Talaash: why procedural thrillers fail


 Major spoilers ahead

 -Limitless point of view

If the central character is not the eye of the audience into the world, it is difficult to maintain the intrigue. Here Surjan learns about anything important at least 5 minutes after audience knows about it. Be it the involvement of Sasi or Tehmur in the plot or what happens to Tehmur with the money bag, we are always ahead of Surjan. And we are forced to patiently wait while he figures out what has happened.

-Ineffectual central character

When I think about it, this thriller doesn’t even require Surjan for it to happen. He just happens to be in the middle of it, effectless. The decisions or fates of Sasi or Tehmur or Armaan Kapur’s friend don’t appear to be influenced by Surjan in any way that really matters.

 -Confusing your tone

Well, I know there are movies that has done the ‘genre jump’ well. But my problem is not that it starts off as a investigative thriller and ends as a supernatural thriller, but that it takes the emotional angle little too seriously without being able to really pull it off well. As a result, the movie has two centers of gravity which pull at each other. One the crime thriller and the other the father-son-wife angle.

 -Character cliches

The investigator with an unresolved conflict going into a investigation and coming out sorted out is the oldest trick in the book. The marriage in ruins- check. The all knowing, seductive femme fatale- check. The accommodating, convenient right hand man- check.

 -Single kill

In the current age, we have seen all kinds of tricks to pull a twist. A single reveal is not enough. You have to be ready with a second one. The twist in this one can be seen coming from miles ahead. As Tony Gilroy rightly said, audience now are very good in second guessing the writer. You can’t rely on a single twist. After the reveal, I just hoped that something else is coming- because the reveal was so obvious and derivative I wrongly assumed that writers are aware how obvious it is.

 -Sticking around after the final kill

Once you have pulled out your last trick, get out of there as fast as possible. Elaborate epilogues happen when the writer underestimates the audience or when he confuses the objectives he has with the story. This movie could have ended at least 4-5 minutes earlier I guess. And the longer the movie is after the reveal, the more diluted the impact of the final reveal.












Satyameva Jayate

I watched Aamir Khan’s show with lot of negativity and expected him to make a fool out of himself on tv. But in the end, I was impressed. Of course, the show was a little melodramatic. But again, the target audience is the majority of Indians who have no qualms about their emotionality and not the minority who are so obsessed about maintaining ‘the stiff upper lip.’

But I liked the fact that the show had a purpose and Aamir Khan was so eager about making a genuine impact. After the initial show promotions revolving around the incessant self obsessing  by Khan about his duties and life etc, it was difficult to escape the jokes about his inflated sense of self righteousness and ego and what not. But if we start dissecting and deconstructing every one’s intentions and motivations, I am telling you, nobody would be having anything pleasant to discover. As the behaviourists would say, that kind of an analysis doesn’t  lead anywhere. So let us judge the actions and their effects. It is much more clean and easy. And one has to concede, Aamir Khan is trying to use his power as a star much better than many others.

One issue I had with the show was that the stories are narrated in a very one sided simplistic way. May be because I am in a profession where I realise on a day to day basis that the two sides of the same story can be so strikingly different, but I feel it is unfair to not listen to the opposite parties. Many conflicts presented there may have more than female foeticide in it. Life is so complex and most conflicts cannot be reduced to a single bullet point. You never know unless you check every angle. May be the research team has done that. May be the opposite parties had been contacted but refused to co-operate in anyway. But if that effort has not gone in, it is unfair.