Chiragdeep International's TALAASH, directed by Suneel Darshan, is a typical masala flick that relies too heavily on the tried and tested stuff.
The film begins with Ashish Vidyarthi, an honest cop, releasing Suresh Oberoi from the prison. Oberoi works for a gang run by Kabir Bedi and his accomplices ï¿½ Raj Babbar, Dalip Tahil and Rami Reddy.
When Oberoi realises that while he was held captive, the gang didn't look after his wife (Raakhee) and two kids, as promised, he swears revenge. But the gang kills him and abducts his young daughter.
Unable to bear the shock, Raakhee ends up in a mental asylum, while the son, Akshay Kumar, decides to go on a hunt for his sister and settle scores with the gang. How he reaches the kingpin and rescues his sister from his clutches, forms the remainder of the story.
TALAASH follows the oft-repeated track all through, from start to finish. And that's where the fault lies. Although the basic storyline is interesting, the way the drama unfolds gives you a feeling of 'been there, done that.'
Flashes of BAAZIGAR and MERI JUNG cross your mind as the story begins. The initial reels are quite captivating, but as soon as Kareena's character is introduced, the story deviates to the romantic track, which is quite lacklustre.
Though the concept of shooting sequences inside Palace of Wheels is fresh, the sequence of events is not. Despite funny situations like the interaction between fellow passengers on the train or the sequence featuring the ladoos or for that matter, when two ruffians try to act fresh with Kareena, the graph of the film somehow keeps falling.
The interval point does elevate the expectations of an engrossing second half, but the post-interval portions belie the expectations.
The anxiety to watch the climax ï¿½ the identity of the sister and how'd Akshay rescue her eventually ï¿½ keeps the viewer's interest alive. Even the Pooja Batra track is interesting. But barring these sequences, the second half doesn't boast of many riveting moments.
The climax suffers on one major count. All through the film, the viewer is eager to know the sister's identity, but when the suspense unfolds towards the climax, you feel completely letdown.
The requirement of the character was either a star or a widely known actress, but the presence of a rank newcomer dilutes the impact to a large extent. Also, the climax is long drawn, although the stunts are well executed.
Directorially, Suneel Darshan is not in form this time, mainly because the script does not offer him scope to rise beyond a point. Neither does the mother-son track strike a chord, nor does the romance between the lead pair excite the viewer. Although Darshan has executed a few sequences well, a routine script and the placement of songs dilute the overall effort.
Sanjeev-Darshan's music is of a mixed variety. The climax number ï¿½ 'Main Masti Mein Mastani Hoon' ï¿½ is the best song of the enterprise, in terms of rhythm and also placement. 'Tune Kaha' is a tuneful song, but its placement could've been better thought of.
Cinematography is alright. Dialogues are well worded and punch-packed. The stunts are well crafted. Production values are just right.
Akshay Kumar is plain mediocre. The role hardly offers him scope to try out anything different. Kareena Kapoor is her usual self. Pooja Batra leaves a mark in a small role. Kabir Bedi and Raj Babbar are adequate. Raakhee, Ashish Vidyarthi and Arbaaz Ali Khan are okay.
On the whole, TALAASH relies too heavily on an oft-repeated theme, which will tell on its business eventually. The film may find some flavour in the interiors.