Review - Nishabd: A well-told story

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

Despite my aversion to the concept of a father falling in love with his daughter’s friend, the movie had an overall impact. Great performances (like that’s a surprise!), straight-forward dialogues and a bold storyline make the movie worth watching. But does not necessarily warrant a trip to the theaters. It would have been better if they spent a little time on relationships other than the Amitabh Bachchan-Jiah Khan relationship. Also the overenthusiastic cameraman and murder-mystery style background music got exasperating after a while.

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Your personality determines your taste. Now, that is a pretty obvious statement! I consider myself liberal, but the concept of a father falling in love with his daughter’s friend just crosses a line that does not jell with my personality. Yeah-yeah, older people do fall in love with much younger people, and falling in love is natural. I understand all of that. But, reading about Nishabd gave me the feeling you get when you think of long nails screeching on a blackboard. Going in struggling to rid myself of that feeling, trying hard not to judge a book by its cover, and coming out with the thought, “so, what is love, after all?” – means the movie worked. It touched some chord somewhere, especially considering my attitude towards the subject.

Ram Gopal Varma played his first card right. He cast the only person who could pull this off (commercially) in Hindi cinema. On your way out you really feel bad for Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) even though he doesn’t fit into your moral boundaries. Vijay’s character is the most fleshed out and mostly consistent. The grim lighting in his monologue as narrator worked to show that he was a human who had resigned to his dark side.

May be to the disappointment of many, the thing that works the best is the very conspicuous absence of lust. The ‘lollipop’ and Jiah Khan’s ‘finger in the mouth’ in the promos are very misleading. There are no fireworks here. And that is the charm. Jiah might not be beauty personified but has screen presence and grabs your attention. And that is not just because she is skimpily clad. In a couple of scenes, just by one movement on her face, you knew what mood she was in.

The dialogues are crisp and keep you interested throughout. The characters are left nishabd or at the most ek-shabd when there is no need for dialogues.

However, on the whole the movie lacks depth. In tastefully handling the main relationship, the other relationships were ignored. The makers took the easy route. To highlight the intensity of the Vijay-Jiah relationship, they abandoned explanations for all other relationships.

My other rather huge complaint is against the background music and the cameraman. What was with the suspense-thriller type of music and camera work? The aerial shots of the tea estates were well-shot, but most of the close-ups and the dancing of the camera from one angle to other were very annoying.

So, is it okay now for a father to encourage a romantic relationship with his daughter’s friend? No certainly not, not even if it is Amitabh Bachchan! But, it is a story told well through its dialogues and performances. Why not a higher rating then? Because it felt incomplete.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Nishabd - Movie Details

Nishabd - Trailer

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