With soapy whodunit Talaash, star Aamir Khan continues his recent trend of exporting relatively progressive films. But unlike the comparatively austere Mumbai Diaries or the loopy Delhi Belly—both also produced by Khan—Talaash is a staid melodrama that also happens to be slightly more socially aware and more psychologically rich than your average Bollywood film. Khan stars in Talaash as Inspector Surjan Sekhawat, a brooding alpha male and Mumbai policeman assigned to investigate the death of a famous actor. With the help of enigmatic prostitute Rosie (Kareena Kapoor), Surjan looks for clues while wrestling with suppressed grief over his eight-year-old son's death. Since co-writers Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar don't stray too far from Bollywood tropes, Talaash's convoluted, seamier (i.e., pimps-and-prostitutes centric) subplots are never as convincing as the film's family centric scenes. Still, Talaash is essentially as sudsy as the average Bollywood film: Early on, it's revealed that Surjan's son died after trying to pilot a paddleboat-size motorboat. Ultimately, your enjoyment of all this will come down to how much you like Rosie. Played by superstar Kapoor, the character is never as winning as the performer. Kapoor naturally exudes a kittenish charm that not even a violet, skintight, leopard-print dress and equally purple dialogue can entirely diminish. Like Talaash, Kapoor is good enough. Simon Abrams
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