Talaash

 

There are no mysteries in the age of social media…

Pic source: Wikipedia

Pic source: Wikipedia

Before you read any further: I have tried to keep this post spoiler-free and basic plot points mentioned here are already shown in the film’s trailers. However, if you are going to watch the film regardless of the reviews, I recommend reading this or any other review after you’ve seen it.

Talaash may not be the best thriller we have seen this year (my vote goes to Kahaani) but I am glad the makers (Excel Entertainment, Aamir Khan Productions and Reliance Entertainment) tried to attempt something different with the movie. It has an interesting story, great performances by the cast and an unexpected ending, which thanks to loud-mouths on social media got ruined for many including me. I feel bad for everyone who could have enjoyed the film more if they did not know about the big twist in the end. In the age of Twitter and BBM, it is a challenge for filmmakers also to make suspense thrillers that can stay strong despite the spoiler getting leaked out.

Coming back to Talaash, it is decent film that gets many things right but does not keep you at the edge of your seat. People have been complaining about its slow pace, but it worked for me; writer-director, Reema Kagti (screenplay with Zoya Akhtar) creates a mood that brings together the eeriness of a murder mystery with the personal grief that her main protagonists are going through. Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) and his wife, Roshni (Rani Mukerji) are unable to cope with their 8-year-old son’s accidental death, which strains their marriage. Surjan’s investigation of a high-profile death case contributes to his personal troubles as he finds himself drawn to an unlikely friend, a prostitute named Rosie (Kareena Kapoor). Surjan and Roshni’s story is probably the strongest part of the film; their grief is portrayed sensitively by the two actors, especially Rani who has got a role that exploits her talent after very long. Kareena is also good in the film and I hope she continues to choose interesting characters like this, rather than insignificant roles in mega-blockbuster masala films. Regarding Aamir, he is excellent as a cop tormented by his own demons – on one hand he is a tough police officer and on the other a hapless father. Kudos to the casting director (Nandini Shrikent) for also getting a talented supporting cast on board including Shernaz Patel and Nawazuddin Siddiqui – now this man is a chameleon – from a revenge seeking gangster in Gangs of Wasseypur 2 to a pimp’s right-hand man in Talaash, he is a delight to watch.

With superlative performances by all the actors and an interesting plot, Talaash starts on a promising note but does not confuse the audience enough to make it an exciting affair. Surjan keeps finding clue after clue and the film moves in a straight line till the ‘unexpected’ climax. Now, I had a rough idea about the final twist but I was able to piece things together within the first ten minutes of the film. The makers relied too much on the twist, which also is not entirely a fresh idea. Because I had a clue to the end, I may not be completely fair to the film but it is a lukewarm thriller and the murder mystery unfolds in a dull manner, except the surprise element in the end.

Music by Ram Sampath goes well with the mood of the film but is not outstanding (why do most big releases this year have just about average music?) Cinematography by Mohanan is nice and he uses a dull color tone to give a dark and gloomy feel to Mumbai in the film.

Talaash is certainly a one-time watch for the actors’ performances and you may enjoy it more if you don’t know the spoiler. So, go for it before someone tells it to you.

PS: I got my spoiler from a well-known journalist, Kushan Mitra (@KushanMitra) who inadvertently revealed similarities to a Hollywood film on Twitter. So-called actor, producer, Kamaal R Khan (@KamaalRKhan) also tweeted spoilers to the film.

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Delhi Belly

If profanities offend you, please do not read any further…

Pic: UTV, Aamir Khan Productions

(Spoiler alert: basic plotline shared in the post)

Delhi Belly is a story of three fuckers, Tashi (Imran Khan), Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapur) and Arup (Vir Das) who stay in a shithole in Delhi. Tashi likes to think he’s a serious journalist stuck doing fuck-all feature reporting. He has a dominating girlfriend, Sonya (Shenaz Treasury) but also gets attention from a fellow reporter with an American accent, Menaka (Poorna Jagannathan). Arup is a graphic designer in an advertising agency and doesn’t have the balls to stand up to his mean boss or his witch of a girlfriend. Nitin is a photo-journalist who plans to blackmail his landlord with sleazy pictures of him with a whore, to avoid paying the rent. Shit happens when the three get accidentally involved in a diamond smuggling racket and deliver shit (literally) to a don (Vijay Raaz).

If you do not approve of the language in the paragraph above, then please do not waste your time and money on Delhi Belly. I am not saying that the film’s only highlight is the coarse language but it is what gets the most laughs; and I haven’t used any of the Hindi cuss words the film is peppered with. Delhi Belly is certainly more than the swear words used in its dialogue but its strength is the smart writing (Akshat Verma). The film does not focus on one central character but the ridiculous situations the three room-mates find themselves in. The writer uses shock factor well, whether it’s the language or the numerous farts or the suggested blow-jobs! While the urban Indian audience is used to all this with films like The Hangover but it is certainly shocking for a Bollywood mainstream film to be so daring. The good thing is that the director, Abhinay Deo manages to keep the film light and entertaining and not let it become offensive.

All the actors have done a good job, especially Kunaal Roy Kapur and Vir Das. Kunaal actually has the title role and his expressions on the commode are priceless (and equally disgusting, coupled with the fart sound effects). The girls are good too but the real show-stealer is Vijay Raaz, who apart from being a superb actor, abuses so well that he can be awarded an honorary doctorate in profanities. I am not a big Imran Khan fan but he did a fine job in the film.

Coming back to the shock factor, Delhi Belly’s music also contributes with songs like ‘Bhaag D K Bose D K Bose’,Jaa Chudail’ and ‘Shake Your Biscuit Baby’ (Music by Ram Sampath; lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya, Munna Dhiman, Ram Sampath, Akshat Verma and Chetan Shashital). Music is enjoyable and thankfully plays in the background without disturbing the film’s flow except ‘Jaa Chudail’ that brings back the dream-sequence phenomenon. The much talked about item song by the film’s producer, Aamir Khan comes in the end but wasn’t really required. Cinematography by Jason West is first rate and Huzefa Lokhandwala (editor) maintains the film’s fast pace and crisp length.

There are some scenes in the film where you feel they’re trying too hard to appear cool but you quickly forget that with the next scene. Overall, Delhi Belly is a fun film to watch and it is refreshing to see our Censor board growing up. Go watch it but not with your parents 😉

My rating: * * * ½ Three and a half on five

– Shrey Khetarpal