REVIEW: Talaash – Imbued With An Emotional Layer, Sure To Move you
Two parallel tracks merge in Reema Kagti’s supernatural thriller ‘Talaash’. Aamir Khan & Rani Mukherji play parents grieving the tragic & untimely death of their young son.
The tragedy has created a vast canyon between them as they privately mourn, blame & heal.
But Khan’s character, the insomniac Inspector Shekhawat has a day job, which demands his attention, especially when the high profile & mysterious death of an actor, who seemingly drives himself off the road into the sea, becomes his case.
Investigation into the death takes Shekhawat into the noir world of commercial sex workers, pimps & sundry characters who dream of escaping from this hell on earth. K. U. Mohanan’s brilliant cinematography enhances these disparate worlds – of a quiet & hurting middle class home & a pulsating & dark red light district.
In these lanes Shekhawat meets the flirty & flamboyant Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), a prostitute who helps him navigate this world. While the three leads are remarkable in each of their parts, Mukherji deserves mention for returning to form & touching the viewer with the pain of a mother who has lost her child & fears losing her husband too.
Khan takes some time settling into an emotionally complex role, a far cry from the less layered parts in ‘Rang De Basanti’, ’3 Idiots’ or ‘Ghajini’. But when he does get his groove, he does so with quiet surety. The scenes between him & Kapoor are most effective.
The weakness is the supporting cast, which tends to overdo its part (e.g the brothel madam, the obviously shifty best friend, the Parsi neighbour, the cops in the station). The exceptions are Nawazuddin Siddiqui who sparkles as the local hustler who bites off more than he can chew, & Rajkumar Yadav who makes the most of the spartan role of a cop.
Another weakness is the pace. For a thriller, the narrative tends to slow down irregularly, mostly to make room for Shekhawat’s emotional distress. Unlike other Bollywood movies in this genre, Kagti uses the songs to push along the narrative, or donate it breathing space.
Kagti & Zoya Akhtar’s screenplay is given life by Farhan Akhtar & Anurag Kashyap’s dialogues, Mohanan’s photography & P.M. Satheesh’s sound design. The action scenes by Abbas Ali Moghul & Dave Judge are well crafted.
To Kagti’s credit, she uses silence to establish her characters’ pain, pushed along by the background music. She steadily & neatly builds the suspense, yet once you solve the twist in the tale, there are few surprises to follow. Talaash follows the supernatural thriller formula meticulously, repackages it & imbues it with an emotional layer that will surely move you.
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