My blood group is C+ve. And i don’t mean the Hindi cuss word that starts with “C”. Because there’s no other explanation for me getting so restless about films and going to bed peacefully only after i have chased all the possible “sources” to know what the films (or its spoilers) are about. Blame it on occupational hazard, or maybe am in this occupation because of the same blood group. Also, because for me, films are more about “how they happen” and not “what happens”.
Nothing to boast about but i knew about the so called big twist of Talaash almost a year back. Though i had my doubts about it but everything related to the film was pointing in the same direction. And a year is a long time to make peace with the “ghostly” fact. As the release date of Talaash was near, i was travelling out of country. Curious that i am, got in touch with a friend who was watching the film much before anyone else. I asked him if he can let me know as soon as he is done with it. He saw it, liked it, and said, he is not going to tell me the spoilers. I told him, i am going to tell him what i know, and he just has to say yes or no. I asked him about the big twist. He said, yes, but how do you know? Well, the first rule is you never reveal your sources. Aha, much relief after waiting for a year. I quickly tweeted that yes, yes, yes, it’s the same twist that we knew since a year back. At least the C+ souls like me will get a good night’s sleep finally.
I saw the film almost a week after its release. And i have concluded that if you know the twist, the film works in a much better way. And there are many reasons for it. First, the pitch. The makers tried to keep the per-release campaign quite low-key because of the fear that the twist might get out due to over-exposure. Everything pointed out that it’s a thriller or suspense drama. The font of the print campaign started becoming bigger with the countdown – TRUTH will be out in 5…4…3….2…1 day. You can’t blame anyone when everyone saw the same story in the promotions – a cop chasing the death of a film star. He has to crack the case. So what is the TRUTH? The big twist? Now, if the baggage comes down to the fact that Kareena is a ghost who guides Aamir Khan’s character to crack the case, it seems straight out of @OMGFacts, or evn LOL-Facts. It’s easy to dismiss it when you have invested so much in the case which looks so real, and with such great mood that creates the world around it and builds the prefect pace. Ghost? That’s a joke, that’s so flimsy! The writers could not think of anything else?
Now, imagine if the film was pitched to you as “supernatural drama”. You are prepared for it and it’s much to easy to accept it that way. But i think the writers of the film did set up the track of Rani Mukerjee quite well to give you a hint in which direction the film was heading. It wasn’t like a pop-up music video. I can’t say with full confidence but i think i would have still liked it if i had no clue about the twist.
Show me a man who was shattered by the unnatural death of a loved one, and has made peace with it without doing anything unnatural. Shit happens, and then we find our ways to cope with it. I am an atheist but i have seen/heard/experienced things which are difficult to explain and impossible to believe. They remain unanswered and life goes on till another death comes knocking.
Also, when you don’t know the twist, you are waiting for the big revelation in the end. The problem is the fashion in which we have been conditioned to watch films – the theory of “end me kya hota hai?” But Talaash is much more than that. And you can focus on the rest, which is so gorgeous, once the twist is out of your way. In fact, that’s not even the film. It’s about a couple coming to terms with the loss of their kid. Both take different routes to trace that piece of peace. The murder case is purely incidental. But the sad part is you won’t waste you weekend to watch a couple coming to terms with the death of their loved ones. Will you? You need coke, corn and crap on screen for your weekend outing. So most probably they decided to hook you with that “murder mystery” pitch. And i must admit that’s it gives me a kind of sadistic pleasure to know that you have been cheated.
And in a good way, it also reminded me of an all time favourtive film of mine – Umesh Kulkarni’s Vihir. Because love, loss, death, water, wandering souls, and peace – the motifs are the same here. If you still haven’t seen it, WATCH IT!
Without any doubt, Talaash is one of the best directed films of the year. Mohanan’s photography with Sampath’s music creates such a compelling mood. The tone is set as soon as the credit roll begins with those invisible faces and characters that bollywood doesn’t give a fuck about even though they are at every signal in this city. Rani Mukerjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Yadav, Sheeba Chaddha, Aditi Vasudev and Subrat Datta – all of them are in top form here. You are hooked to it till the interval happens, and then Cinemax Versova killed the mood for me by playing commercials for at least 30minutes. Had to go out and shout at the manager to start the film post-interval.
Another criticism i have heard so far is that the film scratches the surface, and it doesn’t go any deep. Aha, i have always believed that it entirely depends on you – how you want to read the film. If you can’t scratch beyond the surface, don’t put the blame on the film and the filmmaker always. Instead click here and read the best piece on the film.
I might not be a fan of Aamir Khan but you have to appreciate the choices he makes. He believes in them and pulls it off. Compare it to the films of others A-list stars of Bollywood. What are they doing? What are the delivering? All the focus is on 100-crore these days. And when it’s so much easy to deliver that with cheap crap-corn-cola, why put so much effort and take a risk? Respect for that.
Also, am wondering if it’s high time to divide Excel’s films into Farhan Akhtar Films and Zoya Akhtar/Reema Kagti Films. Someone compared Kartik Calling Kartik to Talaash on twitter and said KCK was better. I tried hard to control my laughter. That film had much more baggage on its twist and it was a (chinese?) joke in the end. And, remember Game – their another venture in similar space? Don’t have words in my dictionary to describe that garbage. Not sure why, but i feel these films belong to Farhan Akhtar who has been on a downhill since his brilliant debut, Dil Chahta Hai. But the ladies are trying new things and pulling it off with so much ease – Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, Luck By Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and now, Talaash. To quote another favourite dialogue of the year, Farhan Baba, tumse na hoga ab, rehne do. Bus acting hi kar lo.
(PS – Can we please nominate Aamir’s eyebrows for performance of the year? Though his moustache was vying hard for attention but my vote goes for the eyebrows.)
– Posted by @CilemaSnob