Talaash: This is serious business

Published: December 3, 2012

Talaash demands big efforts from the cast and they deliver. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Talaash, as the name suggests, is a film in which people are looking for answers. It has some obvious searches like why did the car end up in water? Who is the killer?

And then there are the subtly and beautifully embedded intrinsic quests of a father in search of reconciliation with himself, not really by self-flagellation but by being silent. Or a wife in search of her husband whom she lost to a tragic accident in their lives.

I am disappointed in myself, because it took me over an hour to realise where I had seen Talaash before.

I hadn’t seen it before, I had read it.

Talaash is very heavily inspired by, one of my all-time favourite books called, ‘The Fallen’ by T Jefferson Parker. I am disappointed because it took me that long to visualise scenes from my favourite book.

On my Twitter query to her, director of Talaash, Reema Kagti has denied having read the book which effectively means it’s a mere coincidence, albeit a huge one that almost two thirds of the story and some scenes are a straight lift from the aforementioned book. Nonetheless, while I am in talaash of this answer, there is nothing wrong even if it is heavily inspired from the book.

Talaash is an almost epic mastery of storytelling.

Almost because in the end it leaves you with your mouth open and mind confused about whether to love the climax or not. It leaves you questioning your beliefs. If you can believe the twist in the climax, then you will leave the theatre thinking that you have seen one of the best films ever.

If not, like I did not, then you will struggle to consider Talaash an all-time great, instead, it will become an almost classic for you too. If you put the belief factor aside, you will realise that throughout the film there were cues for you to understand what was happening, but you did not because you were involved in the side tracks too much.

Director Reema Kagti has shown tremendous aptitude of the grip on screenplay and visual treatment. Giving Talaash after Honey Moon Travels shows the versatility in her ability. She commands your attention throughout the movie and your eyes are like magnets to the screen. The attention to detail and sensitive treatment are the pillars Talaash is standing on.

Rani’s look is ruffled – her eyes have dark circles and her face is freckled because she doesn’t have time to focus on her physical appearance.

Aamir is playing his age – something a certain other Khan needs to learn from. He is a cop of high repute but there is no over the top praising by his team members like the entry of SRK in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Instead there is a simple ‘bohot suna hai sir aapke baaray mein, maza aaye ga aap ke saath kaam kar ke’ (I have heard a lot about you, sir; it will be fun working with you) which is enough to establish his work ethic.

On the downside, Kareena Kapoor looks too classy to be a low end prostitute. A downgraded look, if not a different actress, would have really helped. If we act overly critical, we can also question the honesty of genuine interest of the entire police force to solve a high profile case, which isn’t generally a reality.

Talaash demands big efforts from the cast and they deliver.

It’s great to see a vintage Rani Mukherjee performance. A perfect reminder of why she was a Film Fare worthy actress not long ago. Even though, far away from a glamorous look, she comes off as strangely hot in her sari clad housewife look. Charming indeed and much needed after a disastrous Aiyya. Her confrontation scene with Aamir on the road is really good and her helplessness in front of her psychiatrist is expressed beautifully.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is having the best year of his life.

With Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur and now Talaash, looks like his struggling days are over. His portrayal of Taimur is nothing short of brilliant. This is one actor I would want to see more and more in every film.

Kareena Kapoor is good, minus the unfitting perfect Hindi accent unlike other prostitutes shown in the film. Even if we ignore that, it still cannot be called a Kareena film as her other performances are far stronger.

Raj Kumar Yadav is also impressive once again. I am now eagerly waiting for his ‘Shahid’. Subrat Dutta is a star too, even though in a much smaller role.

Having said as much, the film belongs to Aamir Khan and why wouldn’t it?

This is his second venture with Excel Entertainment after the era defining Dil Chahta Hai and he has delivered another masterpiece for them. The perfectionist that he is, Khan has given one of his best performances to date.

His self-inflicted pain is obvious on his face. His eyes communicate his tiredness, his face communicates his regret. The best scene of the film, in which he is reliving the tragedy of his life and how he could have changed the whole event, is one of the best ever created on cinema. When he was happy to see his wife enjoying a senseless movie, the audience felt his relief.

When he cried, people on either side of me in the theatre cried; definitely the best performance of the year. Even better than Paan Singh Tomar and Gangs of Wasseypur.

If you plan on watching Talaash, make sure you don’t miss any part of it. Every minute is important. Don’t text, don’t tweet and don’t take toilet breaks.

Talaash is no joke; its serious business!


Read more by Sami here, or follow him on Twitter @SamiSaayer


Sami Saayer

A Dubai based Pakistani looking for excuses to write.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rija

    So this review is exactly what I had thought after the movie. For the first half I was liking the movie through and through. I began doubting myself in the second half, but then again as soon as I was out of the cinema with my friend I started asking the questions regarding scenes which made no sense at first, but then after a little though they did.
    Truely worth watching. Amir Khan and Rani Mukherjee specially prove that they still have it.Recommend

  • Hamza A Khan

    Great review! I went to the show in Saturday and I agree 100% with the writer’s analysis. Brilliant movie! The sequencing was spot-on, and the videography is unmatched in Bollywood.

    However, i think the author is under-rating Kareena’s role. M not a fan of her, but this performance was one of her best.Recommend

  • Shahan

    very well written review i must say. althought i dont think it was or could have been a ‘master piece’, despite being very well directed. purely because of the fact that the main plot is a pretty common one, and the plot became predictable about 20-30 minutes before the film reached its climax! more than the main plot of the film, the sub-plot, of the relationship of a couple after losing their only child was way more powerful in my opinion. so powerful that in my opinion the film should have been about the grieving couple and their relationship rather than the existence of spirits etc.

    the scene where he dreamt/imagined abt the event turning out differently if he had acted differently was no doubt very good. though i think that should have come about in the film atleast 2-3 times and maybe shot from a first person’s perspective and made to look more ‘dreamy’.

    Amir khan gave an extremely good performance, and i have to admit i was amongst the people who shed a few tears at the end, also because i could personally relate to his pain and regret because of a somewhat similar personal experience recently.

    Over all, a very well directed and good film that deserves an attentive viewing and some very good work done by the whole team.Recommend

  • Haseeb Talal Khan

    agreed…the best suspense/drama thriller shown on Indian cinema to date….A strong contendor for the best critic’s movie…Aamir Khan once again proved to the world, that why he has been regarded as a legend, be it a role of a student, a vegabond or a matured cop….he is far better than SRK and Salman….Recommend

  • bachchan

    bakwas flim watch luv shub tey chicken khurana ..dis is one of d worst mvi of d yearRecommend

  • choclat85

    Bakwas film. Another Dhobi Ghat.Recommend

  • Hasan

    Fabulously written review, a much needed one.Recommend

  • http://islamabad abc

    oh..i was waiting for your review:)! although I would say the first half was beautiful but the second half could have been done better!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    Saw this one at the theatre last night … got a little slow and boring in between but the twist in the end was fantastic. Aamir looks and acts great, KAreena does too but I feel Rani was given a very drab role at a time when she is struggling with her career. Overall I (kind of) enjoyed the film, but its definitely not the kind of movie you can see more than once.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Sami Saayer is back in full form. Keep ’em coming. I find your reviews more reliable than most others I come across on the net.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Aamir Khan is the best actor bollywood has today. Hope to see more of him in the future.Recommend

  • http://tdurrani.blogspot.com/ Taha Durrani

    It was not a master-piece, and was not at all one of Aamir Khan’s best performances. First half was gripping, second half was extremely disappointing.

    “If you plan on watching Talaash, make sure you don’t miss any part of it. Every minute is important. Don’t text, don’t tweet and don’t take toilet breaks.”

    Mentioning this speaks volumes about the interest levels during the movie.Recommend

  • sensible

    writer really undermine the role of kareena, i think after Amir she acted best in the movie, very engaging and trilling story!Recommend

  • anup

    Take a bow Aamir Khan for always coming up with something new and daring to always take the most risky subjects…Aamir khan is indeed the biggest superstar of the country people came to se the movie saying its an aamir khan movie has to be good and they surely we not dissappointed.
    Talash is one of the best suspense thrillers bollywood has come up with ,this a simply superb movie which keeps u at the edge of ur seat….its such an intense movie. i was glooed to the movie thinking whts gonna come next and the suspense shocked and suprised me and the entire audience…
    As everyone says if its an Aamir Khan movie its going to be superb………
    Talaash Rocks big time……..
    Dont miss it guys …..Aamir khan lots of respect to you sir……Recommend

  • Arman Yousaf

    Since Aamir khan is always being famous to flash something different & new through his movies, so this is one of his masterpieces.
    The first half is slightly down, but it takes off take in 2nd half which gave the breakthrough in the tale part. Fabulous performance done by Aamir, Kareena followed by Rani. Recommend

  • Waqas

    Great to see rani back with a stellar performance no words for amir he is pure class.Hats off to reema kagti for a fantastic filmRecommend

  • mason

    Watch the movie twice, as I usually avoid giving instant impression. And I must say it’s a really bad movie. Silly plot, bad climax and not up-to the mark performance from the lead, make it an avoidable fare. Infact this should’nt be called a suspense thriller, as it’s one of those Vikram Bhatt horror flicks where he often looses his grip on the subject and unable to decide which way to go and eventually come with a half baked attempt that neither satisfy him nor the audience. Aamir repeats his previous acts, be it a student, teacher, lover or a cop, he always remains in his own mode. And again this is the proof that he can never rise above the script, a mediocre actor at best. Infact if you put Randeep or any B-grade star in this role, and you can get much better results. The only saving grace is Kareena who deliver one of her best. She is the only actress who manage to make credibility to her act. Final word, Talaash works only in parts but overall fails miserably in almost every department. Just stay away from this crapfest.Recommend

  • An Indian Viewer in New York

    @Hamza A Khan:

    Yes, you are right. Kareena has been unfairly given low rating by this critic. In fact, as many outside critics believe — I mean Indian and Western critics — Kareena’s performance is brilliant and is the proverbial “cherry on the icing”. Of course, Rani Mukherjee gave a good performance, too, but Kareena outshines in many respect — particularly, as the glamorous spirit navigating her way into the key characters in the film. Not surprisingly, Pakistani women who were viewing this movie with many of their Indian counterparts in a local cinema house in New York, were in tears. I didn’t quite understand the emotional aspects of it, but cinema is the best medium to move people — regardless of their nationality, religion and what have you. Amir Khan gave a good performance, as usual, but as my roots are in Mumbai, which I know like the palm of my hand, I thought the camera did a perfect job reproducing the intricacies of the milieu which it was trying to depict. Sadly, some of the background spots in which the movie was shot will soon face the demolition tractors because there is a clean-up going on to build even bigger buildings on what is, at least for me, the most exciting city on God’s planet. However, this guy who professes to be the critic of the movie failed to make a mention of this and the film’s cinematography which definitely merits an award besides, of course, the superlative performances by the main cast of the movie. . Recommend

  • Dr.Sinha

    @Hamza A Khan:
    Yes, the review plays down the role of Kareena whose performance is brilliant, to say the least. Her smile and expressive eyes, with dialogues delivered with a touch of cynicism, are simply fascinating. And if you are a keen observer, you can even get chills up your blood stream that Kareena’s character is not from this world! That’s convincing, isn’t it? The critique by Sami Sayer also assumes a subjective character when he dwells on his personal feelings (It took me half the film to realize that it had been inspired …… etc etc.) which was superfluous and did not do justice to the overall assessment of the film. Indeed, the film may have been inspired by external sources, yet it has been wonderfully woven into what is a purely Indian film with a typically Indian theme. But what was missing, most conspicuously, in the review was the sizzling photography and dramatization in a stunning milieu with equally stunning characters well portrayed by a set of thinking and intelligent actors. Sadly, some of the landmarks that are over a hundred years old will soon be wiped away with demolition bulldozers, making space of the tall buildings that mark Mumbai’s skyline. If anything, the cinematography will definitely get awards not only in India but also at international venues. Recommend

  • Shahan


    ‘a mediocre actor at best’? .. wow.. thats a new one! not sure anyone else here would agree with that.. or anyone else any where in the world would agree with that :PRecommend

  • Hamza A Khan

    @ Mr. Indian from NewYork:

    My intention wasn’t to downgrade the review quality of the author. Simply disagreed with him on Kareena’s evaluation. I think this is a fine review.Recommend

  • Vikas

    Write some review of Lollywood film. :-)Recommend

  • Dr. Md Anwarul Hoque

    Anwar from Brisbane Australia

    Talaash is a reasonably good entertaining film came out of Bollywood when so many senseless films are made there. Critics need to understand that this film is a commercial one and the whole purpose of the film is still entertainment. The relevant point is whether the film is worth watching or not. In my opinion, the film passed that criteria with distinction. Of course, supernatural things are interesting and it is enjoyable when it is used wisely to entertain people.

    Characters are all well played- not to mention anyone particular. The screen play is suburb, photography is brilliant and there were no attempt of over dramatization of sequences.

    Above all, It is a film that you can watch with your family members without being embarrased by sex and violent scenes. I congratulate the director and the whole team of the picture for such a good work! I will wait to see your next one!Recommend

  • http://www.rewaj.com Hina Safdar

    I am amazed that o one questions the drowning of cars at seashore. It wasn’t believable. Kareena was good in the movie though way too stylized. The problem with suspense thrillers is that they are one time watch only. Recommend

  • Sundus

    After reading your numerous movie reviews, I have come to a conclusion to expect opposite of a movie than what you say. Talaash is a bakwas movie. Recommend

  • amrut

    Your review is excellent…….. movies are not real it should be kept away from reality and watched…. i liked the movie alot……..and aamir was excellent……. even rani and kareena…. it was a bit slow but eyes kept watching wat would happen next…………i liked the movie……Recommend

  • Huzaefa

    Nicely summarized by sami saayer!!! well i watched this movie on a weekend………first part of movie is quite good..but second part can be made bettter .Amir khan doing his role at best, instead of Rani’s and kareena’s….it was bit slow but commands your attention throughout movie ,your eyes work as magnets to screen!!! Recommend

  • Motihur Rahman

    I cant believe people are mocking Aamir’s performance. It was a fantastic performance and the film was taut and brilliantly directed. The problem is that a small minority of die hard SRK and SK fans will always mock Aamir’s films regardless and will never give it a chance. As a neutral, I felt the movie was absorbing and entertaining. I came out of the cinema completely and utterly satisfied.

    The sub plot was excellently directed and KK’s acting (and Rani’s) was simply on another level. They really were magnificent. And as for Aamir, for me his films always have substance, unlike SRK and SK who are comfortable with one kind of movie and keep playing those roles again and again. Aamir challenges himself all the time. From a schizophrenic (in Gajini) to the loveable comedian (3 idiots) and now the cop torn between his personal tragedy and professional duty. He is simply on another planet compared to the rest of the acting roster.

    The twist was brilliant, the acting was superb the songs were very apt and beautiful especially the choreography to Jee Le Zara. All in all, 9/10 for me. Simply fantastic. If you havent seen it, go and see it. Put your SRK, SK, AK loyalties to one side and enjoy this film for what it is…a masterpiece.Recommend

  • Rashel Rahman

    Amazing movie! Love!Recommend

  • thuc

    @choclat85: Recommend