*The post does not contain any spoilers*
Aamir Khan always manage to ruffle an unparalleled euphoria with the release of his movies. When an actor works in one movie a year, sometimes the hype acts as a deterrent even though the movie is exceptionally well made. Talaash is one such case.
The movie begins with the death of superstar Armaan Kapoor. His car rushing on an empty road suddenly veers towards the sea and he drowns to his death. Enters inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) who is handling this high profile case with too many loose ends. Trails start going cold one after another and the leads are pointing nowhere. Armaan was not drunk that night, neither was he high on drugs. Surjan who has his own ghosts to fight in addition to this case is completely stressed out. He and his wife Roshni (Rani Mukerji) are drifting apart due to a personal tragedy. Surjan cannot sleep at nights and amble through the streets of Mumbai. It is during such a stressful night that he meets Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), a prostitute who works in an area near the site of Armaan’s death.
There are other tracks in the story like those of Tehmur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a handicapped man living in the red light area who hold clues to the jigsaw. The stories start converging as the movie proceeds and leads to a satisfying climax. Although I was able to guess it a few minutes before it actually happened, it came as a shock to some people.
A murder mystery need not be fast paced. Talaash is not an edge of the seat thriller but it grasps your attention from the first frame. The movie moves at a leisurely pace, establishing the characters and their dilemmas. Surjan’s character is going through a major turbulence in his personal life while handling this case. I heard a few people saying that the movie is a bit dull and slow but I do not agree. I found it well balanced and having a script which focused on character development – a term which most of today’s Bollywood script writers do not understand.
I believe that a major achievement of any movie can be when the audience forget that they are watching stars in action, when the audience is drawn into the movie, forgetting that they are sitting in a cinema hall. The movie worked for me in that sense as well. Even though the movie is almost 2.30 hours long, I was hooked and did not feel the passage of time.
Aamir has done exceptionally well because simple things are more difficult to enact. The pain Surjan is going through is stark and comes out as a raw wound. You feel pity for him. Rani plays Roshni in a restrained manner showing no histrionics. There is this scene in one of the songs where the couple is clicking a family photograph with their son. The family looks completely conventional with no traces of stardom on the lead actors. Despite Aamir and Rani’s superior performances, it is Kareena who stands out as Rosy. Her scenes with Aamir are beautifully done, especially the ones near the beach at night. I loved her dialogues in those scenes, the aura she creates while she shares Surjan’s anguish and her own.
It is a movie that I will count amongst the best which came out this year. The background score was great and set the mood and built up the suspense. Although I would have preferred no songs but surprisingly the songs were good enough and did not deter the pace.
I sincerely hope that the hype does not kill the movie because it is well made and enjoyable. People might have slightly different expectations from an Aamir Khan movie but this kind of well crafted and well enacted movie deserve its run and should be encouraged. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.
Parting shot – If you loved Ek Tha Tiger and Son of Sardar, it would be better if you stay away from this movie.