Sunday, December 09, 2012

Aamir Khan's Talash: Too many cooks spoil the broth

Zoya Akthar and Reema Kagti have done the story and screenplay, Farhan Akthar has done the dialogues, Anurag Kashyap wrote the additional dialogues. Reema Kagti directed the film. Too many intelligent people have tried to make this movie. So, it veers from being crime thriller to a supernatural mystery. The crime and supernatural bits are welded together. Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee, 14 years after their magical pairing in "Ghulam"in 1998, come together and the magic is missing. Kareena Kapoor quite dominates the frames but not quite. The underworld and the sleazy world, the rich class with its dirty connections are supposed to provide the meat. There is a film world connection as well. There is an eerie reminder towards the end of the movie of the first scene from Guru Dutt's iconic film, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. And there is a hint of the Bermuda Triangle in a manner of speaking. And you are left wondering as to what the film is all about. Of course there have been murder mysteries with a supernatural angle in the Hindi films of the 1960s but there the storyline was simple and there were not too many complications. So Talash fails to impress despite the presence of stars like Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor. They have some sensitive roles to play but then the story riddled with too much detail does not give them any scope. And in the style of semi-art film, none of the major characters sing a song.
There is an attempt to capture the detail of the city of Bombay but it does not succeed too well. The panoramic view of the city when it slips into night and the lights come on in countless buildings and homes gives a glimpse of the magic that the city is, but the city never comes alive. But the city is photographed well. It looks like that Talash has everything that a reasonably good film should have -- stars, story, direction and photography, a tight screenplay, crisp dialogue ('off ho gaya'to describe the death of a character is a fine example of demotic wit )-- but it does not seem to work. It is like the machine whose components are all in place but the machine does not whirr or hum.

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