A suspense drama with a strong emotional core to it — that’s how Reema Kagti describes her much-awaited Aamir Khan-starrer Talaash

She is the director of arguably the most highly anticipated movie to end this year, yet she wears the mantle lightly. “There is no point worrying about anything. When it was time, I worked quite hard on the film; it’s time to get excited about the release now,” says Reema Kagti, just days away from the release of Talaash (November 30) with Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles.

The film, a suspense drama, is Aamir’s first in three years, and has been in the news ever since he green lighted the project. The story follows cop Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir), his wife Shreya (Rani) and a sex worker Rosy (Kareena) as their lives get intricately linked via a series of ‘accidents’. Nawazuddin Sheikh (Kahaani and Gangs Of Wasseypur) also plays a pivotal role. “I’d not call my film a suspense thriller; it’s a suspense drama. There is a strong emotional core to it. While the film starts with a police investigation in Mumbai, there are many layers to it. The mainstay of the film is its emotional content. It’s about dealing with loss,” says the director, adding, “This type of content is not seen as stuff of commercial cinema.”

Reema wanted to begin this film over two years ago, but Aamir, whom she wanted to play Shekhawat, wasn’t even reading scripts then. “I was disappointed but I went around to a few other actors who did not want to take up this role. Then, of course, Zoya (Akhtar) and I got busy with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Last year, Farhan and Aamir had a chat when my film came up again and it had him hooked at the very first narration. Once he had given his nod, I approached Kareena and Rani, who were my original cast. That’s how I have three bankable actors with their accompanying stardom in Talaash,” she says, smiling.

Shooting in Mumbai

Reema has gone the extra mile, shooting in areas in Mumbai that are part of its fast-fading present. “We shot in art deco buildings, in old bungalows in Bandra, in Parsi colonies. In fact, a lot is being said about us shooting in Kamathipura (Mumbai’s red light area), but actually that’s not the case. Had I shot there, I would’ve considered myself as part of those who victimise the girls. None of us wanted to do that so we reconstructed a brothel on the road next to Faras Road (Kamathipura) near Alfred Cinema,” she says. “We used to mainly shoot at nights and that can be pretty annoying in a residential area. We shot in Khareghat Parsi colony for many nights and whenever we’d take a break, the residents would be out offering us snacks and refreshments! I was amazed that in spite of ruffling up feathers, we were treated well by everyone,” she adds.

Talking about the high-points in her movie, Reema says, “My Shekhawat is a real cop; he’s not comical or over-the-top. He craves the truth but his hands are tied. He does not believe in beating up anyone, but is highly frustrated that he has to cope with red-tapism. Talaash is full of surprises. I’d just appeal to the people to keep the surprises intact. It’s a thriller, so please don’t reveal the suspense. Apart from the suspense, the emotional layering keeps the film mysterious.”

Describing herself as a “knee-jerk liberal and a dichotomous individual who oscillates between extremes of being super systematic professionally and slob central personally”, Reema likes to cook and play poker when she’s not pursuing her cinematic interests. She’s currently building a script around some political news she read recently. “It’s going to be a comedy drama,” she says, with a deadpan expression.

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