Planet Bollywood
Producer: Pahlaj Nihalani
Director: Suneel Darshan
Starring: Raakhee Gulzar, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Pooja Batra, Kabir Bedi, Gulshan Grover, Suresh Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor and Raj Babbar
Music: Sanjeev-Darshan
Lyrics: Sameer
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 3 hrs
Film Released on: 03 January 2003
Reviewed by: Abid  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.04 / 10 (rated by 419 viewers)
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A new year has dawned and the somewhat much anticipated Suneel Darshan release has made its foray as the year┬┤s first big release. As promoted, Talaash is a thriller but attempts to stray from the run of the mill stuff. Though Darshan can by far disclude himself from the niche crowd, he has been successful in providing entertainment in his films. To do this he has established a somewhat unique rapport with actor Akshay Kumar who is once again the star of Talaash. Whether the film will provide what Bollywood needs the most, however, is still anyone┬┤s guess.

Talaash starts with a typical Bollywood scene which depicts the underworld police face off at the beach. However, as the first few scenes unfolds you get the feeling that you are going to see a different sort of a thriller which has its moments of clich├ęd situations, as opposed to an entire piece of rehashed mess.

Arjun (Akshay Kumar)┬┤s mother Rakhee is in a hospital as she is in a state of shock due to a personal trauma. Given that he can┬┤t do anything just sitting there and watching her, Arjun sets out on a mission with one goal of finding the cure for his mother. He is helped by a cop, Ashish Vidhyarti who feels guilty for the trauma being faced by Rakhee. Arjun begins his search, but not of course before he meets Tina (Kareena Kapoor) and falls in love with her and provides the all so mandatory romance angle.

For the most part, we are then taken for a roller coaster ride across the beautiful locales of Rajasthan on the Palace of Wheels and South Africa, up to the finale with the thumping climax. The locales are something different, quite evidently and are visually enjoyable. The romance angle is very much alive and not as boring as most are. Pairing up Akshay and Kareena again after they sizzled in Ajnabee has worked in the film┬┤s favor. The third angle provided by

Pooja Batra is short but interesting.

Needless to say, the movie has the trademark slick Akshay Kumar action, which does not rely on special effects or ear splitting sound effects but does look awesome, clean and convincing. Abbas Ali Moghul has done a good job with the sequences shot on the train, the Palace on Wheels scenes are excellent and are a novelty. He has shown why he is in demand. Of the highlights, the way Akshay stops it from ramming into the school bus deserves note.

Sanjeev-Darshan┬┤s musical score could have been better, however the songs ┬┤Yaar Badal Na Jaana┬┤, ┬┤Baaga Ma Jab Mor Bole┬┤ and ┬┤Dil Le Gaya Pardesi┬┤ are well picturized. The situational song ┬┤Masoom Chehra┬┤ lights up the second half, even with it being boring at times.

Akshay Kumar is looking more at ease with himself with every new release. He continues to successfully switch between the action and emotional sequences with aplomb, at some parts he literally carries the movie on his shoulders. Kareena emotes a different role with ease and grace without doing anything fabulous. Kabir Bedi looks menacing and Raj Babbar is reasonable. Pooja Batra emotes well though the diction at times sounds anglicized. Rakhee and Gulshan Grover look competent in their roles.

Though asking for something spectacular from a Darshan thriller may be truly too much, on the whole the film is good, clean, fast paced entertainment. The director has made what he had in mind without deviating much and the script is tight and the dialogues by

K K Singh punchy. Again, without making any true distinctions, specifically to much more gargantuan budget action films, Talaash has in it a few things to note. The film carries an undercurrent of tension through out, it has slick action, a somewhat well written screenplay, a climax that does not give a let down and overall a good ┬┤paisa vasool┬┤ entertainer.

On that note, one can┬┤t overlook the abundance of songs, like especially ┬┤Tune Kaha Jab Se Haan┬┤, which though it sounds good on the CD, hampers the story a plenty. The comedy track at times is mediocre specially in the train. Darshan has forgotten the formula he used in Jaanwar where comedy was truly not necessary. Add to that a rather slow first half and you have the usual flaws in your average day Bollywood film.

Talaash was dubbed as the first big movie of 2003 and if the way it has been received in the northern part of India (despite the freezing cold weather) is any indication it is a good beginning for the movie and the industry this year. Don┬┤t expect perfect-ness or glory but entertainment that is tolerable at best.

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