Spoiler Alert – The article below contains spoilers for the movie Talaash. Those who wish to watch the movie soon may read the Talaash Review instead of the full story.
The opening scene shows the streets of Mumbai at night with cars zooming past on the roads, people strolling on the rocks near the sea, poor men simply puffing on beedi, the red light area where gaudily dressed women seek their clients. As the credits roll by, night falls and the scene cuts to two men sitting on a roadside dozing off when a dog sleeping with them suddenly wakes up and starts whining. A cyclist is seen coming who also suddenly stops on hearing the dog and sees a car coming from the other side of the road. The car suddenly takes a turn and drops headlong into the sea.
Daytime and a huge crowd is gathered at the scene of the accident, police has barricaded and the car is being drawn from water (a crane does this). Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) arrives in his police jeep and talks to Devvrat (his junior) who will be working on the case with him. Devvrat says that he has heard a lot about Shekhawat and would be delighted to work with him.
When the car is pulled out and the door is opened, they discover that the dead man inside is superstar Armaan Kapoor. The eye witnesses say that it seemed as if the driver had seen something on the road and in an attempt to save (whatever he saw), he swerved and the accident occurred.
Shekhawat talks to Armaan’s wife who is in a shock but can throw no light on the accident. She tells them that Armaan never liked to drive. His driver and spot boy were supposed to be with him. When police talk to the driver and spot boy, they tell them the incidents of the previous evening – Armaan Kapoor was shooting on a film set and as usual after the pack up, the spot boy kept all his things in the car. After that Armaan asked both of them to leave from the sets only and said he will drive home himself (which was unusual but they did not question him). He left from that place at around 2.30 AM. The accident had occurred at around 4 PM. Devvrat tells Shekhawat that time taken to reach the spot from the sets was round half an hour. Shekhawat wonders out loud where the man could have been all that time then. Being a very high profile case, SS Shekhawat strictly tells all the police officers to not tell anything to the press before the case is solved. Constable Rane comes up and tells him that it seems to be A final case (a case which is closed for not being solved) as over the past few years such accidents have happened on the same road which had no clue and had to be put up as A final.
The accident spot is near the red light area. scene zooms into a small room in the area where a limping man (Nawazuddin Siddiqi) named Temur knocks on the door, waking up Shashi (he works with the pimps, his exact work is unclear). Temur tells Shashi that the superstar Armaan Kapoor is dead. Shashi’s girlfriend (who was earlier a prostitute) Mallika, also waking up, laughs and tells Shashi “Hey did you really meet Armaan last night! I thought you were joking!”. Temur looks puzzled, Shashi angrily tells him to leave and get him breakfast. When Temur turns to go, Shashi slaps Mallika and tells her not to blurt out things that he tells her in private. Mallika confused and angry leaves. Shashi seems very troubled.
He goes to the pimp’s place and many women are seen seated talking or getting ready. Rosy (Kareena Kapoor ) is sitting with three others when Shashi calls them to be taken to clients. He tells Salma that she is not needed as she is older. Temur comes up and tells her that she is still pretty (Temur is shown to have a soft spot for her). As Shashi drives away with them, a lot of policemen are shown on the road, seeing whom Shashi gets perturbed. Rosy says “itne passene kyun chhoot rahe hai Shashi” (Why do you look so troubled Shashi). He does not answer.
In the evening, Temur brings a new SIM card for Shashi, who throws out his old SIM card and puts the new one. When asked the purpose, he simply says he is going to his village for a few days and again shouts at Temur for being nosy. Limping, Temur craftily picks up the old SIM and keeps it.
Scene shifts to Shekhawat’s home where he, wife Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) are having dinner with friends. Things seem strained between the two. It is revealed that both are still recovering from thir son’s death.
One day the family had gone for a picnic near a lake when the two were dozing in the sun. their son Karan with his friend Samar were playing nearby. The two kids come up and ask if they could go a little farther, Roshni says yes. The kids jump into a motorboat in the lake and Samar manages to start it. Hearing the roar of the motor, Shekhawat wakes up. But by then the boat has gone some distance and it suddenly overturns. The two rush to save the kids, but only Samar was saved, Karan dies.
Shekhawat suffers from insomnia since then, he blames himself for not saving the kids on time or not stopping them from getting into the boat. He roams the city streets every night in his car.
The two shift to a new house. Roshni is unpacking alone in the house when the bell rings and a middle aged woman “Frenny Mistry” cheerily barges in with a cheesecake and welcomes Roshni to the new neighborhood. She asks for a cup of tea. And while Roshni is in the kitchen, this woman creepily starts checking the boxes and comes across the kid’s photo. She says “Hello Karan”. It is creepy as she did not know anything about the family.
Scene cuts to Shekhawat with Armaan’s wife and friend “Sanjay Kejriwal”. They tell him that the accountant had just called up to tell them that that day Armaan had asked for Rs 20 Lakh in cash. The police interrogate the accountant who said that he had given the money to Armaan in a green bag. Three years ago also he had personally gone to give similar amount on Armaan’s behalf to the receptioninst at Hotel Lido. When the police reach that hotel, the manager tells them that the receptionist “Murugan” had left work and nobody knew where he was.
Shekhawat and Roshni are walking near their house when Frenny catches up with them and Frenny tells Surjan that Karan wants to talk to him. Shocked Shekhawat shouts at her to stop telling lies, but Frenny insists that though Karan is dead, he (his soul) wants to talk to him. After reaching home he and Roshni both are in a shock and when she urges him to think about it, he angrily walks away.
Shekhawat is angry, sad and seen to be crying in his car when Kareena Kapoor comes up. She knocks on the door and Shekhawat tells her that he is a cop and not her client. A small dialogue takes place between them. When asked about Murugan, she tells him that everyone knows he is in Malar ( a village) and he is suffering from AIDS. Devvrat goes to the village and sees it is true. Murugan tells him that he worked for Shashi but does not know the motive.
Shekhawat and his team reach the pimp’s place and enquire about Shashi, but no one can tell them where he is. They catch Temur as he knows a lot about Shashi, but even after getting beaten up by the police, ha cannot tell them Shashi’s whereabouts. From the police station, Temur comes to know that Shashi was dealing in something big. After going back, he puts Shashi’s old SIM in his phone and it rings. The caller tells him to meet him in the mela the next day to collect the money.
Shekhawat again meets Rosy and asks about Shashi. She tells him to keep a lookout and he will surface. The next day while he is thinking about the conversation, something clicks and he tells the police to look for Shashi in the mortuary. True, Shashi was killed that day in the mela , someone had shot at him from a distance.
Roshni meets Frenny and they hold a séance where again Karan (through Frenny) tells his mom to be happy.
On hearing about Shashi’s muder, Temur makes a plan of blackmailing the caller, as he had called him to the mela. Temur calls the number and says he will reveal everything to the police. Surprisingly, it was Sanjay Kejriwal’s number. And Kareena (Rosy) is standing with Temur when made the call. The plot gets complicated as everyone is shown to be playing an important role, but who is what, is unclear.
Sanjay goes to his father and confesses that someone is blackmailing him. He says that “Nikhil” accident was a lie. But what actually happened, the audience is not told yet.
Again Shekhawat meets Rosy. He asks her whether she had ever met Armaan Kapoor. She says yes. Confused, he asks her to tell him everything. She said –“ Armaan’s friend Nikhil was Shashi’s customer. One night he called up Shashi to send a girl, I was sent. This guy Nikhil was with Armaan and another man (Sanjay). They all went for a drive.” When he goes to see Nikhil, it is shown that after a accident Nikhil has been paralysed and is unable to speak or do anything.
When he reaches home, Shekhawat discovers that Roshni has been holding séances and gets mad at her. Frenny urges Shekhawat to “heal himself” else the spirits will seek him too as they get drawn to people who are sad and depressed (they had seeked her after she was sad when her husband had died) . Roshni gets angry too and leaves her husband. Shekhawat again takes to roaming the streets and comes across Rosy and breaks down. She takes him to a hotel and he tells her about his family and grievances. She talks to him and he falls asleep, for the first time after so many days. Rosy also tells him that Mallika is being harassed by the pimp after Shashi’s death. The next day Shekhawat rescues her. Mallika in turn tells him that Shashi did meet Armaan that night and Temur knows a lot. Meanwhile Sanjay has asked Temur to meet him to collect the money.
Temur involves Salma in the plan to collect the money. He calls Sanjay at the railway station. When he reaches there, he is told to come to a train with the blue bag of money. Temur takes it from Sanjay and Sanjay’s men follow Temur. A chase scene follows. Temur cleverly exchanges an empty bag with Salma and when the goons catch him they get an empty bag. They beat him badly and he blurts that he is the blackmailer. Sanjay tells the men to shoot him and run away. Temur is shot and the goons are escaping when Rosy appears on the scene. Seeing her, Temur is seen to be shocked ans he just shouts “I did not do anything” and slips and falls off the building and dies.
The police manage to catch one goon who had shot Temur. He tells them that Sanjay had asked them to do this. Also the people who saw Temur die after he fell say that he muttered “Simran” before he died.
When Shekhawat goes to arrest Sanjay he tells them that he was being blackmailed and tells them the whole story –
Three years ago Sanjay, Armaan and Nikhil were going to a party and it was Nikhil’s idea to take a prostitute along. He called up Shashi and this girl (Rosy) came. Nikhil started kissing her in the car and some how the door opened and the two fell. Sanjay and Armaan rushed Nikhil to the hospital but not willing to take a call girl, they left her and called Shashi. This girl died.
Shashi had called them up the next day and said that a video footage (at the place where they took this girl from) has captured them with the girl and he will tell the police they have killed the girl. Since then Shashi had been blackmailing them.
When Shekhawat sees the footage he is shocked to see that the girl with them was Rosy. He concludes that Shashi was lying and they were falsely blackmailed.
As he drives Sanjay to the police station, suddenly Rosy appears in the car back seat, then in front of their car and at the same spot where Armaan died, his jeep also overturns and nosedives into the sea. Sanjay dies on the spot but Aamir is saved by Rosy. It is clear now that Rosy is actually a ghost. She had died that night three years ago and was seeking revenge upon the men who had left her to die and Shashi and Temur who had misused her death to blackmail people.
In the end, police do not believe Shekhawat’s story but as everyone involved (Armaan, Sanjay, Shashi , Temur) are dead, the case is closed with a hastily drawn statement.