Unlike other Bollywood fares which can be predicted by just watching their trailers, Talaash kept intriguing me as I could not forsee what it could be all about. It looked like a murder mystery but then going by Aamir Khan’s reputation I knew we had to expect more. How could Aamir, who has in every cinematic attempt has broadened the reach of celluloid be satisfied with a run of the mills thriller? Now after sitting through this 2 hour 30 minutes plus drama, I know exactly whats different about it.
On a secluded night in Mumbai’s underbelly, a star speeds through an almost deserted street to his destiny. A destiny that sparks off a chain of events that would not only bring a troubled man face to face with his demons and also set him on way to losing everything that he has ever loved and believed in. Surjan Singh Shekhawat(Aamir Khan) is called on to investigate the accidental death of a star. Through his investigation, he finds out that the star had withdrawn a big sum of money which was on his person when he met with the accident but was not recovered.
The search for the money takes him to person called Sashi (Subrat Dutta), a pimp and who might have been black mailing the deceased. However before he could get his hands on him, Sashi is murdered but not before he has left vital clues in the hands of Timur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a lowlife in the world of flesh trade. As Timur starts blackmailing an unknown number from Sashi’s dial list, he realizes that Sashi might have been murdered by some very rich and powerful men who might be in the look out to cover their tracks.
On the other hand, Shekhawat is losing the grip on his personal life. After the death of his son, and his belief that his carelessness cost him his son’s life plays havoc in his married life, with his wife Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) reduced to a silent spectator. Roshni’s communique with a lady who tells Shekhawat that she can communicate with their dead son further infuriates Shekhawat. As he catches her performing a plan chit with the lady, he breaks away from her.
During this period Shekhawat meets Rosie, a vivacious prostitute. He finds a confidant in her who knows a lot about the happenings in the underbelly and might have answers to the scorching questions that he finds himself unable to answer. As the plot thickens, we realize that Rosie might not be what she seems and might be involved in the accident of the star and the blackmailing plot in more ways than is evident. What happens next? Will Shekhawat be able to nail the culprits? Will he be able to win over his trauma? These questions form the crux of the narrative.
Talaash is essentially a drama. There are no action sequences apart from a chase not involving Aamir. The characters are all very real and troubled. The protagonist himself is troubled by a failing marriage, his grief of not being able to save his son and his attraction for a prostitute which he cannot fathom. His wife on the other hand is unable to cope with the indifference of her husband and tries to find her solace in the world beyond the realms of reality by communicating with her dead son. Rosie seems to be the only character that is in control of herself but as she grows warm for Shekhawat, her wounds begin to show.
As the drama unfolds, every scene is populated with heightened emotions, tension and an inexplicable sense of “something bad is about to happen”. Though the story unfolds at a leisurely pace, the audience is sucked into the narrative in such a manner that chances are you will not feel the time pass. The drama is mostly psychological in nature and the leisurely pace helps it to establish its control over the audience.The climax is well thought after and almost answers every question that might crop up in the viewer’s mind. However for those who don’t believe in the paranormal and a life beyond life itself will find it difficult to fathom and might just prove to be the film’s undoing.
Aamir Khan dons the Khaki after a while and does complete justice to the role. His conflicts and frustrations are very. His scenes with Kareena and Rani are a delight to watch. I just loved the scene where he unwillingly follows Kareena’s character to a lowly hotel where they end up on a bed with Kareena caressing his head. This is a scene which is truly potent and tells a lot about the changing face of Bollywood. There are two more such sequences, one in which Aamir imagines the different outcomes of the fateful incident involving his son that might have been if he had acted differently and one in which he is shown recreating the accident involving the star with the actual accident shown in bits.
Kareena is totally at home playing the character of a prostitute having played “Chameli” before and her confidence shows in every scene. Rani in a de-glam avatar is brilliant. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is wonderful in a role which could have been made a little meatier.
K.U. Mohanan’s camera has been able to capture the essence of the films spirit with the dim lit underbelly coming to us in all its entirety and beauty. Ram Sampath’s music is top notch. The “Lakh Duniya Kahe” track and its picturization is so effective that I won’t be surprised to see some teary eyes in the audience.
After the dual Diwali fiasco, Talaash comes as a breath of fresh air. It has the potential to demand multiple views but for those rooted to reality, the climax may be a downer. However, if you agree to look beyond the realms life and death, there are rewards aplenty.