Nishabd poster


wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

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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Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Running time: 110 minutes
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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

20 reviewers(?) - 7 yays 4 so-so 9 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Yet I say that ‘Nishabd’ is a piece of good cinema because a few flaws in the form can never undermine the strength of content... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...Instead of stereotypical portrayal of sensuality through provocative dialogues, the sensuality is brought through the attitude and the costumes... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Admirably, the director's decided not to spoon-feed his audience by explaining every character's every motivation... full review

Thumbs up, by Indicine Team, Indicine : ...Nishabd is a movie with a lot of shock value... full review

Thumbs up, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...The best aspect of Nishabd is that in spite of a dark subject Ramu has made the film very lively.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The film luxuriates in this leggy languor, the entire first half focussing on the inevitable spark, the undeniable chemistry, between this perfectly cast odd-couple... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Shukla, : ...'Nishabd' is not an entertainer, but it is for sure a good film... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...NISHABD is sensitively handled. No two opinions on that!... full review

So-So, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, : ...Unfortunately, the film ends abruptly and one keeps wishing that the director had something more to say... full review

So-So, by GaRaM, Now : ...He captures each moment of the film in a lyrical manner.... full review

So-So, by Ashok Nayak, Now : ...She matches up to the Big b throughout the movie and for a newcomer it's no easy a task to stand up to the legend.... full review

Thumbs down, Cybernoon: ... The least Varma and his writers could have done is speak to a few psychiatrists and got better jargon... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, : ...C’mon Ramu, how many people that age will want to fall in love all over again after they have found the love of their life!... full review

Thumbs down, by Vaibhav Wankhede, M TV : ...Even Bachchan's acting credibility can't save his poorly etched character - the weakest point in the movie.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sunil Chaudhary, MovieWalah : ...The movie is a complete disaster, it fails in numerous aspects, but most importantly in its theme... full review

Thumbs down, by, : ...In the name of art, RGV this time pushed the envelope too far... full review

Thumbs down, by Oz, Passion for Cinema : ...but the fear of another rejection is blatantly out there on the screen to see in this work of Varma... full review

Thumbs down, by Phoenixnu, Passion for Cinema : ...Ramu has already justified everything with his biggest reason/logic, even before its release….some love stories are never meant to be understood... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Wish the director had allowed Amitabh a little more fun and foreplay before he became overridden with guilt and depression.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saakshi Juneja, To Each Its Own : ...Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan, I would have walked out half-way thru the film.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Ritu (Shradha Arya) brings home her friend Jiah (Jiah Khan) for a vacation. Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), Ritu's father who is indifferent to Jiah at first, slowly gets attracted towards her free spirit. What follows is something you should find out on your own.

What Worked

  • The camera movement in the first scene. Vijay stands on a hill top looking down. The camera moves to make you feel dizzy just like one would feel when you are at a height and are looking down. The problem is they used this movement in 3-4 other scenes making it very irritating.
  • Vijay's reaction to Jiah's 'under the table' flirting. It felt very natural, since he has no clue how to react.
  • Focus on Jiah's knees to show sensuousness. Much better than focusing on the breast and butt.
  • The combination of sitar, flute and drums in the last scene between Vijay and Jiah.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Vijay yelling at Ritu. Just does not make sense
  • Ritu's maternal uncle's character - hard to believe such cool-headed people exist.
  • In the scene after Vijay, his wife and Jiah look at Jiah's pictures there is glint of suspicion in the wife's eyes. But that is not carried forward.


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

Okay, this time I am absolutely nit-picking!

  • Was that soap Jiah uses in the bathroom? No lather at all?
  • In one scene, the camera positions alternate between showing Vijay from front and back. Maybe it was the lighting, but his hair looked shiny-gray from behind and blackish from the front.

Nishabd - Cast, crew, links

Supporting Cast:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Art Direction:
Running time:
110 minutes

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