So is ‘Talaash’ anything like ‘Kahaani’, you may ask. Yes, in the way all thrillers would be like each other. But otherwise, no. ‘Talaash’ shows a different canvas, paints a different mood. A no-frills taut plot, a gripping even pace, a limited character palette, some surreal moments, ‘Talaash’ is consistent as a thriller. In fact its slow, measured to-the-point story telling is its greatest strength, even if it starts giving away the plot towards the end.
The bizarre death of an actor Armaan Kapoor sets off the story. Newly transferred Inspector Surjan Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) gets on the case. The officer and his wife Roshni (Rani Mukerji) are still settling down into their new house and battling with the loss of their only son in another freak accident a year or so ago.
The tragedy and the ensuing parental guilt about it has also brought in a lot of emotional distance in the couple. His investigations of the actor’s death bring Suri to the red light precincts of the city and in particular proximity to prostitute Rosie (Kareena Kapoor).
Even as the prostitute helps him get closer to solving the actor’s death case, Suri realizes he is distancing himself farther from his wife. The case too is getting more and more elusive to nail. Bas! Without giving away the suspense, that is all one can say about the plot.
Reema’s film is somber, sensitive but above all controlled. She manages to portray the juxtaposition of Shekhawat’s personal and professional dilemma with empathy and ease. Ram Sampath’s background score is gritty just like the underbelly setting of the film.
And he thankfully avoids the standard scare-by-sound techniques most composers use for thrillers. The performances too are excellent. Nawazuddin, the find of the season, does a swell job as the crippled conniving Taimur. Aamir’s Surjan is always leashed, stingy with his humour as well as anger but utterly superb as the pivot of the film.
Rani Mukerji has a layered complex character which she plays faultlessly. Her grief is tangible and her angry outbursts heart-rending. Kareena has a flatter, glitzier part but she is also flawless. (The actresses may conclude that it is better to do one supporting role in a film like this than a thousand main roles in films like Heroine and ‘Aiyya’.) Except for their get-ups. Which young housewife wears cotton sarees teamed with low-cut blouses at home?
Also, not matter how much eye-glitter she wears, Kareena does not look like a low-class hooker. At the most, she looks like a SoBo college student just having discovered the marvels of make-up. But these are just cosmetic reasons. Otherwise, the film is definitely worth a watch.