“Taalash ... search for the demons within”
I always have had a complaint against Aamir Khan! Even though he holds entitlement to half a dozen thoughtful movies that have been top grossers in the Industry, still he plays safe...whether it is 3 Idiots or Lagaan or Dil Chahta Hain. They were all fabulous movies, but very formulae driven...very black & white, and lacked grey; well, exception is Rang de Basanti ...but then it was not just an ‘Aamir Khan’ flick. But with ‘Taalash’, I wouldn’t have that complaint against him anymore! While watching the movie, the thought that crossed me was, “did he know how the movie will turn out to be, the way he seems to do for every of his movie? ... no, for once he was unsure...he took a chance with being grey” ...and the last twenty minutes convinced me that I was right! ...but more of that, later.
Labelling Taalash as a who-dun-it would be too simplistic nor it is a thriller; it is about exorcising ghosts! Yes, the ghosts that lie within the characters and which has manifested in the form of hatred, fear, greed, vengeance and the other ghosts as in “Ghosts” who are just another extra-human extensions.
There are two stories running at a parallel with a cop as protagonist– Surjan Shekhawat (he is a Rajput cop once again after Sarfarosh) in common. The irony is that the cop is staunchly against anything to do with the ‘other world’ consciously but gets pulled into it in his subconscious.; why I say ‘subconscious’ is perfectly summed up in a dialogue delivered by Rosie played by Ms. Kapoor
“Jo hain hi nahin, wo gaayab kaise ho sakte hain”
... so were the clues to the mystery delivered by non-existent Rosie, whose mortal remains were lying in one corner near the sea? or was it the cop’s subconscious leading him to all the answers...after all the lady only left him with riddles and no definitive answer. Another parallel – Shekhawat’s personal tragedy involves water and so does this case, which helps him to address his ghosts within. I think it’s a well written character for sure. One can’t help but feel that he played it very similar to how he did in Sarfarosh, but with a more brooding touch and less intensity. For a man who’s hard-hit by insomnia and work is his only reason of existence, he could have been more intense. The scenes with the dead actor’s wife and his best-friend lacked inspiration; the scenes where he deals with loss and the ones with Rosie were Uno Perfecto!
Rani Mukherjee delivered what can be called ‘just right’, Roshni, the housewife left to deal with her own misery. A lovely touch - she was shown wearing a pair of jeans and an embroidered blouse, the afternoon her son drowned...the last time she was happy...and for the rest of the movie she wore muted coloured sarees...a corner of the pallu tucked in her blouse, something quintessentially Bengali women do to prevent the saree from slipping...not sure if that touch was apt for the character she played...but then, they didn’t reveal her community.
Rosie, the prostitute dazzled from the word go! Kareena Kapoor played her exaggerated self...the extra bit added by mouthing obscenities once in a while. She looked every bit luscious in every frame!
The layers added in the first half were not done justice to as the story meandered through the second. It boiled down to predictable clichés and conformist treatment at the end...signs that the creators panicked and worried about the box-office! The dark world of prostitutes was shown with the usual touches, and type-casted characters.
Writing about Taalash won’t be complete if I don’t mention him and the sheer brilliance he projected on screen: Nawazuddin Siddiqui was a treat to watch as the lame pimp, rightly named “Taimur” ...predictable? no, I just found it funny! And in a small but significant role, Sheeba Chaddha as Nirmala, another streetcar....one just can’t take eyes off her while she is on screen ...theatre, I say!
The brilliant score by Ram Sampath and poetry by Javed Akhtar feels much more relevant while you watch the movie than, when you’d just listen to it.
Way to go girls – Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar for trying to tell a different story...a story of ghosts, within and outside, for bringing out the beauty of the Bombay in the night; Having said that, I wish that you did justice to the layers and greyness that you had created initially, after all the best-friend of the dead-man need not have be the culprit necessarily. Vengeance is beautiful and it can be crafted even more beautifully with a more justified motivation from the avenger ....
oh one more thing before I draw this piece to a close; Rosie sounds so close to Roshni, wondering if there’s something more to it...could it be again Surjan Shekhawat’s imagination ...after all the woman’s actual name was Simran? As Rosie aka Simran rightly said “Jo hain hi nahin, wo gaayab kaise ho sakte hain” ...!!