Saturday, December 1, 2012


Release date:
November 30, 2012
Reema Kagti


Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor, Raj Kumar Yadav, Shernaz Patel, Sheeba Chaddha   

Have you ever watched a film and felt it had everything going for it, yet something didn’t quite add up? That you weren’t blown away despite liking so many individual elements in it? That’s how I felt as I left the hall after Talaash. The cast is impeccable. The atmospherics are perfectly set by cinematographer Mohanan, music director Ram Sampath and the production design team. This is a Mumbai that’s neither entirely glitzy nor completely grimy, just very disturbing. Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar’s screenplay explores marital ties in a way Hindi cinema rarely does. Yet in the telling of the tale, it doesn’t all quite come together.

Without giving away anything in this suspense thriller, here’s the story: Film star Armaan Kapoor is killed in a puzzling car accident and Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) is called in to investigate. Surjan aka Suri realises there’s more to the case than meets the eye as he meets Armaan’s wife, friend and questionable contacts. All this happens while Suri and his wife grapple with the chasm that has emerged between them since they lost their son; and with their new neighbour who insists she can talk to the dead and also that the dead seek out troubled living souls. Thrown into the mix are the friendly prostitute Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), the no-gooder Taimur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and a missing pimp with a secret.

Can’t say a word more about the plot. What can be revealed though is that Rani Mukerji is simply brilliant in this film as Roshni, the woman struggling with the death of a child and the simultaneous loss of a living husband who blames himself for their boy’s accident. This is not a character aided by extreme physical disabilities such as she was in her role in Black. Nor does Roshni have any personality quirks to come to her rescue, like her Meenakshi Deshpande in Aiyyaa. In the simplicity and understatedness of her performance in Talaash, Rani reveals why Bollywood is doing us such a disservice by not writing more meaty roles to match her wonderful talent. C’mon Rani, you too owe it to us to go seek out those roles. The actress’ wardrobe manager also must be lauded for showing us that no one can be sexier than a neatly turned out, sari-clad Indian housewife who is fit yet not overly conscious of her looks.

And what does one say about Nawazuddin Siddiqui? Not a star in the fabled Rs 100 crore club, yet a star performer who can make us dislike his character although the actor himself has such an attractive, likeable personality! After Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar, Gangs ofWasseypur and now Talaash, this must surely rank as The Year of Nawazuddin. The charismatic Kareena’s Rosy is miles ahead of her more studied 2004 performance as a hooker in Sudhir Mishra’s Chameli (though it must be said that in Talaashshe being a streetwalker from a grungy brothel, not a high-class call girl, her sophistication is inexplicable). Aamir as Suri is nicely underplayed. A special kudos to him for not leveraging his superstardom to hog screen space.

Where Talaash falters is in the writing and narration of its denouement. The actual background to Armaan Kapoor’s death, the secret he is holding on to, comes as a damp squib. The climactic surprise involving the reason for his final accident is a surprise indeed, yet is not as impactful as it should be – because Talaash feels like it’s trying to replicate the tone of a certain iconic Hollywood film we’ve seen about the talking dead; because the ending needed to have been told in a less languid fashion; and because too many minutes seem to have been devoted to it. The languorous pace that until then had contributed to an alluringly grim mood somehow takes away from the finale. In a film that’s meant to be a thriller, this is a big failing. If I watch Talaash again, it will not be for the suspense; I’d watch it again for its lovely cast, for ominous Mumbai but most of all for the Roshni-Suri marriage and the Rosy-Suri bonding so unusual for a Bollywood film.    

Rating (out of five): **9/10

CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
140 minutes


  1. Nice review , anna, I also feel the same way. The ending makes you feel like there is something missing, something more... and yet the movie is over!

  2. 2.9 stars? Why not just give 3 stars with the same review? Do you have a rubric anywhere that specifies the star rating because I'm very curious to understand the difference between a 2.9 and a 3 apart from making a point.

    1. Dear "Anonymous",

      Why not give 3 stars? Because 2.9 is 2.9, not 3. And yes there's a rubric, as there should be - it's in my head, as it would be with any reviewer. That's why you must compare the ratings given by the same critic for different films to understand what the rating system stands for and indicates about her / his taste in films; making comparisons between critics will not help you. Remember in school when some teachers were so strict that a 70% score from them was considered good, but some were so lenient that a 70% from them would be deemed average? Yes of course I'm making a point with the rating, as does everyone who ever rates anything. My point: the difference between a 2.9 and 3 is that to my mind, a film to which I give a 2.9 has more pluses than minuses, but falls marginally short of a 3 - almost there, but not quite.



    2. Ah, you're one of those, fair enough, sorry I asked.

  3. very good movie very good storyline and direction. performances are so good from all the actors. aamir khan, kareena , gangs of wasseypur's hero and rani mukherji. all are terrific. good one to watch.