For the first time in my life, I had watched a newly released movie in first day first show and that too with my better half. Myself and my wife had decided to have fun on 30th November 2012 (I took leave from my office) and watched Talaash in first day first show at Talkie Town (now rechristened as Cine Town), Hyderabad. I had been eagerly awaiting this mystery movie whose hero (and producer too) is none else but Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan.
Talash (search / quest) is apparently a murder mystery which does not turn out to be a traditional murder mystery in the end and a supernatural element also appears in the narrative which the spectator could not have thought of even in the wildest of his guesses about the solution of the mystery. That’s what makes Talaash different from regular suspense-thrillers. Though the idea is not original but more about that later.The hero (i.e., our Mr. Perfectionist – Aamir Khan) is an honest, efficient and dedicated cop – Surjan Singh Shekhawat who is internally aggrieved because of the accidental demise of his son for which he considers himself as responsible and suffers from guilt-complex. Neither he is able to console himself, nor his equally aggrieved wife (Rani Mukherjee). He becomes workaholic and remains on duty for almost 24 hours. He gets the case of the apparently accidental death of a Bollywood hero and the story of the movie mainly covers his quest (Talaash) of the truth only while intermittently dealing with his personal life and agony. A sex-worker (Kareena Kapoor) helps him and when finally the truth comes out, he (and also the audience) is taken aback like anything.I will not spread any spoilers here because it will be an injustice to the sincere effort that has gone into the making of this gripping mystery. However let me clarify that the basic grains are not at all original. I don’t know whether the director – Reema Kagti, the script writers and Mr. Perfectionist himself have watched an old Bollywood movie – Ek Paheli (1971) starring Feroz Khan and Tanuja in lead roles or not but the inspiration from that story is clearly there which I could see because I have seen Ek Paheli. Anybody who has seen that old movie can easily contrast the resolution of the mystery in that with that in Talaash. Else some Hollywood movie might have been the foundation for the stories of both of these movies, one made four decades back and the other one made now.
All the same, it is to be admitted that Talaash is an engrossing movie and though certain dialogs of Kareena Kapoor appear to be illogical and superfluous, everything falls in place in the end. When the mystery is resolved and the scene involving Aamir Khan and his superior officer takes place, there are certain shots which remind of John Abraham-Bipasha Basu starrer flop movie – Madhoshi (2004). Personally, I don’t believe in supernatural and hence I am not completely satisfied after watching Talaash. A solution sans the supernatural element would have been acceptable to me. All the same, I admit with open heart that the supernatural element is directly linked to the sentimental aspect of the story also and hence the way the script has been written, it’s inevitable for the narrative.
The director – Reema Kagti has done her job very well and she has been successful in keeping the audience glued to the screen till the ending reels. Except the final 10 minutes or so, you cannot afford to lose even a single minute of the movie. The narrative keeps you spellbound and whether you believe in the resolution of the mystery presented or not, you feel like having watched a good movie while exiting the theatre.Though the mystery is unraveled in the climax only, the director has scattered clues and hints throughout the duration of the movie prior to revelation and given the viewers enough food for thinking and guessing on the basis of them. Everything shown or told including seemingly trivial things, ultimately gets linked up to the main story and thus the director has shown her capability to handle suspense-based plots. This style of narrating is highly admirable and reminds me of some novels of renowned Hindi novelist – Ved Prakash Sharma.
Though the characters of sex-workers form a significant part of the story, there is no vulgarity in the movie and it can be called a clean movie which is another achievement of the director and another plus of the movie.
The emotional quotient is quite strong and the movie moves the spectator deep within at many places including the ending scenes. Not just the main track of the hero-heroine (and the mysterious sex-worker helping the hero) is emotion-studded, there is also a sentimentally impressive side story of the love affair of the limping petty criminal – Taimur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) with an aging sex-worker (I don’t know the name of the actress) who helps him in getting blackmailing money but finally lands up with that money falling into her pocket only when Taimur is shot dead by the men hired by the blackmailed person.
Technically the movie is good and utterly realistic. All the action and chase sequences have been handled pretty well and they are impressive by all standards. Instead of showing grandeur, luxuries, pump and show; the director has kept all the scenes in realistic settings. Everything is completely authentic. And that’s why nowhere the narrative seems to be out of place or playing with the intelligence of the audience (except for the supernatural element embedded in the narrative). Cinematography is as brilliant as the art direction is. The movie is not unduly long and there is no superfluous footage at all. Flashbacks have been used proficiently to explain the things. Small drops of humour provide a bit of relief in this otherwise intense suspense-filled drama.
Aamir Khan truly deserves to be called Mr. Perfectionist. The get-up, the physic, the gestures, the mannerisms; from every angle does he appear to be a no-nonsense dutiful cop who means business. It’s very difficult to visualize anybody else in the role of Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat. Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor have done pretty well. The complete supporting cast has done justice to the assigned roles. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has done an outstanding job in the role of the limping but cunning small time criminal.
Music of Talaash is praiseworthy. Javed Akhtar has written touching and meaningful lyrics and Ram Sampat has prepared ear-soothing tunes for them. I consider Jiya Laage Na as the best song of the album but the other ones are also quite good to listen. Background score is also perfect.
Summing up, this much awaited movie of Mr. Perfectionist may not be a great movie but it is definitely worth a watch. It satisfies the entertainment appetite of the mystery-lovers on one hand and suits the taste of the audience of emotional family dramas on the other.
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