Nishabdam Movie Review: A two-hour forced narration to convey a lousy message



  • Nishabdam, named Silence in Tamil, has been directed by Hemanth Madhukar and produced by Kona Venkat who also wrote the screenplay
  • Despite the star casting including Madhavan, Anushka Shetty and Anjali, the film largely lacks the substance to engage the audience
  • The idea to film a mystery thriller with perspective story-telling can be appreciated. However, it has plenty of lethargic loopholes in its 2-hour narration

Silence, named Nishabdam in Tamil, begins with a shot of a secluded villa in Seattle, US followed by a couple dancing for a song holding a glass of wine each. The eerie camera moves to reveal something startling has been set. The scene ends with the couple getting murdered and crucified by an unknown force (typical horror stunts) in the basement of the woodhouse villa. This incident happens in 1972 and hence the place is termed as a haunted villa.

The real story, as narrated by Mahalakshmi a Seattle police officer played by Anjali, begins 49 years after the first incident inside the villa. Sakshi (Anushka Shetty) shows up as a differently-abled (aurally & orally) sketch artist who falls for the world-class cello player, Anthony (Madhavan). Sonali (Shalini Pandey) is a close friend of Sakshi and both of them share a deep relationship while growing up in an orphanage together. Vivek (Subbaraju) is a popular photographer who travels with the key characters in the film.

It takes some time to understand the relationship between the characters in the film until we are ‘taught’ by the narrators in the course. Speaking about narration, it might feel like the lack of synchronization experienced during a mobile conversation due to network issues. To make the audience engage with the plot, the story-telling aspect should subconsciously guide them into the world of the characters. However, Silence drags the attention of the viewer, which is already lost elsewhere and probably, who may be thinking to pause the film or continue watching later (which would not have been possible in theatres).

The laziness in writing even such a long-forgotten template horror or thriller could be spotted throughout the film. Having said that, the idea to tell a compelling mystery thriller or horror story from varied perspectives deserves appreciation. The whodunnit factor introduced in the middle of the film literally ‘betrays’ the audience who might have expected to watch a horror or ghost story. Therefore they have to forget the first five minutes, except for the Josephine artwork. The off-beat behavioural pattern of the character Captain Richard Dickens (Michael Madsen) coupled with Maha’s self-proclaimed intelligent quotient could allude to the enchantment of a 3-year-old kid in a peek-a-boo game.

The audience should strictly turn off their logical instincts without which, it will be really hard to feel the intricately layered suspense elements like the scene where Richard opens the door of a house with an ‘evidence key’ but the intruder Maha uses her intellect and finds a window that can be opened in just a slide.

A few minutes before taking the 2-hour forced narration to a halt, the director unveils a series of twists to convey a lousy message about the concept of love. The clean roads of the US, neatly constructed houses, art-galleries, greeneries, local police departments, and explicitly staged performances of actors might create curiosity for people who are not even fond of primary school kids stage plays.


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