Now, I was waiting to write this note for a long time. And the only reason that I went on procrastinating the same is because I knew I would end up revealing the plot points. That’s a cardinal sin, considering the fact that “Talaash” has been touted as a suspense drama. But, with almost a week over and the spoilers out on social networking sites, I thought it’s an apposite time to come up with this post. Okay, two things to be clarified before we move ahead: (a) if you haven’t watched the film and plan to watch it or you are a die-hard Aamir Khan fan who thinks AK can’t do anything wrong, then don’t read further; (b) this is not a review of the film. Let me be very frank, I find it a decent film, but I am here to reveal the several script inconsistencies of the film which has been heralded by many a reputable critic who have seen “blockbuster” written all over it!
Agreed, the film looks good, though nowadays most films are well shot. If that were a criterion, “Raavan” should receive all the accolades in the world. Unfortunately, films aren’t just about visual splendour but what they need most is a script. Reema Kagti & Zoya Akhtar, the “best friends” who co-wrote the script (well, they also wrote one of my super favourites ZNMD, which the latter directed) tried to put in so much in this film that it never really becomes a film about one thing. After all, what in the freaking world, is the hoopla about prostitutes, black-mailing pimps, a lame man trying to save his middle-aged overweight hooker girlfriend, when the story is primarily about a ghost avenging her death.
The biggest problem with Talaash is that it’s extremely insincere. The makers never figured out as to what should be the right approach – an intricate suspense thriller, about a couple’s irreplaceable loss or a horror story. Sadly, the film just turned out to be none of them. The suspense in it is more predictable than what dvd Sanjay Gupta would choose for his next film, the pain in it is less heart-rending than Mohit Ahlawat’s eyes in “James” and the horror is less scary than Haunted’s tharki bhoot. That is so sad because not only do they have a motley of fabulous actors but also an analogy between a pained spirit and two parents suffering from the aftermath of their child’s death is such a brilliant idea.
Whenever an Aamir Khan film is in the offing, we are told that he went through extensive research for the same – after all, he is the perfectionist! Supposedly he practised for 3 months to swim in the climax scene. And going by that, I am sure he spent at least half a year practising how to play an insomniac. Yet, we see neither any frailness in his health nor dark circles under his eyes; where his character could have been as spooky as Christian Bale’s in “The Machinist” – Aamir looks a saner version of what he looked in Ghajini. We are said that he is depressed, but he seems depressed only when he is at home or rather, when he is with his wife. Now, that’s possible considering that the discomfort generally increases when one is with the person who knows one’s secrets the most. But then, he also invites friends for meals and subordinates for drinks. So, he is not an exceptionally pained man as we are made to believe, he is just as sad as anyone of us who goes through a particular traumatic experience and is averse to being reminded about it. Then, we are said that he is an “encounter specialist” – and there isn’t even one encounter in the entire film. Forget that, there isn’t one moment when he even comes close to shooting someone. Maybe it was a scare attempt but given everything in the film is dubious, the sincerity of that line remains questionable to me.
Nawaazuddin Siddiqui is undoubtedly the most brilliant portrayal in the film. But one only wonders why there was so much footage to given his character when he was just a sidekick. Well, the best guess would be his histrionic capabilities. However, what makes even more worthy of scrutiny is the way he dies. After the chase sequence that starts off at Churchgate, the limping Tehmur climbs railings, rolls on the wheel-board (reminding me of Mazhar Khan from SHAAN), enters a SoBo railway station, swaps bags and then gets caught by running out of station. Super-lame, isn’t it? If he had swapped bags, why did he have to walk out of the station and get trapped? Shouldn’t he have just waited on the platform, maybe far from Nirmala (Sheeba Chaddha), and hopped on to the next train? Given the frequency of trains on Western Line, it would have been faster, he would have escaped, and even if he were caught, the ensuing chaos could have let people intervene and prevent him from being killed. At the most, he would have been taken to police, which is more unlikely, for the people chasing him were goons as well. Plus, the bag was also empty, so he couldn’t have been convicted either. And then comes his voice-over telling Nirmala how she should escape even if he doesn’t arrive at the station? What is with the sacrificial love story of Tehmur? Well, maybe the makers went deep and thought of putting a humanitarian aspect to the story where everyone apparently looks selfish. Now think, how does Tehmur die?
He is taken to the roof of the under-construction building – how we don’t know, for there were tons of people working downstairs – the same who protested at his death! And then Tehmur is shot! Thrice, in his chest! And he dies? Whoa! He does not. The way he reacts to the bullets, I seriously thought, the goons played a trick to deceive Sanjay Kejriwal. But then blood started oozing out, and I realised the bullets were real. However, Tehmur still doesn’t die. So, how is he killed? After being hit with 3 bullets into his chest, Tehmur stands up, indifferent to the injuries (apparently quite trivial to him) and sees the Ghost. So, he feels frightened, staggers backwards and falls off the building. Roflmao!
And so, here my friends, I introduce you to the most ravishing ghost we have ever seen on celluloid – Rosie aka Simran aka Kareena Kapoor! According to the back story, Simran the hooker had died in an accident and became a ghost to avenge her death! The question that comes up here is, what was she doing for 3 years? Planning her revenge? She is the female ghost version of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan – scheming her ploy to get back at her killers, well unintentional though. However, when it comes to killing them, all she has to do is appear before their cars, and the people would have anyways taken their vehicles off the road and into the sea! For a simplistic plan like that, she waited 3 years, wow! So, who were the killers – the actor Armaan Kapoor, his friend Sanjay Kejriwal, the pimp Shashi and the limping man-Friday of Shashi – Tehmur. Jab log usske ek darshan se mar jaate hai, phir woh teen saal kya kar rahi thi? Plus, she is a bhoot – she can take a knife and stab the people who killed her – or maybe use magical powers and get them hanging from ceiling. But she seemed to have no such intent. To top it, she didn’t feel like killing Shashi – who was more directly involved than Tehmur. And even when she killed Tehmur, it was after he was already shot. So, do her powers work only when someone is on the verge of death? No, the film doesn’t say that really.
Maybe there is an explanation to all the time pass that Rosie was doing over the years. Because she was Simran, and she knew she had to get into the skin of Rosie, she was practising hard, knowing well that she would meet Aamir Khan – who believes in practice and research!
Go back to the scene where Kareena Kapoor is introduced. Present Day: after Armaan Kapoor’s death – Rosie is seen sitting in the room with other hookers, decked up like them, with a sullen face, listening to Tehmur rant. Kyun bhai? Okay, by the way, she is also an antaryaami. For she was sitting with 3 other hookers, knowing well that there was space for only 3 of them in the cab – which means she was aware that Shashi would replace Nirmala with her. Why was she listening to Tehmur’s bakar, why did she need to get into the cab and why did she need space inside the cab? So, then Rosie sits in the taxi and maaro-es a dialogue to Shashi, knowing well that the latter wouldn’t hear her! Kyun? Itni velli bhoot, by god, maine life mein kabhi nahi dekha! Well, Rosie / Simran being a ghost, didn’t have to earn money for her living alright, but why go around talking and whiling away, for no reason. Then, in another scene Tehmur and Nirmala are discussing their escape plan and Simran / Rosie is seen eavesdropping. Isn’t she a ghost? Why does she need to hide and eavesdrop on conversations – and why does she need to know their escape plan?
Then comes the two ultimate red herrings. Because I had guessed Kareena is a ghost well before the interval, I was waiting to see how the makers would unravel it. Suddenly, the makers place the interval scene where Kareena is with Nawaaz and she says another dialogue – and I am left scratching my stubble – thinking, “okay, so she is not a ghost!” The makers had thrown one more misleading line at the beginning of the film – where they mention the A-list file and how there have been similar accidents on the same street. Now, Armaan Kapoor was the first in line to die among Rosie’s murderers. So, whatever “similar accidents” had happened couldn’t have had any connection to Rosie / Simran. So, all ghosts kill their murderers on the Sea Face Road?
And then we come to the backbone of the story – how Aamir loses his mind and starts seeing Rosie. Now the reason behind his mental imbalance is fine. But the story doesn’t really justify how he starts seeing the ghost. For the ghost can appear before anyone she wants to. One has to realise that any movie that deals into a psychological crisis and brings in the element of schizophrenia or dissociative disorder, the figment of imagination can only be visible with the protagonist. Think about Fight Club – Brad Pitt is visible only in scenes where we have Edward Norton. Hence, to make it a psychological story, it would have been mandatory to have Kareena only in scenes with Aamir. Though they did the car and elevator gimmick, it was just not enough – because Kareena was made visible to the audience even in scenes where there was no Aamir. That’s blasphemy of the entire genre! You can’t have the imaginary character visible to audience because then you are making it exist. When you show a Rosie standing behind a wall and listen Tehmur and Nirmala converse, you are belying not only the entire fundamental of the genre but also what you told the audience yourself. For the movie preached through Shernaz Patel’s messenger character that the ghost is visible only to those who are deeply pained – so every member of the audience is also equally traumatised is it? And it is not Sixth Sense, which is a movie about the spirit’s journey with the kid.
What started off as intricate mystery turned out to be man’s story of crisis and anguish! Till then, we were all fine. But, in the concluding reels, everything is left aside and we are forced to believe how ghosts can interact with people in immense grief and can take revenge from those who wronged them. And that’s where, my friend, the film becomes crap, thereby deserving the title “Chudail Ka Badla” more than “Talaash”.
Please note: I have nothing against Aamir Khan the actor. On the contrary, I think he is one of the best ones that we have. I am appalled by the audacity of the makers who touted it as the suspense film of the year. And the fact that Aamir Khan decided to produce it is even more surprising than SRK doing Ra One! I would conclude the post by making a sincere request to Excel Entertainment. You guys have given us memorable films in the youth – friendship & coming of age genre – with DCH, Lakshya, Rock On & ZNMD! I know you guys really love thrillers and have made Karthik Calling Karthik, Game, Don & now Talaash to express your love. But you need better scripts, guys! While DON was a remake, KCK was the only sincere film. Please choose a better script next time. Or if you have a good story like Talaash, please stop it from spreading the raita all over the place.