The overwhelming feeling I had after watching Talaash was relief: A quality Bollywood entertainer need not be an oxymoron anymore.
This Reema Kagti-directed thriller has Aamir’s stamp all over it – it is superbly (ghost?) directed, cast, and acted and the music is to die for, in more ways than one.
The story of the death of a Bollywood celebrity in an inexplicable accident, and the dogged determination of Inspector Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) to resolve it, is interesting but not award-seeking film noir. Rather, Talaash pitches itself as pure paisa vasool entertainment, from its stellar pacing to its full quotient of songs. What elevates it from the Vikram Bhatt, Mohit Suri, body-baring B-movies is the excellent script (by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti) that walks a very fine line between cinematic drama and gritty realism.
The cast, with the ever-dependable Khan as the troubled inspector, a luminous Rani Mukherjee as his sad wife and Kareena Kapoor as the mysterious femme fatale, is A-list. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the pivotal character Tehmur (the lame) turns in an award-winning winning performance that fully justifies his prominence in the credits.
It’s hard to say more about Talaash without giving the game away, so I’ll just comment on the peripherals. Ram Sampath of “Bhag Bhag D.K Bose” fame composes both the background score and songs and they are wonderfully melodic, even if they evoke faint recollections of songs gone before. Worth getting the CD.
And Kagti does a really creditable job as director, though the presence of Aamir Khan will surely dilute her reputation. Why is it, I wonder, that no director ever works with Aamir again after giving a super hit? Ashutosh Gowarikar, who directed Aamir in Baazi, never repeated him after the mega-success of Lagaan. John Matthew Matthan did no work with Aamir after Sarfarosh, and Rakeysh Mehra only had Rang De Basanti with the actor. The rancor between director Anusha Rizvi and producer Khan following Peepli [LIVE] is well-documented. Do the Khan’s perfectionist instincts sour these relationships? If so, we as the movie-goers are better for it. Keep at it Aamir, this fan thanks you for yet another satisfying movie. Whatever it is you are doing, you are doing it right!