Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Pooja Bhatt, Sunny Deol & Ensemble.
Director: R. Balki
What’s Good: An untouched idea, Balki’s love for cinema, Dulquer’s approach, and of course the ode to the legend that deserved much more, Guru Dutt.
What’s Bad: Baring the few convenient decisions, there is nothing that should stop you from watching this fresh idea that is supremely unexplored in cinema.
Loo Break: If your bladder can wait, Balki has an amazing story to tell, if not there is a predictable chunk, and you will know.
Watch or Not?:You should, for the sake of a filmmaker and his team trying to bring a virgin concept amid the gazillion remakes we are subjected to. Support an intelligent immersive idea, this might greenlight many more to come.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available On: Theatrical release
Runtime: 135 Minutes.
I am writing a review in an almost empty local train at around 12:00 am about a psychopath serial killer set loose and is targeting film critics who give inappropriate ratings to movies opposite to the merit of the product. The police are chasing him but he is always a step ahead. No stress readers, I am alive! (wink wink).
Chup Movie Review: Script Analysis
Confession before I begin my job that of a ‘critic’, I am a self-proclaimed top order Guru Dutt fan who dreams he could travel time and just witness the magic of his existence live. So you know this movie is partly personal to me. Now the critic takes over.
R. Balki represents a brand in cinema that looks at the world around us in different dynamics. His stories are about the absurdity in the normal and the gaze that makes it absurd in the first place. Be it Cheeni Kum, Paa, Shamitabh, or Ki & Ka. Even when they don’t land where they are supposed to, they kick-start a conversation and a constructive one to take the thinking of its viewer a step ahead. If not anything, one must appreciate his gest to be original and bring to us some fresh content.
The filmmaker with his co-writers Raja Sen (a celebrated film critic) and Rishi Virmani now enters the what if?.. zone and creates a story that delves into virgin lands and one that is so delicate that one wrong step and the entire castle crashes down in a blink. There is an actor-filmmaker who was shunned back in the time (Dutt), a self-proclaimed successor plans to take revenge for the wrong done to his idol, and for that, he kills the clan responsible. You know the thin line I am talking about now.
But Balki doesn’t fear to go to the most absurd of the turns and create a story that is so immersive that you start to ignore the little flaws. In their writing, the three shape the movie as an ode, a love letter to cinema, and one of its biggest legends Guru Dutt, a man not celebrated enough when alive. There is also angst that fuels not just the protagonist, but the viewer as well. There’s a fan who seeks justice and knows no court will grant him that and takes the law into his hands.
Now, this fan is not an aimless, jobless youth who just gets on to it, but a man who has lived abuse and childhood of trauma himself. He lives with not one but two personalities and his head is a constant box of convoluted voices. In his most difficult times, cinema gave him hope and specifically Guru Dutt. So if the world insults his refuge, it is his insult. Look at it like yourself and confess the number of times you took refuge under the colorful umbrella of cinema. Can you hear anything bad about those films easily? The makers give that same emotion a wild take and it works just right. Balki wins the show when he decides to give an epilogue in the last 10 minutes and bring two lives a full circle.
Chup is about a legend whose cinema spoke of the world and what it consists of, good bad, and ugly. So does Balki’s writing that tries to capture it all. But while all of it works, there are also convenient steps that he takes to jump to the next scenes. You can see how everything is served easily nearby so the script can progress towards the more lucrative conflict and that is indeed a problem.
Also, the writers do try to bring in fresh romance around flowers but are also real to the time it is set in. The girlfriend tells the boyfriend that she cannot have s*x on a certain day because she has her periods. It’s a blink-and-miss scene but talks about the authentic approach in volumes. But this same love story is supremely ignored in the second half only to bring it back by the end. And that does serve has a roadblock.
Chup Movie Review: Star Performance
Dulquer Salmaan is definitely here to stay and rule industries regardless of languages. In his portrayal of a man with a mental disorder, his approach is subtle and not overtly dramatic. It is his performance that brings the ‘real’ vibe to a world that is highly fictional and borderline demands a lot of suspension of disbelief. Writers and actors, here’s your reference for how to balance a movie.
Shreya Dhanwanthary plays an entertainment journalist and is limited to that part. Of course she is the love interest and does more than just being a journalist, but not enough to root for her. She does an amazing job and she is an actor who can make you root for her, but that are her capabilities, that doesn’t mean the script should heavily rely just on her.
Sunny Deol is a treat here, you guys. Just like the hand pump he gets to jump across two walls while he could have taken the stairs, but I bought it because so much fun! I would have been disappointed if there was no such moment between a performance that is rightfully restricted and seasoned with mean one-liners.
Pooja Bhatt in an extended cameo is Pooja Bhatt and I like to see her onscreen. Also can we please have more of Saranya Ponvannan and the flamboyance she brings to the story. A blind single mother, who is obsessed with films, so much that she stays near the Mehboob studio and is a heroine in her own film in her head. Such a fun character and a fresh approach
Chup Movie Review: Direction, Music
R. Balki as a director shapes this movie like the films that tell you the story and unravel the most important part in a monologue. He also treats it as a meta story that takes elements from the real life, his opinion and conversations. Like a wall has a ‘Woody Allen Is Innocent’ frame, or a critic saying the government has security for zillion MPs but not for them. You know that it is about the world you are living in and not just a fictional movie.
It helps because it gives a big perspective to an already immersive story. While worshipping cinema and Guru Dutt, he even pays an ode to Mumbai and its cinematic glory. In a beautifully shot song, locations, and mentions. There is love in everything he does and it shows.
Vishal Sinha’s frames help him do so as he captures the scenes thinking how Guru Dutt could have and even some that resemble his style. The top shots and close frames especially. The homage in the climax is a frame that will be remembered and I am not spoiling that for you.
Aman Pant’s music is soothing and haunting at the same time. The rendition of Yeh Duniya Agar is so moving and alarming that Sahir Ludhianvi’s words from almost 65 years ago still feel relevant and touch the right chord. The use of the old classic songs to create fear is also a good technique and works. Amit Trivedi’s Gaya Gaya adds poetry to the romance that is doomed from the word go.
Chup Movie Review: The Last Word
Chup comes from a team that immensely loves cinema and everything it represents, you must surrender to an idea that is untouched and brilliant. With some minor flaws, you should not miss watching his ode which is more than just a movie about a killer on loose.
Chup releases on 23 September, 2022.
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Missed watching Vijay Deverakonda’s Hindi debut? Read our Liger Movie Review here.