Star Cast: R Madhavan, Anushka Shetty, Subbaraju, Shalini Pandey, Anjali, Michael Madsen and ensemble
Director: Hemant Madhukar
What’s Good: Only the intention and a few people got employment out of it.
What’s Bad: That no one saw the screaming flaws in the script.
Loo Break: Decide if you really want to watch it in the first place.
Watch or Not?: My heart breaks to say this for a film with actors like Madhavan, Shetty and Subbaraju in it, but you can skip this one.
The film opens to the story of a haunted house where a couple was killed back in 1972. Cut to 2019, Sakshi (Anushka Shetty) and Anthony (R Madhavan) come to the same place. Madhavan is killed, and a deaf and mute Sakshi (Explaining the title Nishabdham) is at the centre of it all. Begins the cat and mouse chase to find out who the killer is if it was a ghost or we the audience have really had enough of it already.
Nishabdham Movie Review: Script Analysis
Okay, so I saw this film while it was dark (PS: I went into it without watching any trailer or reading any source material). The first 20 minutes had me preparing for a horror ride. The yesteryear ‘this villa is haunted, and the ghost seeks justice’ level drama. But guess what? It was just the first 20 minutes, the ghost was forgotten, and I felt bad for him more than anyone while the end credits rolled.
Nishabdham opens up to a sequence we have seen multiple times, while it does, we assume that this is yet another no harm film. But the tonality changes so random and so swiftly that you are now watching a murder mystery/thriller. Hemant Madhukar, who is also the writer, creates a montage of disjointed scenes and tries to make an engaging thriller out of it.
Everyone, EVERYONE has a dark secret, which they speak about through voiceovers, which isn’t bad. But the reasons these voice-overs reveal are so silly and predictable that I am shocked they needed a police investigation and FBI to solve this case.
That brings me to the details in writing. A hilarious scene (it wasn’t supposed to be) has a mute Anushka Shetty’s Sakshi being interrogated by Anjali’s Maha. At this point, Maha is talking to Sakshi in Telugu, and the Sign Language Interpreter is a white American woman, who is translating ‘Telugu’ to ASL. FBI should have instead investigated this.
There are many such loopholes and you don’t even need to be a cinema literate to point them out.
Nishabdham Movie Review: Star Performance
I am team Madhavan for life, but what can he do if the content on paper doesn’t allow him to be what he is capable of. Same goes with the rest of the cast. These are actors who have been acclaimed for their respective works, and when you see them stuck here, you are contemplating the possible reason they said yes to this project.
Madhavan gets to be a baddie once, and there is hope for like 30 seconds there, but… You know. Michael Madson is reduced to Telugu to English translated dialogue speaking white man. His motive in all of this is still not clear. Actually even that doesn’t make any impact on the story.
Nishabdham Movie Review: Direction, Music
Not that Hemant Madhukar tries to conceal his writing glitches with his direction, instead they are more visible here. First of all, your title is Nishabdham, and there is no concrete reason to justify it. How am I supposed to connect with a metaphor referring to a mute Sakshi when she always roams around with an interpreter with her.
Add to it, the people around her catch the ASL in no time. So conveying things or expressing them is never an obstacle for Sakshi. In my opinion, she is too vocal for a person who is referred to silence in this story.
Also, why is this film even set in the US? Did it make any difference to the narrative other than all characters got to say FBI at least once?
The set design is a staple and justifies the purpose. For a person who has fallen in love with albums from Sufiyum Sujathayum, Vaanam Kottattum and a few more in the recent times, Nishabdham’s music left little to no impact on me.
Nishabdham Movie Review: The Last Word
The South industry is doing wonders with thrillers if you have seen some of the films. Take the recent C U Soon, or Overtake maybe. But Nishabdham fails massively to enter the list. I know the reference and examples I gave are vastly Malayalam but aren’t we over the language barrier debate already?
One and a half stars!
Nishabdham releases on 2nd October 2020.
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