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Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Nawazudin Siqqiui, Shernaz Patel, Rajkumar Yadav
Director: Reema Kagti
Indian Express Rating: **1/2
The first half of 'Talaash' is good enough for you not to want to blink. The atmospheric thriller, top lining an angst-ridden cop, his hollow-eyed sad sack of a wife and a stunning street-walker, has you hooked right from its lovely opening credits. In short order,all the right ingredients arrive :an accidental death, promising sub-plots, and dodgy characters, and it all starts to swing. Post-interval, though, the tale-telling starts to stutter, the pace slackens, and the film becomes less than the zinger it set out to be.
As Surjan Shekhawat (Khan) delves deeper into a Bollywood star's mysterious death-by-drowning, it is clear that he's going down the path where appearances will be deceptive. His search leads him to a red- light area, sleazy pimps, haggard hookers and bags full of blackmail money.
The 'talaash' also makes him double back on his troubled personal life : his wife, Roshini (Mukherji) is slowly recovering from the trauma of a dead child, a strange woman (Patel) who claims to be able to talk to dead spirits is stalking him, and the only one holding out a hint of solace through his wakeful nights is good-time girl Rosie (Kapoor). Other characters show up, chief amongst them being a young cop-cum-sidekick (Yadav), a one-legged dogsbody (Siddiqi) who stumbles upon a lead, a rich guy with a secret, a pimp with a stash, and a worn-out whore who wants to run.
It begins all nicely grungy-pulpy and let's-see-what-happens-now, with lilting music that matches the mood even if it underlines it a tad. Kagti, whose previous debut outing was that little gem 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd', keeps it moving, skillfully segueing from one element to another so rapidly that you reach the half-way mark without even realizing it.