Discerning fans of Bollywood are in for a treat with this sombre crime thriller. No-nonsense Mumbai police inspector Surjan Singh Sekhawat (Aamir Khan) is called on to investigate the death of a superstar, Armaan Kapoor (Vivan Bhatena), whose car inexplicably veered off a highway and plunged into the sea. The investigation leads Sekhawat into the underbelly of the sex industry where he encounters sultry Rosy (Kareena Kapoor). The troubled married cop becomes increasingly close to his informant and estranged from his grieving wife Roshni (Rani Mukherji), who is struggling to come to terms with the death of their son.
Director Reema Kagti sets the tone from the outset with the opening credits: a montage of sober night images of ordinary Mumbai street life. She takes us into the notorious red-light district around the city’s Grant Road area, emphasing the broken lives of the three protagonists rather than the eventual outcome of the case. The result is a poignant, melancholy but never maudlin exploration of the unbearable pain caused by loss.
Performances are uniformly impressive, with Khan proving again that he is the finest actor of his generation. The customary songs are never intrusive, blending seamlessly into the background score. Kagti’s deliberate slow pacing of the plot gradually immerses us in the lives of these damaged souls. While she is clearly influenced by Indian-American director M Night Shyamalan’s trademark supernatural style, her film is rooted in pure Indian beliefs. Perhaps the plot does not make sense on a second viewing, but as the title translates, this fruitful ‘search’ provides the necessary thrills and tears. A tip: do stick around for the final shot of the end credits.