Early Pre-Release Analysis: TALAASH (2012)

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File:Talaash poster.jpg

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Film : TALAASH (not to be confused with the 2003 film Talaash: The Hunt Begins)

Director : REEMA KAGTI

Production House : EXCEL ENTERTAINMENT, AAMIR KHAN PRODUCTIONS

Cast : AAMIR KHAN, KAREENA KAPOOR, RANI MUKHERJEE

Genre : (Dark) Thriller

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ANALYSIS

There is quite little that can actually be analysed about the film. Actually, how much does the audience really know about Talaash? Let’s see :-

* Its title is not Dhuaan (a very popular misconception)

* We know its star-cast

and perhaps a few other technical details. Now that’s not much material to work on; still, this will be an attempt to “search the truth” behind this film.

Cast

The cast is something out of a producer’s fairy-tale dream. Aamir Khan. The Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood stars in this film; what more can we actually ask? One will be hard-pressed to define the sort of position Aamir is in right now. He’s fresh off the biggest Bollywood hit in history, both nationally and internationally. A Dhobi Ghaat expanded his actor credentials. And a wait of two years has left the audiences mad for him. Quite the pot-pourri of success, isn’t it?

Kareena is arguably the leading heroine of Bollywood at the moment. Equaling Hema Malini in the box office, she starred in four back-to-back INR100 crore films (all of which found a place in the top 10 films of Bollywood) and the Chammak Challo-Teri Meri girl is now quite the darling of the classes and masses alike. In addition, its quite well-known that she is a capable actress (Jab We Met). A blend of beauty and substance makes for a perfect setting, and the audiences will definitely want to see more of her. 2000s superstar heroine Rani Mukherkjee is back to the silver screen after a powerful and award-winning role in No One Killed Jessica (2011). Acting is something that comes very naturally to this graceful lady, and whatever role she is given, she will undoubtedly excel in. She also commands a fan-base, though not nearly as voluminous or vociferous as back in her heydays, but she definitely is a force to reckon with.

Producers

Excel Entertainment has cultivated an aura of quality and deliverance, in an industry falling to quick remakes and shoddy ethics. The names of the producers, Farhan Akhtar-Ritesh Sidhwani, signify good films even if niche-appealed to the urbane audiences. Besides that is Aamir Khan Productions, the wackily versatile home production that does both a Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008) and Peepli Live (2010). Expect the unexpected.

Production

Talaash is a comparatively low-budgeted film; at INR40 crore, its budget will definitely be below that of Ek Tha Tiger, and on the same range as the Untitled Yash Chopra Project. Now, a low budget film starring big names means big profits if it clicks at the Box Office. That presents a great advantage to the distributors and the producers, and with this sort of arrangement everybody stands to gain. So no matter how the film fares at the ticket counter, rest assures that budget recovery will be the least of worries for anyone.

However, this is not to say that the film won’t boast of at least a few scene stealers; the only reason why the film isn’t massively expensive is because Aamir hasn’t charged a fee. But, he is walking away with a jaw-dropping 80% share in profits, the highest ever among any Bollywood star. And that will entail rather smaller smiles on Excel than on Aamir, but that’s a small sacrifice to pay. Its been confirmed that certain parts of shooting took place in London in a water tank at the 02 Arena, and that doesn’t come cheap. In fact, water stunts rarely do, and from what little could be gleaned from the film’s trailer, water definitely plays a pretty important role in this film.

But the major, and a really worrying bummer, is the genre of the film. Come what may, associate whatever the great things one associates with the cast and crew of this film, the public doesn’t do deep-analysis about films or histories. They want a film that satisfies them of their money’s worth. And Talaash is at serious risk of failing that. A thriller is not the most appetizing of films; a dark-toned thriller is even less favourable; a dark-toned thriller with possibly a lot of difference in it? You get the picture. Its not that there is no audience for such films, but its pretty niche. And that automatically means less moolah.

Release

Talaash sees a nationwide release on June 1, 2012. In today’s film industry, overflowing with ambitions of breaking records, such a release date is rather odd. And that’s because the release is not a major holiday. To see the track record of some big films: 3 Idiots opened on Christmas, Bodyguard opened on Eid and Ra.One opened on Diwali. All turned out big money-spinners at the box office, and the recent Agneepath is proof that to earn big, you need a big opening. Consequently, a big holiday. That factor is crucially absent from this film. Hype can only go so far, even if very huge. The film can lose out on a lot of potential revenue because of this.

It does have some consolation in the fact that it doesn’t face too much competition. The next week features Shanghai, and that is unlikely to dent the film’s collections too much unless the latter turns out something spectacular. The film’s major competition arrives two weeks later, in Rowdy Rathore, and even that should leave the multiplexes more or less unaffected. That means a not-fully-clear run, but nothing too worrisome. However, as the situation seems now, a full two free weeks would certainly have been good (much like Ek Tha Tiger is having).

Talaash is an Aamir Khan commercial release after all, and one that audiences have waited for over two years, and this is evident in the number of hits the first trailer of the film gained in a short span of time. But this hype is a double-edged sword: very high expectations guarantee big opening, and if the film clicks then the sky is the limit. But if the film doesn’t manage to please the expectations, there will be big disappointments and backlash can be severe and unforgiving as has been noticed with Ra.One. The difference is that SRK had a redeeming factor in Don 2 just two months later; for Aamir to redeem himself (if the film doesn’t meet expectations, that is), people will have to wait much longer (Dhoom 3). And that’s a bad scenario for him. It is most important that the film works, otherwise there will be problems aplenty.

Film

Undoubtedly, as a film, Talaash should excel. Helmed by the highly talented Reema Kagti, who has proved her credentials with the very good Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., and backed by strong director-writers Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, there is not even a sliver of doubt that the film will be lacking in any department. Great content and a well-made star cast guarantee a memorable film at least.

Another very positive factor about the film is the fact that Farhan-Aamir return together after the much-loved Dil Chahta Hai (2001). One of the most memorable class films, it turned out to be quite a success in multiplex areas (though average overall), and audiences certainly want another such quality film to take home. Seeing the track record of both personalities, its not hard to see that this film will be any aberration. Besides, Aamir-Kareena immediately reminds of 3 Idiots, and that’s one very great memory to think about; no doubt this blockbuster pairing will give another fabulous on-screen jodi. Aamir-Rani go a long way back, and their “Aati Kya Khandala” is certainly still magic, and one that audiences will definitely want re-invented. Obviously, the film won’t be so masaledaar, but the chemistry itself should be perfect.

Musically, the new Daddy Cool Ram Sampath takes over. The chart-busting DK Bose is still very much playing in people’s minds, so no doubt Ram will come off with another great album (though nothing as crass or double-meaning, of course). The trailer has also revealed great background scoring, and a good score adds great depth to a thriller and exonerates the film-watching experience.

The post-production has taken a surprisingly long time, setting off tongues as to what Aamir is actually doing with the film; the tight-lipped nature of the involved people doesn’t make matters better, but it certainly piques the curiosity. Assuredly, the crew knows what they are doing and they will come off with excellent editing (a must for a thriller). All in all, this will be cinema to soak in, to love, to appreciate; definitely it will impress as a film.

VERDICT

Taking up all the above points, its actually a very delicate tight-rope walk for Talaash at the moment. While it boasts of a very high-profile and awaited cast, and promises a great movie experience, it is actually the least fail-proof film among all the big films of 2012. The genre is unhelpful in its quest for box office success, and much is dependent on how the audience takes it up. And the film does not have a major holiday to give it that impetus. Besides, there will always be a select group of people bent on gunning down the film, and it is imperative to not allow these people to get the upper hand. Aamir’s versatility may do great things for his acting purpose, but right now his consistency and true star power are at test. Whether he passes the test or not, we can never say until the release. Here’s a sincere hope of success for Talaash, arguably one of the most awaited films of 2012.