Movie Review: 'Talaash' has mind-boggling suspense!
'Talaash' is a taut thriller, low on action but high on suspense
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 14:51:30 GMT
The ApunKaChoice movie review of Talaash (No Spoilers). The Reema Kagti-directed Talaash may not be high on action and pace, but it’s a taut thriller with a suspense that hits you like a lightning bolt.
The thing about an intelligent suspense thriller is that the viewer has to give it their all. It demands attention. No character in it -- however insignificant at first glance -- is dispensable. Every dialogue can have some hidden connotation, every tenuous link can be a lynchpin, every hint a potential red-herring, and, topping it all, a plot that plays well with the possibilities, and teases, titillates and tantalizes a viewer no end. Talaash is one such thriller that leaves you teetering on the edge of your seat. But it does so slowly, caressingly, like a beautiful harlot in bed brushing her nailpainted fingers over your forehead only to disappear - poof! - when you open up your eyes.
Talaash isn’t a perfect whodunit, but in an industry bereft of intelligent thrillers, it’s sure as hell a darn good one. The story centres on the death of a movie superstar by what looks like a car accident on a seaside Mumbai road. As Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) and his deputy (Raj Kumar Yadav) try to crack the case, they come across a few loose ends, a few inexplicable clues and connections involving a slew of characters like the deceased actor’s close friend, or a pimp with stashed booty, or the pimp’s limping errand boy (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), or a streetwalking prostitute (Kareena Kapoor). The needle of suspicion even wavers at Inspector Shekhawat himself.
Shekhawat and his wife (Rani Mukerji) haven’t got the closure on the death of their adolescent son by drowning. The guilt Shekhawat harbours in his heart for his son’s death is the wedge in the couple’s once-happy now-joyless marriage. It keeps him awake at nights and her seeking solace in the séances of a psychic medium (Shernaz Patel).
It’s an intriguing web that the writers Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar weave. It has greed, blackmail, extortion, murder, suppressed grief, guilt, anger, and above all the suspense to knock the daylights out of you. Mind you, there would be some people rubbishing it as paranormal tosh, but a little allowance on the part of a viewer will make Talaash work like the best thriller seen in Bollywood for ages.
Kudos to the entire Talaash team for that, not the least the director Reema Kagti for a confident handling of a story that has wheels within wheels. Reema’s screenplay opts for gentle flow over speed, for brains over brawns, for emotions over action. And she extracts terrific performances from the leading cast of Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. Aamir is the grieving, seething, guilt-stricken cop who’s at the same time alert and smart. Kareena is the coy tart, given to subtle seductions through her eyes and words more than anything outright risqué. Rani is the depressed housewife, a role she could have played even in half sleep. On the sidelines, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the scene stealer with a limping walk and scalding glare.
Thankfully, the songs by Ram Sampath are never intrusive in the screenplay but are segued seamlessly into the plot. The cinematography by K. U. Mohanan lends a distinct nocturnal mood to Talaash, the interplay of light and shade itself lending a quality to the characters. The dialogues by Farhan Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap are at times bawdy (Kashyap’s pen apparent there), at times layered with meanings. They acquire weightage particularly in retrospect once the suspense unravels. And what an unraveling it is.
Just one request. Don’t reveal it to your friends. Let everyone trip on being hit by this lightning bolt of a suspense.