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Before analyzing the movie, I just wish to state one thing. You haven't watched a suspense thriller like TALAASH on the Hindi screen. Ever. Also, all those sms-es prior to the release pertaining to the 'killer' are humbug, bogus and phony.
Another clarification. TALAASH is not remotely similar to KAHAANI. A lot of space was devoted to the imaginary tale that TALAASH and KAHAANI were similar in nature. But you realize it's an ill-founded rumor as the reels of TALAASH unfold. It's also alleged that TALAASH borrows from a novella called 'Act Of Providence'. Then there's an assumption that TALAASH borrows from SHUTTER ISLAND...
Similarities apart, TALAASH stands on its feet for the reason that it merges conspiracy, tension and tragedy with dexterousness. Add to it the turn of events, the razor sharp dialogue and of course, the suspense... TALAASH takes the suspense angle to a new altitude altogether, emerging into an exceptionally constructed mystery.
Aamir Khan plays an investigation officer, Inspector Shekhawat, who is informed about the accident and subsequent death of a superstar. The case turns into a life altering chase for Inspector Shekhawat when he is forced to reel under the repercussions of a disturbed married life [Rani Mukherji] and come face to face with his suppressed grief.
Being on his investigative quest, Inspector Shekhawat meets a sex worker [Kareena Kapoor], who further adds shades of mystery to the puzzle. What looks like a simple car accident investigation turns into a haunting mystery as further investigations show many anomalies were stringed to the death of the victim.
TALAASH is dramatic and absorbing, both. Director Reema Kagti takes up an attention-grabbing premise and along with co-writer Zoya Akhtar spins a tale that makes the viewer a participant of sorts. While the cop tries hard to solve the jigsaw puzzle, the spectator, with his mind wide alert by now, gets intrigued by what he observes and perceives and is keen to get to the bottom of the mystery himself/herself. That, in my opinion, is why this suspense drama works. Frankly, it's the sort of film that's extremely tough to pull off, but Reema has a strong control of the material and together with her efficient team pulls off the trick with aplomb and composure.
In addition, Reema creates the right ambiance essential for a suspense drama. The tale is stylishly told and the authentic mood keeps you on the edge of the seat for most part of those two hours. TALAASH is not one of those movies that relies on the been-there-seen-that kind of situations. I'd like to add that though there's a remote possibility that you may solve the mystery before the protagonist gets to it in the finale, you can't help but stay hooked and wrapped to the twisted characters and disturbing situations that TALAASH offers.
The finale, sure enough, is all important in a film of this genre. In this case, it's astonishing, powerful and also heartrending. It ends up as an emotional film that tugs at your heartstrings. The film delves into deep, dark secrets and that makes the conclusion one of the most satisfying wrap ups one has witnessed in a movie of this variety. I could just go on and on about the merits of the film, but I shall not reveal any further and spoil the fun for you. I suggest, experience it yourself!
The production design and the detailing attached to the movie couldn't be more authentic and adds incredible value to the project. Visually too, the frames capture the nervousness and uneasiness of the characters and also the setting with aplomb [DoP: Mohanan]. The music [Ram Sampath] is situational. The songs may not feature on your fav list, but a couple of numbers are fascinating nonetheless. In fact, the songs are well integrated in the narrative, driving the story forward every time they appear. The dialogue [Fahan Akhtar; additional dialogue: Anurag Kashyap] are taut and transfixing.
Though Aamir has portrayed the role of a cop earlier, he brings something new to the table with his spellbinding performance in TALAASH. The earnestness and authenticity with which he enacts his character cannot be expressed in a few sentences. That would be doing gross injustice to the actor's abilities, frankly. He holds the camera in every frame and charges assertively through the film, making you believe in Inspector Shekhawat's journey in entirety. It's a standout piece of acting, unquestionably. That Aamir is the best actor of his generation comes to the fore yet again!
Both Rani and Kareena are given a moment in the sun, despite Aamir dominating the film with a power-packed performance. Rani is superb as the troubled wife, while Kareena is terrific as the hooker. Together the two actresses deliver admirable performances that would definitely merit a mention in award ceremonies next year. The sequences between Aamir and Kareena in particular are simply fantastic!
Nawazuddin Siddiqui sparkles in a significant role, enacting his part with remarkable ease. Raj Kumar Yadav is efficient enough. Shernaz Patel leaves a stunning impact. Every actor in the film -- in a brief role or otherwise -- stays fresh in your memory after the screening has concluded.
On the whole, TALAASH is an outstanding film. A taut psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the end, it leaves you spellbound, leaves you mesmerized, leaves you with an exclamation, 'Wow!'. An absolute must watch for all movie buffs. You just can't afford to miss this one!
4 1/2 star
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