My exposure to foreign films is extremely limited. I usually see the ones that everyone talks about after they have been out for a while like Oldboy, I Saw the Devil, or Trollhunter. Now I have been trying to get myself to watch more foreign films with actors I do not know and have new ideas for film/storytelling. Prior to Talaash I used to think only Bollywood movies came out of India (before the negative comments start I know that was a wrong assumption). Then I saw Talaash was playing at a theater near me so I checked out the trailer and saw no singing or dancing but what appeared to be a taut mystery/thriller. Having never seen an Indian movie in theaters this was going to be a different movie going experience for me.
A brief introduction to Talaash is as follows: Surjan Singh Sekhawat (Aamir Khan) is a well known and respected cop who is called to a scene of an accident where a popular actor mysteriously veered off the rope and crashed into the water. Digging deeper into the actor’s financial reveals unusually high withdrawals every year but no clue where the money was going. Sekhawat finds himself not able to sleep during the case while battling some personal issues. So on a late night drive to ponder the case, he crosses paths with Rosie (Kareena Kapoor), a prostitute he believes can lead him in the right direction while comforting him during a rough time with his wife, Roshini (Rani Mukerji). Click here for the trailer.
My introduction to Talaash may sound like nothing special but what makes it different is in its execution. Reema Kagti has directed one of the best mystery/thriller I have seen in years. There is so much depth to the story with lots of turns and it never loses pace. This can either be the downfall or aid for movies depending on one think, the development of the characters. In order for these twists and turns to have any effect on an audience, filmmakers have to make audiences care about the characters. Audiences that care about the characters want to follow their journey to the climax of the movie rather than jump to the climax or resolution. Kagti successfully crafts one of the most authentic troubled marriages I have ever seen on screen. The Sekhawat couple could not be more different in how they choose to cope with the death of their son which is a nice subplot to the bigger mystery of what happened to the actor and why.
It was fun to watch a movie about the mystery death of a famous actor when I had no clue who the actors were in Talaash and I can honestly say I will be looking for their names more in the future. Starting with Amir Khan as the trouble and determined Surjan Sekhawat. Khan does a really good job making Sekhawat appear to have a cold and calm exterior but deep down have a very tortured and tormented mind that is affecting his ability to solve the mystery. Kareena Kapoor as the prostitute that is helping Sekhawat to solve the crime as well as comfort his emotionally does a good job. She is not necessarily memorable for her performance but is definitely easy on the eyes. The best performance of the movie in my opinion belongs to Rani Mukerji (or Mukherjee) as Roshini. It would have been very easy for her character to be that annoying wife that constantly asks for her husband to just talk but you can see how patient she is with him and how she understands his means of dealing with it even as their marriage suffers because of it. This builds up to the ultimate meltdown where she finally confronts Sekhawat, a fantastic scene from Mukerji.
Being that this was my first Indian movie experience I learned a lot about how it differs from the usual movie experience here in the U.S. The previews for one are pretty interesting. I am so used to seeing the green background with the white writing saying “The Following Preview Has Ben Approved for All Audiences” and instead saw a very detailed information about the trailer to come including its duration! Then once the previews ended there were a list of “partners” whose products were placed throughout the movie. It was nice to see that upfront rather than in the credits.
Overall, Talaash was a fascinating movie experience for me. Both because Talaash was a great drama/mystery/thriller and what I learned about Indian cinema. Do not get turned off by the two hour and twenty minute runtime. This movie easily ranks as one of the best movies I have seen this year. I give Talaash a 9/10.