TALAASH – Postponement Analysis
By now it is really not news that the much-anticipated Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor-Rani Mukherji starrer Talaash has witnessed a sudden and unpleasantly surprising five-month delay. The Internet is buzzing with disappointment and rumors of possible reasons of such a long delay. Here, I attempt to make sense of what is inevitably going to be a chaotic situation now. I shall discuss possible reasons and effects of this move. Finally, we have to ask ourselves the question: Was this delay a part of good judgement or a serious error that can cost dearly?
Talaash is an eagerly-anticipated film starring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherji in the lead roles. From what has been reported by reliable sources, Aamir plays the role of a senior police officer investigating the strange and dark death of a famous film star. On his journey, as he is is “Talaash” of the truth, he meets different people of seemingly impossible connections all tied down to one bizarre and scary secret.
Initially expected for a much earlier release, Talaash got pushed back to June 1, 2012 as the supposed start of the blockbuster season.
Reasons for delay
Perhaps the most controversial and hotly-debated question on the Internet film kingdom: WHY? Why Aamir? Internet has been filled with all sorts of possibilities, predictions, guesses etc. as to why Aamir made such a move, that too completely out of the blue. Some of these reasons are out of genuine interest, others are something of a way of deriding the film. Here’s a look.
A generally accepted version is that Talaash is simply not ready for release. That is, there is still some post-production needed. A strangely strong rumor is that the editing has not gone well. It seems Aamir is unhappy with the final cut of the film and insisted on re-editing. Others say that its just Aamir’s perfectionism; he wants the film to be absolutely perfect in all respects, and he found something lacking. Hence he delayed. Another well-known rumor is that re-shoots will happen so as to re-do some scenes that didn’t go that great initially. That is quite possible considering that a sudden 5-month delay just for post-production is … a little odd, to say the least.
Now, the other camp is deriding Talaash. The strongest taunt has come in the form of Kahaani. Kahaani is also a thriller, and basically involves the search of a missing husband – a “talaash”. This has become something of a standing joke. Many are now commenting that Kahaani has unexpected similarities to Talaash. Hence Aamir, being worried, pushed back the release so as to make significant changes to the film.
Another taunt has come over the “intrusiveness” of Aamir. Many have commented that much like how Aamir (some say forcibly) took over from Amol Gupte in Taare Zameen Par, he is intruding into Reema Kagti’s direction and is interfering in her creative process. Basically, they say that Aamir is wanting to take much more credit for the film than is due – either a co-direction or perhaps complete expulsion of Kagti. This taunt has not received much coverage; in fact, understandably this became quite unpopular with the Aamir fans who gunned it down, causing the usual and ugly inter-fan Internet wars.
As stated, both of these are basically rumors. Assuredly Aamir will clear this matter up. Time will tell, however, as to what happens to this film. Officially, the reason is due to his TV show which got unexpectedly delayed due to a fire on the sets. This is poor on Aamir’s part. He should not forget the fact that whatever he gets today is because of his films. His TV show is always second to his films, as without the films he won’t get a TV show. While the reason may be valid the decision is rather disappointing and illogical.
Possible effects of delay
Aamir Khan has not had a commercial biggie since 3 Idiots released in 2009. Now that Talaash reaches theaters in November, this means a three-year wait for a commercial Aamir Khan film. Aamir, as is obvious, is a huge superstar with a dedicated and rabid fanbase; besides, his thinking man image and generally good quality of films makes him a favorite of the people to see, though perhaps not somebody to be a fanatic over. Kareena Kapoor is just off a career-high and looks to expand her impressive commercial performance, though some of her success is questionable piggy-backing on the biggest male superstars. Rani Mukherji returns after the widely praised No One Killed Jessica, and looks to repeat an excellent performance with equal box office success.
All of this sounds very delicious to hear, and it truly is. So after all this, how exactly will this delay affect the film?
Expectations are always “terrible and yet beautiful”. A double-edged sword, expectations can make a film soar to great heights and also crush it down to the deepest levels of cinematic failure. Its a dangerous game to play, and one that can potentially make or break all those involved with the film. There is the saying “Too much of anything is never good” and that applies here too. Ra.One is a standing example of this.
So why this talk of expectations? Because there are expectations from Talaash. And not just some expectations, the expectations are GIGANTIC. People, be it fans or non-fans, are waiting with bated breath to see what next Aamir gives us, how well he surprises us. How will Aamir entertain or enlighten us this time? All these questions invariably build up to a high level of excitement. And a delay automatically means that there will be much more time to get excited. Which means higher expectations. Expectations are necessary but there is always the point of saturation. Super-saturation can be very bad for any film as it makes the process of meeting those expectations very high.
People are most justified to have very high expectations from Talaash. After all, its coming after three long years. People will think, what film can make Aamir work for three years? (most don’t remember Dhobi Ghaat unfortunately) That sort of a thought will automatically make people think of cinematic greatness, which means sky-high expectations. And that means all the more possibility of failure. Besides, Aamir is a marketing genius; his marketing itself is enough to whip up a storm. Couple it with all the above factors and you get a hurricane.
So this puts the film-makers at an epic cross-roads. Talaash may end up satisfying the high expectations, in which case it will bamboozle records and eat up the box office, going down in history as a huge cinematic success. Then again, Talaash can fail these expectations, however slightly, and the film will be trashed, trampled, destroyed and gutted to the extremes of failure, considered a disaster throughout. This may sound fanciful and grand but unfortunately it is the way of things. And my statements come only by seeing the sort of expectations this film is carrying. It is very very dangerous now, a situation which can go either way – one to eternal glory and the other to eternal doom. Its perilous and completely Aamir’s call.
What happens after this?
Its very difficult to foresee the future right now. The biggest problem for Talaash is the fact that its marketing has already begun. Its first poster came out some time back, and its official trailer released on January 25, 2012; it has already hit 2.4 million views on YouTube. A November release effectively means a nine-month marketing campaign, which will be the same as Ra.One. This will hold true even if Talaash is not promoted fro some time now, because the first trailer and poster are already out there. This is an unfortunate thing for Aamir, as he will now have to temper his promotions a bit or forget about promoting this film for the next 2-3 months – highly unlikely, in any case. More promotions goes back to the expectations logic.
Some people have a fear that Talaash may get further postponed after this. If this happens, it will be a disaster for Aamir. It will openly expose extreme under-confidence in the film and pile up on the currently-modest budget, so much so that recovery and the economics will go haywire. Besides this, he will not be able to get any sort of prime release date; even smaller films like Paan Singh Tomar are doing well. It shows that we should never underestimate any film, which most probably means that Talaash is lucky to have moved out of its June 1, 2012 release as Shanghai would have been something to cope with.
But the alternative is worse. November is packed with big films and potential blockbusters, much like Hollywood May-June. Talaash will suffer from this. He will have to face off against Son of Sardar, Yash Chopra’s Untitled Project (no, it is not London Ishq), Khiladi 786 and a host of others. December may also turn out to be packed. That leaves little room for Talaash, which means that he may have to further postpone. And as I already stated, further postponement is certainly not an option.
All in all, it looks grim for Talaash at the moment. Aamir did a mistake moving from the previous slot, and he may have to burden unforeseeable problems. He now really needs to ensure a film that will click big time with the audiences, as the audiences have much to choose from but not too much time. Aamir will do well to remember this fact.