The Common Man Speaks


Talaash Review (Spoiler Free)

Director: Reema Kagti

Producers: Excel Entertainment, Aamir Khan Productions and Reliance Entertainment

Writers: Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti

Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Gupta

Music: Ram Sampat

Genre: Thriller

Rating: * * *

Plot: A Bollywood superstar is killed in an accident under mysterious circumstances. Police Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) takes up the investigation of the case. As he digs deeper into it, he finds himself entangled in a web of confusion and mystery which becomes worse due to his troubled married life with Roshni (Rani Mukerji) and the constant haunting of his dark past.

Shekhawat’s investigation gets him in contact with a prostitute Rosy (Kareena Kapoor). He also gets to know that a roadside criminal Taimur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is linked with the superstar’s death. Will these two leads be enough for Shekhawat to solve the case?

Review: (No spoilers whatsoever) In every whodunit thriller, the suspense at the end needs to be both shocking as well as convincing. In the case of Talaash, while the writers (Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar) manage to get the shocking part right, they disappoint with the conviction of the finale. This is the biggest reason, along with others, for Kagti’s film falling in the strictly one-time-watch category, which is surely below expectations.

‘Muskanein Jhoothi Hain’ song sets the right mood for the film right at the start. Apart from the lyrics, the picturisation is truly praiseworthy! The main point is brought soon which leads on to an intriguing narration in the first half as the case gets more complicated. The pace is deliberately kept slow but that in no way gives rise to boredom. In fact, it helps in building up excitement, mostly due to the sub plots. Some of artistically crafted scenes are a work of brilliance from the point of view of both writing and filming.

Picture courtesy - Talaash Facebook page

Unfortunately, the script starts going downhill in the second half with more importance being given to Shekhawat’s personal life than the case in question. The prolonged scenes between Shekhawat and one of the main characters test your patience. Lastly, the all important suspense at the end doesn’t live up to the excitement. Of course, there is no doubt that the final revelation will shock you and might even jerk you out of your seat but it lacks believability and conviction. (Personally, I feel the final outcome is harmful for the intellectual development of India!)

For the way she has filmed the story, Kagti deserves applause though. She is just let down by the proceedings of the second half that stop the film from being a commendable thriller. Another disappointing factor is that the main ‘hero’ is hardly given any heroics to perform. This is largely felt at the ending moments.

Mohanan’s cinematography is one of the biggest plus points. He has even captured the dark underbelly of Mumbai with perfection. Ram Sampat’s background score adds thrill. The editing is adequate. Songs don’t have much scope in such a film. ‘Muskanein Jhooti Hain’ is the only track that has a strong effect.

Aamir Khan succeeds in carrying the film on his shoulders. However, he is not at his best. The writing should be blamed for this for keeping his character too serious and depressed at times. Rani Mukerji does full justice to the character of a traumatic wife and mother. Kareena Kapoor is the one who steals the show. She perfectly moulds herself into the character of a prostitute and even manages to speak through expressions.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui once again shows why he is currently one of the finest character artists. He deserves many more films! Raj Kumar Gupta, Shernaz Patel and Sheeba Chaddha give mature performances in supporting roles.

Overall, Talaash is good but unfortunately it falls in the could-have-been-better category. Due to the hype and Aamir’s popularity, the film will garner very good collections at the box office.


What’s similar in Talaash and Pune 52?

By: Keyur Seta

After watching the trailers of upcoming films Talaash (Hindi) and Pune 52 (Marathi) many times, I have found a lot of similarities in both the films. In fact, I am surprised I haven’t seen anyone else pointing this out. Hence, I can’t help but list them out here.

But before doing that, I would like to make myself clear that I am in no way trying to indicate that both films have the same story or one film is copied from the other. I haven’t seen any of the two films and these are just my observations from the promos.

These are the similar points from the promos of Talaash and Pune 52: -

  • Both films are thrillers with one male lead and two female leads.
  • From the two female leads, one plays a traditional Indian lady (wife of the male lead) who mostly wears sarees while the other plays an attractive, young girl.
  • The character of the wife is hyper and blunt. She constantly taunts her husband.
  • The male character is investigating a complicated case.
  • The case makes life hell for him.
  • The case brings him in contact with the character of the attractive, young girl.
  • The girl becomes a part of his life.
  • His married life starts going through a rough patch.

Having listed these points, I am quite sure both films are vastly different from each other. As I said before, these are just my observations from the promos that I found very interesting. Here’s wishing both movies critical as well as box office success.


Talaash Box Office Prediction

Director: Reema Kagti

Producers: Excel Entertainment, Aamir Khan Productions and Reliance Entertainment

Writers: Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti

Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Music: Ram Sampat

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: November 30, 2012


Star Value: Aamir Khan is not only a highly respected superstar but he is also someone who keeps his exclusivity alive by appearing onscreen just once in few years. These two factors, plus the fact that the film also has big stars like Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor, make sure that the star value for Talaash is sky high!

Hype: Just like every Khan movie, Talaash has been in the news before the shoot commenced. And as expected, the promos garnered high excitement for the film’s release. A unique feature noticed is that the hype for this film is not about instant gratification which we see for Salman Khan’s movies. People are expecting a high degree of satisfying experience from this motion picture.

Music: The music hasn’t been that popular yet but it is expected to climb the music charts if the film does well. The song ‘Muskaanein Jhooti Hain’ is becoming known though.


It is easy to guess that Talaash will get a very good opening at the box office. This is a type of film that is expected to stay in theaters for a longer duration if it impresses. It won’t follow the silly trend of cashing in on the first weekend by booking almost every theater in the country which a lot of big budget movies do these days. This can also act as an obstacle for Akshay Kumar's Khiladi 786 which releases on December 7. Like all Aamir movies, this one caters to both multiplexes and single screen theaters. Even if it gets decent initial response, it will surely enter the Rs 100 crore club.

Picture courtesy - Talaash Facebook page


Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review

Direction: Yash Chopra

Producers: Yash Raj Films

Writers: Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Anupam Kher

Music: A R Rahman

Genre: Romance

Rating: * *

Plot: Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) is a happy-go-lucky Indian living in London. He does odd jobs and struggles to make ends meet but that doesn’t lower his spirits. One day, out of nowhere, Meera (Katrina Kaif) walks into his life. The couple fall in love but as fate would have it, they are separated. Years later, Akira (Anushka Sharma), a carefree youngster, is moved to tears after knowing Samar’s story. Will Akira help Samar and Meera reunite or will she fall for Samar?

Review: Being a Yash Chopra-Shah Rukh Khan combo coupled by the fact that it is the last movie of the former, there were expectations from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. However, the hugely awaited film is nothing but a mixture of all done-to-death clichés that one could associate with typical love stories found in Bollywood. Sadly, that is not all. The film also suffers from a lack of logic, apart from a dragged length. It is only SRK’s greatness that makes it a somewhat watchable affair.

Anybody who has been following Bollywood love stories over the years would be able to predict the entire movie after the initial ten minutes. So when you know exactly what is going to happen throughout, you at least expect the story to be narrated in a convincing manner. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. The typical boy-meets-girl saga in the first half looks half baked. The way the story is narrated looks straight out of Ghajini. Later on, the film also reminds you of Chopra’s last Veer-Zaara. But what is worse is the separation under idiotic circumstances.

(Review continued after picture)

Picture courtesy - JTHJ Facebook page

The second half, thankfully, has some smile-producing moments due to the conversations between Shah Rukh and one of the actresses. But soon we are subjected to some unconvincing twists and a not-so-perfect as well as predictable climax. Although the film has some winning moments but they don’t manage to overtake the negative points at all! The three hour length (excluding interval) doesn’t help either.

Considering it to be an effort from a master storyteller, it is also highly surprising to see disregard being shown for logic. From a number of such incidents, this is felt the most when a man doing odd jobs in London is, after few years, seen as a Major in Indian Army who diffuses deadly bombs to earn a living. Of course, so no matter which wire he cuts, it will turn out to be the right one. Lastly, the two accidents, that move the story forward, are very silly!

From the songs, ‘Challa’ steals the show completely but the rest of the songs fail to amuse much. The combo of Gulzar-A R Rahman doesn’t live up to the expectations. The use of sleaze in ‘Ishq Shava’ appears questionable considering the film is targeted at family audiences. Anil Mehta once again proves why he is one of the best cinematographers in the industry. The background score is apt while the editing could have been tighter.

As mentioned at the start, Shah Rukh Khan carries the film on his shoulders with a brilliant act. He plays two starkly opposite characters with maturity and ease. Like most of her films, Katrina Kaif struggles with her diction and dialogue delivery. Things would have brightened up if a talented performer was in her place. Anushka Sharma is superb as she perfectly fits into the character of a modern, bubbly young girl. Rishi Kapoor shines in a cameo. Neetu Singh and Anupam Kher are adequate.

Overall, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is let down due to a poor script. At the box office, it will surely earn high profits and will certainly reach the Rs 100 crore mark. It isn’t a big deal if your film has a big superstar and you book almost every theater in the country.


Oscar opportunity for Hou De Jarasa Ushir

(For more news, reviews and information on Marathi cinema, click HERE. To join us on Facebook click HERE)

When Barfii was selected as India’s official entry for the Oscar Awards this year, there was a sense of disappointment among the lovers of Marathi cinema since the film’s selection dissolved all chances of Deool, a Marathi movie, to be nominated for the highest honors. However, the fans have found another lease of hope with an opportunity for director Wasim Maner’s Hou De Jarasa Ushir in the Mainstream Competition at the Oscars.

Picture courtesy - (Click to enlarge)

Speaking about the news, the film’s producer Tahir Maner tells Halti Chitre, “We were confident about the story of our film. During the making, we never thought of Oscars. But when we showed the film to few people, they were very impressed. So we thought why not take it to the Oscars? Currently, the film is in the qualifying stage.”

Maner also explains that one shouldn’t confuse this with Best Foreign Language category. “This is not Foreign Language category. So we won’t be competing with Barfii. We will be competing with mainstream films like Skyfall. The result will be declared after the screenings that will take place from 16 to 22 November in California. Our film will be world premiered over there on the 22nd. This might be the first Marathi film that has applied in this category.”

Naturally, this has created an air of excitement among the cast and crew. “We all are very happy and excited for it. As we all know, Oscar is the biggest honor for a movie. We are eagerly looking forward for the result.”And so is the Marathi film audience. Fingers crossed!

(For the song promo and preview of Hou De Jarasa Ushir, click HERE)


Son Of Sardar Box Office Prediction

Direction: Ashwani Dhir

Producers: Ajay Devgn Films, Viacom Motion Pictures and Eros Entertainment

Writers: Ashwani Dhir and Robin Bhatt

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Juhi Chawla

Music: Himesh Reshammiya, Sajid-Wajid

Genre: Action/ Comedy

Release Date: November 13, 2012


Star Value: Ajay Devgn and Sanjay Dutt are two of the biggest superstars of Hindi cinema. This fact coupled with Sonakshi Sinha’s presence makes sure that the star value for Son Of Sardar is very high.

Hype: There has been a good amount of hype for the movie due to the interesting promos. But the film’s controversy with Yash Raj Films’ Jab Tak Hai Jaan has also indirectly helped in the publicity.

Music: The music is becoming known. Apart from the title song, ‘Rani Tu Main Raja’ is making heads turn. The track ‘Po Po’ is also gaining popularity recently due to Salman Khan’s presence.


Son Of Sardar will surely get a very good opening. However, since Yash Raj Films’ have gone bezerk while booking theaters for their highly awaited Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the Ajay Devgn starrer has managed to get only few screens. What’s worse is that it has got very few single screen theaters where it is expected to do best business.

Plus, SOS will also face very tough opposition from the Shah Rukh Khan starrer due to the high excitement for the latter. Hence, it is vital for the movie to impress with its content. So a film which could have enjoyed high returns in the first few days due to the hype has to now rely on its content to make high profits. Overall, SOS has a chance, particularly in north India, but the collections will be highly affected due to the presence of JTHJ.

So far Devgn has entered the 100 crore club thrice (Golmaal 3, Singham and Bol Bachchan). SOS could have easily been his fourth if it was a solo release. Now it looks difficult although not impossible.


Book Review: The Bankster

Author: Ravi Subramanian

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Pages: 358

Price: Rs 250

Genre: Thriller

Rating: * * * * ½

By: Keyur Seta

A not-so-perfect romantic novel can manage to get some appreciation from the target audience if it has enough heart-touching or mushy moments. The same leeway is enjoyed by comic fiction books if there are a good number of rib-tickling incidents. However, whodunit thrillers don’t have this advantage for the simple reason that after building up a thrilling scenario, the killer moment at the end has to be up to the mark. In other words, the presence of some well written thrilling or intriguing moments won’t hold much value if the main suspense at the end turns out to be predictable or unconvincing.

Ravi Subramanian need not worry about this as he has used all the necessary elements needed in a thriller intelligently in The Bankster and presented a page-turner which is an absolute must-read. Good books satisfy the target audience while great books go beyond the target audience. The Bankster surely falls in the second category since it has the capacity to impress those who aren’t much into thriller novels.

The book presents three unconnected stories taking place in three different cities of the world: -

  • Angola: A covert CIA agent travels to the dangerous interiors of Africa to exchange weapons of mass destruction for priceless diamonds. The deal goes through smoothly and the agent is now ready to go ahead with another such mission.
  • Kerala: Krishna Menon has been protesting against the Trikakulam Nuclear Power Plant since a decade as he is deeply concerned about the safety of the people in his vicinity. The reason why Krishna is more emotionally involved in the protest is because of a promise he made to his dying son.
  • Mumbai: It is a daily routine for the top level employees of the Greater Boston Global Bank (aka GB2) to indulge in cheap politics and manipulations to achieve selfish gains. All hell breaks loose when their employees are found dead one after the other under mysterious circumstances.

How these three utterly different incidents cross paths, forms the rest of the story.

Like every tantalizing thriller, The Bankster has a watertight story which is told in a manner that makes the reader very curious to read further. What makes it more intriguing is how Subramanian has managed to keep the stories unconnected till more than 80% of the book. And once they are connected, you get a satisfying kick as all pieces fall into place. He has delayed the turning points as much as possible which is a mark of excellence. The only kind of predictable part is that whenever a character goes into a discussion or does something which looks immaterial to the story, it ensures a thrilling twist. But that generates more excitement for you anxiously anticipate something once you figure out his writing style.

The politics in a banking organization and the day-to-day conversation between the characters, which forms the main part, appear truly real! The language used is rich but at the same time very simple which makes even the common man understand the proceedings easily. This is very unlike some writers who leave the readers confused on few occasions while flaunting their cool language skills.

One also can’t help but laud Subramanian’s remarkable knowledge on various aspects like police investigation, forensic (CCD bill incident), the area specific knowledge of different cities, modern technology (an almost technologically illiterate person thanks you for the iCloud explanation), politics and lastly, the banking process. The last one, along with the working of the corporate world, is made understandable to someone like me who has almost zero knowledge of both.

The story has a number of important characters and each is defined clearly and developed properly. It would have been better if their physical appearance and features were explained slightly which would have helped more in visualizing. Apart from this, the other possible negative factors are the length and an act committed by a main character in the end. However, these are just minor issues that won’t affect your overall satisfaction while savoring this unmissable book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!


Jab Tak Hai Jaan Box Office Prediction

Direction: Yash Chopra

Producers: Yash Raj Films

Writers: Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Anupam Kher

Music: A R Rahman

Genre: Romance

Release Date: November 13, 2012


Star Value: Needless to say, when a film has Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma as main leads, the star value of the film is supremely high. And since Yash Chopra has directed it coupled by the fact that it is his last film, it adds more star value to Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Hype: Naturally, the hype for the movie was created ever since it was announced. As expected, the hype kept on increasing when the promos and the music of the movie were released. I feel sorry to say this but Chopra’s tragic death has made the film more popular. However, the film hasn’t created one of the highest excitements ever which was expected.

Music: The songs of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, mostly ‘Challa’, ‘Saans’, ‘Ishq Shava’, ’Jiya Re’ and the title song, have been appreciated by the audience as expected. But none of the song has become an anthem which is expected from such a romantic film.


Jab Tak Hai Jaan will surely get a very good opening at the box office. It has a chance of scoring in both single screen theaters as well as multiplexes. The six day Diwali holiday period will make sure it earns very well and even reaches the Rs 100 crore. Its business from Monday (November 19) onwards will be determined on whether it has succeeded in impressing the audience with its content. We also can’t rule out the fact that its collections will be affected by Son Of Sardar, which is releasing alongside.

Picture courtesy -