With the recent wave of films portraying leading actors as the macho, rowdy, fearless, dancing Police Inspector, director Reema Kagti's ('Honeymoon Travels') casting of Aamir Khan in the same uniform generated sudden apprehension about its consequence. Thankfully, she is associated with Excel Entertainment and is assuringly mature enough to not put him in those shoes. 'Talaash' is an intriguing suspense thriller that is emotional, psychological and paranormal. While its slow pace might negate most of its thrill, the intricacy of the plot conceals the suspense well to the end and we enjoy the game as we did with 'Gupt' and 'Kahaani'.
A mysterious and sudden accident of a film-star on sea-face road becomes a high profile case for Inspector Surjan Sekhawat (Aamir Khan). The deeper he digs into it, the more unanswered questions arise and the reality of it being an accident or a crime remains distorted.
Tehmur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) plays a significant role in the film. He maintains a low profile working among prostitutes but has his eyes open to anything suspicious. His meddling nature gives him an opportunity to blackmail someone who could provide a clue to this mysterious case. While Tehmur devices his conniving plot, Sekhawat is still in search of the truth but roams through the glamorous streets of the city late at night to conceal his inner demons that remain strong in the shadows of his past. That is where he meets Rosie (Kareena Kapoor), a sex worker who offers guidance through the maze that confounds him. Sekhawat will be forced to confront his demons to find closure for the murder case as well as his past and at that, Rosie can prove to be more beneficial than he assumed.
One issue with the film is its simplicity. The cinematography lacks the richness and nuance that we expect from the studio. This could easily be a film shot in the late 90s and you wouldn't tell the difference.
Vishal Dadlani's soothing melody in Jee Le zara is the film's musical highlight. The song's picturization is beautiful and covers many aspects of the husband-wife relationship that could have taken up more screen time when the film is already struggling with pace.
Another major setback of Zoya and Reema's screenplay is that we cannot feel deeply for most of the characters. Perhaps their grim, serious look throughout the film is a rationale and that could also be why Kareena Kapoor's flirtatious Rosie stands out as she teases with information. Kareena plays this part with ease with her experience in similar roles. Nawazuddin's Tehmur also works well because he depicts an opportunist in all the gloom that surrounds the mystery. Even if it is a selfishly conniving opportunity. Nawazuddin is truly a gem of an actor whose under-rated presence in acclaimed films is now surfacing brightly.
Barring a confrontational scene with her husband, Rani Mukherjee's Roshni was dull and despondent. The film could almost be the same without her.
For Aamir Khan, playing Sekhawat must be a cake walk. Apart from learning how to swim, the refined actor has little challenge in portraying the committed Inspector who is troubled by his conscience. Oddly though, there is no desperation in him to even close the case nor is there the acute wit to connect the dots. His helplessness is only aided by Rosie without whom, he would be fired from his job. With past tragedies in common, there is yet such disparity in Aamir's characters of Sekhawat and ACP Ajay Singh Rathore. Due to the weakness of his character, Aamir fails to portray any intensity, urgency or command that we would've loved to see with him being in uniform.
Thus, it seems like the director's choice of maintaining a slow pace for the plot along with the dull simplicity of its characters, makes 'Talaash' a far cry from being a great thriller. Worth a watch to enjoy the game of suspense but from an Aamir Khan film, we expect the exceptional and unfortunately, 'Talaash' isn't that.
- 7.455 on a scale of 1-10.