Wednesday 5 December 2012

Talaash, the 2012 Hindi Movie

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Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
Spoiler Alert! Reveals the plot and the mystery. Suggest that you watch the film first and then read this review! Talaash is a must-watch, one of the finest films that make you think.

The Hindi film, Talaash, is a quest to find out the truth and what's the ending. My friend always reads the last page of a murder mystery first to know Whodunit! But, the problem with Whodunit mystery movies is that- is the audience willing to keep the secret 'gupt' and make the rest of the junta enjoy the movie & allow the producers to laugh all the way to the bank?! Keeping a secret is tough in this age of ‘Breaking News’, Social Media & Internet. Earlier for 'Gupt' movie, there was the spoilsport sms that asked everyone not to reveal that Kajol is the killer!!! 

Wish the audience goes to watch the thrilling roller-coaster ride of emotions and investigations that is Talaash. Even if you know Whodunit, do watch it to revisit the clues; the Hollywood movie Inception earned repeat viewership this way. Definitely worth a dekko. Don’t miss it. 
By the way, did you know that this movie’s namesake had released in 2003? Talaash: The Hunt Begins starred Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor!

Talaash: The Answer Lies Within is a suspense drama Bollywood film. It deals with ‘encounter specialist’ Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat /Suri’s (Aamir Khan) Talaash of cracking the Whodunit mystery around the accidental death of a film star, Armaan Kapoor. The sudden car-accident is strange and sensational as the hero’s car literally dives into the water. Suri’s Talaash makes him realize ‘Muskane Jhooti hain, Pehchane Jhooti hain’, aptly summed up by the title song. Suri and his wife Roshni (Rani Mukherji) have just shifted their home and are still grappling with their personal tragedy of losing their only son, Karan (Jineet Rath) in a drowning accident for which Suri holds himself responsible. His guilt is so immense that he immerses himself into his work day and night. Like an insomniac & a man possessed, he is forever tracking this case with no time for his wife. Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), a call-girl, helps him by providing key info about the case. 

As Suri spends more time with Rosy, he discovers the truth. Just when you have started believing that Suri is in love with Rosy with ‘Jiya lagey na’ hinting at an extra-marital affair that even Roshni suspects, you are in for the Kahaani mein twist! ‘Jo hain hi nahi woh gayab kaise ho sakte hain?’ After surviving a similar jeep accident at the same spot, Suri realizes that Rosy is the ghost of Simran, who had died three years ago in a car-accident involving Armaan Kapoor and his two friends. He revisits his son's accident site, reads his letter, cries his heart out and reunites with his wife. ‘Aa hum dono jee bhar ke ro le, Jee le Zara…’ In short, Suri gets a life.

Superb acting by all the characters- The leads- Suri, Roshni, Karan & Rosy; Local pimp Shashi; Shashi’s girl-friend Mallika; Temur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) as the limping & scheming know-it-all (Temur is a clever choice of name for the opportunist, perhaps smartly borrowed from historical character, Timur the Lame.); Temur’s love-interest, aging call-girl Nirmala; Frenny (Shernaz Patel) as the psychic who is the medium of Karan’s messages to his parents; Armaan Kapoor and his friends Sanjay and Nikhil; Armaan’s wife, Sonia Kapoor; Brothel’s Madam & call-girls; Suri’s support-staff...

Ram Sampath’s apt soundtrack and Javed Akhtar’s amazing lyrics leave a profound impression. Talaash is a must-watch with smart dialogues by Farhan Akhtar & Anurag Kashyap, taut screenplay & story by Reema Kagti & Zoya Akhtar, nice cinematography by Mohanan & crisp editing by Anand Subaya. But, the lady who shines is Reema Kagti. Hats off! I had loved Reema Kagti's first directorial venture, Honeymoon Travels Private Ltd where I especially loved the superhero & supergirl couple, a rarity in reality! In Talaash, I actually loved the mermaid supergirl scene! 

Also, I was relieved and delighted that Talaash has no extra-marital affairs- neither between Rosy & Suri nor Armaan Kapoor’s wife & his friend. I had a good laugh when Temur says he is very poor and does not have food to eat & just then his mobile phone rings! Talaash reminded me of those chilling ghost stories I had read especially Ruskin Bond’s.

Talaash is the Urdu word (translation) for "search".  Everyone has some Talaash in life.

Rosy’s Talaash is for avenging her death and for attaining salvation. Rosy helps the case by informing the whereabouts of erstwhile manager of Hotel Lido, Anand Murugan. Suffering from AIDS, he is counting his final days in his village. She also hints on leads about Shashi’s dead-body. Heeding to Rosy’s request, Suri rescues her friend Mallika from the brothel in style. Rosy is the lady on a mission as she attains 100% accuracy in causing accidental death or paralysis & finishing off all those who have messed with her, while the police explains them as ‘A Final’ cases. Rosy makes her presence felt to such people only when they are about to lose their lives- Armaan Kapoor, Sanjay, Temur… But, Temur can’t see her when he is making those ransom calls from a landline number to Sanjay, neither can Shashi when she says ‘Paseena kyun choot raha hai?’ inside the Taxi, after Armaan Kapoor’s death. Only Suri acknowledges her presence and holds conversations with her much to onlookers surprise or shock. Rosy seeks and helps the no-nonsense cop solve the case with ease and then even ensures his underwater rescue from the locked jeep. After all, Suri has to find answers and close her case and ultimately perform her last rites. Rosy’s Talaash is also for making Suri a believer and giving him a new life so that he lives again. 

Suri’s Talaash is for answers, for peace, for freedom from guilt…His guilt is sensitively dealt with. In his dreams, he keeps on diving into the water in search of his child’s body believing that he could have saved him. Karan’s dead-body or last rites are not shown in the film. But, considering that Suri is a policeman, he must have surely recovered his body. As he performed the last rites of Simran as per Hindu tradition, he must have surely done so for his own son too. He tells Rosy, ‘Main thak gaya hoon’. The human mind always tends to analyze what ‘could have been’. Here, Suri replays the ‘could have been scenes’ forbidding his son & his friend to venture alone- “Let’s play Checkers” or “Let me join you”. Either of the two choices would have ensured Karan’s safety. Suri can’t forgive himself for having dozed off. He feels Roshni also holds him responsible, a fact that Roshni denies as she has never thought on these lines. Like the child protagonist of the Hollywood film Sixth Sense, Suri was seeing a dead person…I wished Suri was able to see his son Karan instead of Rosy! That would be rosy! Just imagine if Suri was able to see all the other dead people in the film- Armaan Kapoor, Shashi, Temur…! Case solved!

Roshni feels their son’s death was an accident. Suri is not to be blamed for it, as even she had fallen asleep. She feels Suri is the one who needs the psychiatric, Dr.Punjabi’s, help as he does not open up or share his thoughts or grief with anyone, not even with her. Roshni does not take any of the medicines prescribed by the psychiatrist and yet starts living with Frenny’s messages from Karan. I especially liked the scene where Suri is mad at Roshni for visiting Frenny in spite of being ‘padhee-likhee’ and having taught Science subject and Roshni gives a power-packed reply. Roshni’s Talaash is for happiness, spending quality time with her hubby like old times, staying together like ‘Pati Patni’, accessing her son’s messages through the psychic medium, making Suri realize and believe…

Frenny’s Talaash is for Karan’s parents so that she can pass on his message to them and lessen their grief.

Temur’s Talaash is for easy wealth, settling with his lady-love and a better life far away from the brothel. Temur’s trick of throwing money to confuse & distract his chasers is akin to a scene in Ek Tha Tiger. Temur’s use of wheel-cart to flee on the bridge is something that Mazhar Khan's  character Abdul also does in Shaan movie. In Talaash movie, richest is Temur's girl-friend, Nirmala, who is richer by 50 lacs at the end!

Talaash has valuable lessons for all.

Parents- Don’t leave your kids unattended. Be extra cautious while taking additional responsibility viz. when your child’s friend accompanies you on an outing.

Youth- Indulging in back-seat antics and involvement with call-girls can be life-threatening…may cause paralysis, strange accidents and AIDS.

Unmarried people- Recognize and respect true love. Agree and do anything for a person who truly loves you…you will get richer!

Married Men- Don’t fall in love with anyone else other than your wife! No extra marital affairs please…lover might be a ghost! And yes, spend more time with your wife! 

Non-Believers- There are many things that Science cannot explain. Keep your eyes open and believe in the Supernatural. There’s more to what meets the eye…

Sunday 2 September 2012

JOKER, the Hindi Movie

Jo Jeeta Wohi Joker

Like her mom, my kid is great film-freak. As hubby had reservations about our little one being taken to Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (U/A) & From Sydney with Love (U/A), Joker was one of two (U) films available this Friday, August 31, 2012, the other being ‘I Am 24’. My kid and her friend chose Joker, Akshay Kumar’s 100th film.

What or who is Joker? No, not Batman’s arch enemy, not the British comic-strip, not even the ‘jester, jokester, fool, wit-cracker, or prankster’ employed in Circus to tell jokes! Joker is a special type of playing card found in modern decks. As per Wikipedia, in card games, the Joker's use is varied. Many card games omit it from use entirely. Sometimes, Jokers are simply used as replacements for lost cards in a deck. Some games accord it importance. Often, the joker is a wild card, and thereby allowed to represent other existing cards. The Joker can be an extremely beneficial or an extremely harmful card. 

Sonakshi Sinha tweeted in Twitter: “JOKER refers to a place that does not exist on the global map. Just like #Joker in a pack of cards that does not belong to any colour.”

Here, Joker refers to the village of Paglapur, with a population of 600 inhabitants…cut-off from the rest of India as it’s not on the map, having been abandoned by a British surveyor in 1946. Joker is orphaned by the present three bordering Indian states (MP & Rajasthan were two. Which was the 3rd?) As Agastya says, ‘Joker Jiska hua, baazi usiki!’ (Joker owner will be the winner) ‘Yeh joker aisa punter, Jo khele baazi khud par’.

For your IQ, Agastya is one of the Saptarishis ("seven sages" extolled in the Vedas) and the author of Agastya Samhita; -Agastya is a name of Shiva too; -A-ga means a mountain, and Asti means thrower.; Agastya is also the Indian astronomical name of the star of Canopus, is said to be the 'cleanser of waters', since its rising coincides the calming of the waters of the Indian Ocean. He was son of Pulasthya, son of Brahma.

 Agastya (Akshay Kumar) is a US-based scientist who lives with his girl-friend, Diva (Sonakshi Sinha). Agastya has built ‘the most sophisticated’ instrument to communicate with aliens. With a 1-month-ultimatum to prove ‘results’, he and Diva visit Paglapur, Agastya’s village after his brother Babban’s (Shreyas Talpade) call that his father (Darshan Zariwala) is ill. Agastya discovers the reality soon and plans metamorphosis of Paglapur’s status from ‘unwanted’ ignominy to ‘sought-after’, wooed by 3 CMs! Aiding him are the happy-go-lucky Paglapur-residents. They design a crop-circle that catapults Paglapur into radar. The great-Paglapur-Tamasha begins! Night-active desi-aliens manage to sustain interest. They befool all the media and politicians with elan, but for American scientist, Simon (Agastya’s rival)! To quote Abraham Lincoln, ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time’. Their ‘hoax’ is soon discovered. Fraud-earned electricity and water-supply are scrapped. But, all ends well when a real alien in a UFO leaves behind a ‘gift’ after visiting Paglapur. The alien proves that our hero’s gadget had been ‘working all along for the last 2 years’! NRI scientist reigns again!

This simple story set in innocent Paglapur reminds one of scenes from the movies- Swades, Lagaan, Peepli Live, Deewar and Koi Mil Gaya. 


Shirish Kunder really loves the name Agastya.  Incidentally, Akshay Kumar’s name was Agastya in Kunder’s first directorial venture, Jaan-E-Mann. 

Kunder also loves NRI scientists. Akshay Kumar also played an NRI scientist in Jaan-E-Mann.

How does Babban manage to make an ISD call to Agastya’s home, when they have no phone connection in their village? Had someone sneaked in a cellphone from across the border? 

If Babban had indeed made the call to inform & invite Agastya to India, how did Diva understand his language? Agastya was the only one who could interpret Babban that too with sign-language! 

After arriving in Paglapur, Agastya strolls at a leisurely pace to his home, interacting with key-characters on his way as if he had all the time in the world, though his father is ‘beemar aur kuch hi dino ke mehmaan.’ Not once does he hurry, though the Paglapur public keeps reminding him exactly that!

Paglapur school-children duck for cover whenever an aeroplane passes. Their Masterji (Asrani) screams ‘German! Hitler!’ still believing World War II to be on! Surely, Agastya could have & should have changed this fallacy years ago- before catching the flight to USA.

Chitrangada Singh’s Kafirana item-song has superbly rendered English lyrics- “I want just you, I want just you, Baby I want just you!” How did this chamatkaar happen with such a Masterji?! With such a damsel around, you can’t blame if Paglapur’s public lives up to its name- becoming paglas!

Paglapur has a new Dam in the vicinity but a 65-year-old disfunctional post-office. 

Agastya’s assurance ‘Sab theek ho jayega’ (All will be well) is greeted with loud cheers!

One of the Lagaan-tunes plays in the background, to bring about the obvious connection.

Agastya and Diva watch news using his laptop. How did they charge it in this village-without-electricity? Perhaps, laptop was solar-energy-compliant.

How did the 600 Paglapur citizens bathe, wash clothes and cook if there was no water-supply and the river had dried up? Ponds, wells and tube-wells, right?

ET communication is more powerful than local communication. An alien helps Paglapur to identify its hidden potential. Then, only the village believes in what has been their natural gift all along. Though Lord Fawkland states it earlier, no one, including Agastya, believes him! Lesson- If you don’t listen, check out & learn the true-story at home, be prepared when a foreigner comes to teach you the same! 

Didn’t the media look for the aliens in Paglapur during the day? They seemed ready only for the night-action! Our media is so efficient that they would have done the ‘khulasa’ about Paglapur being oil-rich, rather than an alien doing the same!


Why is Diva his live-in partner for the past ‘4 years’, why not his wife? Living-in is fine, but not marriage without family approval?  

What is Vrajesh Hirjee (Hrithik Roshan’s friend ‘Tony’ in Kaho Na Pyar Hai) doing here? Ditto comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi (who plays a cameraman assisting news-reporter ‘Tanya’, Minisha Lamba’s character) Such a waste of talent! Each one of the other talented bunch of stars at least has 2-3 lines to boast…


Team-work wins - Incorporating team-concept like in ‘Lagaan’, even the number of key-players in ‘Joker’ is 11 (Agastya, Diva, Babban, Pitaji, Masterji, Lord Fawkland, Rajaji, Vrajesh Hirjee’s character, Vindu Dara Singh’s character, ‘Lalten’ kid & Hunchback character!) Add Tanya and her camera-man, and you have 13!

Hard-work and dreams count – Anyone can work hard and rise like this boy from Paglapur- walking miles to school & then becoming a high-flier. Once in the USA, he sets his eyes skywards to reach the aliens, and what’s more, he succeeds.

Realistic sets - Joker has an amazing down-to-earth, old & antique look and feel. I was reminded of ‘Adventureland’ in Disneyland, Hong Kong.

The Great-Paglapur-Tamasha – Seems like a circus or mela out to entertain all! Loved the mad-media-reactions to the crop-circle!

Local Pagal-Khana (Paglapur Mad Hospital) is transformed into Paglapur-Lodge overnight to host the media at Rs 200 per room!

Co-existence of Sophistication & Ancient Rituals – Crop-circle Surveys & Yagya by Sadhus!
Farah Khan in a guest appearance – Directing a song to cash in on the crop-circle!

Babban’s chemistry with Tanya- Especially, the first scene when he saves her from the rain by removing the latter’s news-van’s dish-antenna, for use as an umbrella! Love knows no language!

Mr. Simon getting ‘abducted by aliens’!

Masterji’s English Translations- Not playing an ‘angrez ke zamane ke jailor’(a la Sholay), here he says, ‘SIMON, GO BACK!’

Babban’s Temple soliloquy- Emotional outburst in the temple (akin to Amitabh Bachchan’s in Deewar) that gets Agastya’s machine to communicate (akin to Hrithik Roshan’s in Koi Mil Gaya) with aliens!

Aliens have their eyes on us – Be careful on what you do & how you dance! An alien might just be learning dance-steps from you! Everyone will love the real alien’s thumka!

Why you must go with kids

-Joker was initially intended to be a 3D-film for kids.

-Kids will connect with the simplicity, innocence & fun-factor of the film

-You will be happy to see them enjoying the film. 

-Laughter is infectious. You end up laughing with them.

-They will be delighted by the light-emitting-veggie-wonders- the desi-aliens providing general entertainment when darkness descends!

- Neat & clean family-entertainment- not one kissing scene or mindless violence & gore. 
(The latkas & jhatkas of item-song may be discounted as kids are subjected to much more on National TV!)

- They will love the Alien & UFO in the climax. 

 Don’t listen to critics! Just go and watch Joker with your family and kids!

Saturday 1 September 2012

2 Films - Kahaani & Agent Vinod

2 Films (Kahaani; Agent Vinod)

2 weeks gap release,

2 ‘Heroes’ roaming incognito with aliases (Vidya Bagchi; Mahendra Sandhu/Kapil Dev/Anthony Gonsalves/Freddy Khambata), 

2 Indian capital cities (erstwhile capital Kolkata; present capital New Delhi), 

Same actor as villain (Dhritiman Chaterji), 

‘Mother’ connection (Pregnant mom/Maa Durga; By what name does your mom call you?/Dead Mom as ghost in toilet), 

Idiosyncrasy (Cleanliness freak; Dancing in front of CCTV/Spy Cameras)

Aim to ‘Find’ (Milan Damji; 242), 

Chain Killings (characters killed after ‘work’ is over), 

Partners die (Hubby Arnab Basu; Girlfriend Iram Parveen Bilal aka Ruby Mendes), 

Intelligence connect (IB/National Data Centre; RAW), 

Animal-lover Directors (No harm to animals during filming).

Kahaani is the thrilling mother of a story of a pregnant wife, Vidya Bagchi (addressed as ‘Bidya’!), looking for her lost hubby, Arnab Bagchi, in Kolkata. Crisp editing, taut story, technical details and amazing performances keep you glued to unravel the surprise ending- Bidya’s thrilling stunt. (Beats me- Where does the protagonist’s ubiquitous bag disappear at the climax? She left it in the taxi perhaps…) Takeaway- If you are a pregnant lady, you can fool all including the Police & IB officials. 

Agent Vinod is a 12-city globe-trotting exercise that leaves you sort of tired following the escapades of the smart and cool, Agent Vinod. James Bond’s Indian avatar, Agent Vinod is busy cracking cases for RAW, while he is not dancing in front of spy-cameras!!! (Beats me- How key characters like Agent Vinod and Colonel miraculously escape even after getting caught. Perhaps they have the cat’s nine lives!) Takeaway- Indo-Pak marriage is not possible even in reel-life! Irrespective of whether you are Agent Vinod or a terrorist, you can fool all and can easily cross international borders!
Now, a riddle for you-
Q- If the 13th city had been Kolkata, what would Agent Vinod have been called? 
Answer- Agent Binod!!!
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