Talaash: The Answer Lies Within

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Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
The poster features torso of Aamir Khan in centre while faces of Kareena Kapoor Khan and Rani Mukerji appear on left and right. The film title appears at bottom.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byReema Kagti
Produced by
Written by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Reema Kagti
  • Zoya Akhtar
Music byRam Sampath
CinematographyK. U. Mohanan
Edited by
  • Anand Subaya
  • Harshith
Distributed byReliance Entertainment
Release date
  • 30 November 2012 (2012-11-30)
Running time
139 minutes[1]
Budget63 crore[2][3][4]
Box officeest. 174.21 crore[5]

Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (transl. Search) is a 2012 Indian psychological crime thriller film co-written and directed by Reema Kagti. It is produced by Excel Entertainment and Aamir Khan Productions.[1] The movie stars Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vivan Bhatena, Rajkummar Rao, Shernaz Patel and Sheeba Chaddha in supporting roles.[6] Soundtrack of the film is scored by Ram Sampath, with lyrics written by Javed Akhtar.[7] Principal photography of the film took place during March–November 2011, primarily in Mumbai, Pondicherry and London.[8] The movie received a UA certificate from the Censor Board of India.[9] The film released on 30 November 2012.[10] Talaash had worldwide earnings of over 174 crore (US$25 million), becoming one of the highest-grossing Indian films of 2012.[5]


Late at night on a deserted road, well-known actor Armaan Kapoor (Vivan Bhatena), 30, loses control of his car for no evident reason, apparently trying to avoid something, and drives into the sea. Senior Police Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan), 35, with his assistant Devrath Kulkarni (Rajkummar Rao), 25, begins an investigation into Armaan's death. Surjan's personal life is in turmoil since his 8-year-old son, Karan, drowned recently during a family outing. His wife, Roshni (Rani Mukerji), 30, is still grieving and Surjan has developed a guilt complex.

Surjan learns that on the night of Armaan's accident, Armaan was travelling with ₹2 million in cash, which is missing from the car. Armaan had given the money to a blackmailer, a pimp named Shashi (Subrat Dutta), 31. Three years back, Shashi had performed a cover-up for Armaan and his friend Sanjay Kejriwal (Suhaas Ahuja), 30. Once he learns of Armaan's death, Shashi takes off with the cash, leaving behind a mistress, Mallika (Aditi Vasudev). Shashi's friend, Tehmur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), 32, steals Shashi's discarded sim card. Shashi begins blackmailing Sanjay. In a panic, Sanjay employs some thugs to murder Shashi. Tehmur begins to use Shashi's old sim card to blackmail Sanjay with Shashi's murder.

Meanwhile, Roshni seeks solace from a medium neighbour, Frenny (Shernaz Patel) who is in touch with Karan's soul. One night, Surjan is propositioned by an escort, Rosie (Kareena Kapoor). He declines Rosie's advances but asks her if she can become an informer. Through Rosie, Surjan finds out about Shashi's connection with the case. The police find Shashi's body, along with the blackmail money and a DVD. The DVD contains embarrassing CCTV footage of Armaan and his friends leaving a hotel with a girl. Convinced of Armaan's link with prostitutes, Surjan focuses his search on the slums near the Hotel Lido. To speak unobserved, Rosie takes Surjan to a quiet place by the riverside and tells him that three years ago, she was picked up by Armaan and his friends, Sanjay and Nikhil (Prashant Prakash). However, she doesn't reveal anything more. Surjan tries to approach Nikhil for more information but discovers that Nikhil has been brain-dead after the incident three years ago. After a heated argument with Roshni, Surjan confides in Rosie, who comforts him by taking him to the Lido.

Tehmur is killed by the two thugs in Sanjay's employ. One of the thugs, Babu Tipnis (Vikas Shrivastav), is captured by the police and reveals that Sanjay has been behind the murders of both Shashi and Tehmur. Surjan arrests Sanjay, who confesses that three years ago, Sanjay, Armaan, and Nikhil had picked up an escort to celebrate Nikhil's birthday. While driving, Nikhil began making out with the girl in the backseat. The car door opened by accident, throwing both Nikhil and the girl from the moving car to the road. Both were badly injured. Armaan and Sanjay rushed Nikhil to the hospital but fearing scandal, left the girl unattended on the road. Sanjay had called Shashi to ask him to take care of her. However, Shashi informed them that the girl had died and that he had footage of the three leaving with her. Since then, Shashi had continued to extort money from them by blackmail.

Surjan re-watches the footage and realizes that the girl is Rosie. As he drives Sanjay to the police station, they approach the same road where Armaan had his car accident. Both Surjan and Sanjay see Rosie standing ahead. In a re-enactment of Armaan's accident, Sanjay swerves the car to avoid a collision with Rosie, both Surjan and Sanjay fail to control the car, and it falls into the sea. With Sanjay already dead, Surjan struggles to get himself out of the car. Rosie appears underwater and saves him. At the police station, Surjan's superior advises him against reporting his incredible story. Surjan agrees to write in the official report that Armaan Kapoor's death was an accident. He returns to the riverside place where he used to meet Rosie and uncovers her remains where Shashi had hidden her body. Remembering that he had been told that "the dead come to those who are troubled," he gives her a proper funeral.

Now more accepting of the supernatural, Surjan finds a letter from Karan, penned by the medium. Through the letter, Karan tells Surjan not to blame himself for his death and that he wants both his parents to be happy. Surjan cries and Roshni consoles him. The two are reconciled.

In a post-credits scene, two workers are seen putting a caution signboard on the same accident spot.




Following the release of her first film, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007), Kagti was approached and offered to direct many films by several production houses. However, unable to find any films that interested her, she began working on a new script with her friend Zoya Akhtar in early 2010. Speaking about it, she said, "Zoya and I thought of the story and co-wrote it. We do a lot of writing together. We are also best friends so it is fun and there is a huge comfort factor." Initially, Saif Ali Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan were reportedly approached to play the male lead but opted out due to differing reasons.[11][12][13] Upon finalising the story, she approached Aamir Khan with the script in November 2010 and he agreed to produce and star in it.[14] Since the start of pre-production, the project has faced several speculations regarding its title.[15] In November 2011, Khan confirmed that the film was titled Talaash: The Answer Lies Within.[15]

In an interview with The Indian Express, Kagti revealed that a few months before casting Khan in the film, she had approached him with another project.[16] Later, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor were signed on to star opposite Khan.[17] Prior to the start of principal photography, the actors attended acting workshops and signed a non-disclosure agreement.[18] To prepare for a key scene in the film, Khan took swimming lessons.[19]


The principal photography for the film started in March 2011 with Khan and Mukerji in Mumbai.[8] For a scene involving Khan and Kapoor, it was reported that both the actors would shoot in a red-light district.[20] However, Kagti dismissed it and explained that it wouldn't be safe to do so. The scene was later shot at the Leopold Cafe on Colaba Causeway.[18] The film's second phase continued with the entire cast in Pondicherry and was completed by the end of August.[21] The final phase was expected to commence the following month in Khopoli with an underwater shot.[22]

Aamir, who never knew how to swim went under rigorous training for this underwater sequence. He was trained for three months under a specialist trainer and went well prepared for the shoot. Due to visibility problems, it was cancelled and later filmed at an undisclosed water studio in London.[23] The filming was completed by November 2011 after some of the remaining shots were executed at the Bandstand Promenade.[24]


Soundtrack album of the film was released by T-Series on 19 October 2012, featuring music composed by Ram Sampath with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar.

Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
Soundtrack album by
Released19 October 2012 (2012-10-19) (India)
  • OmGrown Studios, (Mumbai)
  • Sterling Sound, (New York)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Ram Sampath chronology
Delhi Belly
Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
Track listing
1."Muskaanein Jhooti Hai"Suman Sridhar3:20
2."Jee Le Zaraa"Vishal Dadlani3:37
3."Jiya Lage Na"Sona Mohapatra and Ravindra Upadhyay4:37
4."Laakh Duniya Kahe"Ram Sampath6:04
5."Hona Hai Kya"Ram Sampath and Rupesh4:43
6."Jee Le Zaraa" (remix)Vishal Dadlani3:59
Total length:29:18


The album met with extremely positive reviews. Indiaglitz quoted, "Once again Ram Sampath has an unmatched compilation of tracks here. Along with Javed Akhtar's fantastic lyrics they have created a masterpiece here."[25] Bollyspice reviewed the album stating, "The soundtrack to Talaash is like a box of chocolates: it contains a little 'good' and a little 'not so good' in it. Yet it is still an album that is worth listening!". Rediff reviewed, "Except a steady undercurrent of anxiety, the soundtrack of Talaash doesn't have a fixed theme or ambiance. Every song belongs to a unique genre and fosters the enigma of Kagti's suspense drama. And that's what makes Sampath's efforts truly appreciable."[26] Planet Bollywood said, "A film made by Aamir Khan Productions doesn’t need an item song or song for the masses to make it successful. Instead the music is made solely for the film in mind. If the listener can appreciate it before the release of the film then that is a bonus but that’s not essential." Sify quoted, "Overall, the soundtrack is not out-of-the-box, but the overdose of electronic music doesn't bother either. Thus, it's an album which may not top the charts, but some songs could definitely make their way into many people's personal playlists."[27] Gomolo stated, "Ram Sampath is continuously giving very fresh and stunning music for Aamir. The album is full of fresh, scrumptious and susceptible tracks."[28] At Musicperk the album was summarised as, "Well, the answer lies within!", the tagline of the film itself.


Talaash: The Answer Lies Within tied up with Windows 8 for its marketing.[29] Aamir Khan promoted the film on the crime detective series C.I.D.. The episodes were aired on 23 and 24 November 2012.[30][31] Aamir Khan visited Lucknow to promote Talaash: The Answer Lies Within.[32] Aamir Khan also appeared in a TV special show 'Nayi Soch Ki Talaash Aamir Ke Saath' to promote Talaash.[33] Aamir Khan also visited Jalandhar for promotion purposes.[34] The premiere of the movie 'Talaash' was held at PVR Cinema in Mumbai on 29 November 2012.[35]


Aamir Khan at audio release of Talaash.

Originally scheduled to release in October 2011, the film was postponed to its tentative release date of 1 June 2012.[36] Media reports claimed that the reason behind the delay was due to the similarities with Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani (2012); the director, however, went on to deny the reports.[36] On 26 January 2012, along with a digital poster of the film, the first teaser trailer of Talaash: The Answer Lies Within was released in theatres.[37] Due to Khan's prior commitment plans with his television show, co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani announced that the film would no longer be able to release on its tentative date as planned and would officially release on 30 November 2012.[38][39][40] Pre-bookings for Talaash: The Answer Lies Within opened on 25 November 2012 in all multiplexes of India. Talaash was released in 520 screens in overseas markets, a new overseas record for an Aamir Khan starrer. (3 Idiots was released in 415 screens overseas.[39][40]) The estimate for the number of release screens in India is around 2,500.[41]

In February 2012, Reliance Entertainment acquired the distribution rights of the film for 900 million (US$13 million)[42] whilst its satellite rights were sold for 400 million (US$5.8 million).[37]


After taking offense at Aamir Khan's TV show Satyamev Jayate (SMJ) for "projecting men in a bad light", several men's rights activists are now taking up cudgels against his film.[clarification needed] Virag Dhulia, the head of Gender Studies at a men's rights community center, said "We are not against Talaash, but Aamir. We want to send out the message that he can't portray a negative image of men."[43][44] It is further reported that most of the filming got the inspiration from the 2010 Hollywood film starring Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole.

Critical reception[edit]


Talaash received mostly positive reviews from critics all-over India.[45] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave Talaash a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars and said "Talaash: The Answer Lies Within is an outstanding film. A taut psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the end, it leaves you spellbound, leaves you mesmerized, leaves you with an exclamation."[46] Aniruddha Guha of DNA India gave it 3.5 out 5 stars while commenting "Talaash successfully whets the appetite of all the Aamir Khan fans. As for the story, you can always trust Zoya Akhtar to give her best. Talaash is not a flawless film, but it is a fascinating tale that compels one to look beyond that which is evident. You can’t miss this one."[47] Saibal Chatterjee Of NDTV rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, noting"By no means is Talaash the end of your search for the perfect whodunit. But there is so much going for this compelling, slow-burning, well-acted tale set in the dark, grimy underbelly of Mumbai that you can barely take your eye off the screen."[48]

Akhil Rasheed of the Indian Times who was partly responsible for the title of the film rated it 4 out of 5 stars, calling it a "gripping, compelling psychological thriller supported by its stellar cast".This movie was awarded as the best movie in the decade by the charming global star shamanth , head of international movies association.

Meena Iyer of The Times of India award the film 3.5 out of 5, adding "You may not like Talaash, if mystery and intrigue set at a languid pace is not what you look out for in your matinee outing."[49] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave it 3.5 out of 5 while remarking "It's a very watchable film but not an unforgettable one."[50] Aseem Chhabra for Rediff.com gave the film 3.5 out of 5, reviewing "In Talaash, Kagti weaves a complex web, and she colours it with the mood and the atmosphere she and her collaborators create. Talaash has the feel of a noir film. It is an intelligent film but falters towards the end."[51] Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times gave it 3 out of 5, stating "For once, I also feel the need to explain my rating: I wanted to give four stars to the first half and two stars to the second half, so it averages out to three. See Talaash and do post comments. I'm curious to see how many were as furious as me."[52]

India Today gave 3.5 out 5 to Talaash and stated "Talaash creates its chills primarily tapping into the dark side of the mind, which makes it an unusual Bollywood film. Any resemblance to Joseph Payne Brennan and Donald M. Grant's 1979 novella, Act of Providence, is purely coincidental."[53] Raja Sen for Rediff has given 2.5 out of 5 stars while adding that "Talaash is well made and strongly acted but is not as enjoyable to watch as it deserved to be."[54] Shubra Gupta of The Indian Express rated the film 2.5 out of 5, remarking "Talaash starts out as a smart, well-written noir-ish thriller, and then slips between the tracks. Pity about the second half."[55] Deccan Chronicle gave 2 out of 5 and stated "See Talaash only if you believe that Aamir Khan can do no wrong. Otherwise you’ll be left with a sinking feeling."[56] The Hindu stated that "It’s not like we haven’t seen anything like this before. If Kahaani used a key scene from a film called Taking Lives as a final twist, Talaash uses one of the most abused endings of this genre."[57] Firstpost stated that Talaash is a brave effort. Mainstream Bollywood movies try to keep it linear and uncomplicated. Directors avoid dealing with multiple strong subplots as might lead to a clutter.[58]


Talaash received mostly positive reviews overseas.[59] Rubina Khan of The First Post praised the film saying "Talaash is where your search for a good film begins. Reema Kagti’s search for a loyal audience for her kind of cinema ends with Talaash, which seems poised to make some serious cash at the box office as a sure fire winner." Ronnie Schieb of variety reviewed "Thesping never falters – Kapoor's enigmatic Rosie in particular tying the film together by her secret knowledge (the film's revelation is a doozy). Khan's glowering, repressed sadness may appear a bit one-note to American auds, his mustache tending to obliterate nuance, but his charisma is unmistakable. For the record, the title means "search."[60] The Los Angeles Times gave Talaash: The Answer Lies Within a negative review saying "it was a mediocre Bollywood import".[61] British entertainment and media news website Digital Spy gave 4 out of 5 stars and stated Talaash is the perfect marriage of cinematography, cast, dialogue and direction, despite all the evident hallmarks of Khan's own brand of brilliance, harking back to a bygone genre, the conclusion to the story might be deemed a tad too far-fetched for a modern audience.[62] Open Magazine gave the film 1 out of 5 stars and said the film was plagiarised from The Sixth Sense and acted by Aamir Khan.[63]

Box office[edit]


Talaash: The Answer Lies Within had a good opening at the multiplexes, where the collections were in the average of 65–70%.[64][65] The opening in the single screens were low, at an average of 40%.[64][66] The movie collected 125.0 million (US$1.8 million) nett in its opening day.[67] The movie showed considerable growth in its second day, collecting 145.0 million (US$2.1 million) nett.[68] The film had a good collection of 440.8 million (US$6.4 million) in its first weekend.[69] The film further collected 62.5 million (US$900,000) on Monday.[70] Talaash netted 643.1 million (US$9.3 million) in its first week.[71] The film netted 166.9 million (US$2.4 million) in second week to make a total of around 810 million in two weeks.[72] The film further netted 77.3 million (US$1.1 million) in its third week.[73] According to Box Office India, Talaash has grossed 895.0 million nett in three weeks.[74] Talaash added 7.5 million nett in week four taking its total to 902.5 million nett.[75] The film's final total was approximately 930 million (US$13 million) nett.[76]


Talaash had done excellent business overseas. Talaash had a $4.7 million opening at the overseas box office.[77] In its second weekend, the film grossed $7.25 million and was emerged a Super Hit.[78] Talaash further netted US$8 million plus in 17 days in overseas.[79][80] Talaash final overseas gross was US$8.5 million at the end of its overseas run and was fourth highest overseas grossing Bollywood film of 2012.[81][82]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Rani Mukherji won the Best Actress in a supporting Role award at the South African Indian Film Awards in 2013.[83]

Award Category Recipients and nominees Result Ref.
5th Mirchi Music Awards Lyricist of The Year Javed Akhtar - "Jee Le Zara" Won [84][85]
Male Vocalist of The Year Vishal Dadlani - "Jee Le Zaara" Nominated
Upcoming Female Vocalist of The Year Suman Sridhar - "Muskaanein Jhoothi Hai"
Raag-Inspired Song of the Year "Jiya Laage Na"
Programmer & Arranger of the Year Ram Sampath & Vrashal Chavan - "Jiya Laage Na"


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