engaging than most Bollywood fare; it is also more coherent, if not more credible. Good performances and production values.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT