The crux of this R Balki film revolves around the complex relationship between filmmakers and film critics. The narrative kicks off with the brutal murder of a well-known film reviewer in his own home, with Inspector Arvind, played by Sunny Deol, leading the investigation. As the plot unfolds, more critics meet a similar fate, each marked with bloody stars on their foreheads. The common thread linking these murders is traced back to the film reviews they had penned.
In response to the escalating threat, Arvind advises critics to exercise caution and provide positive reviews for upcoming movies. Despite the warning, Kartik, a film critic, opts for a critical review. The remainder of the film delves into the repercussions that follow. Amidst the suspense and tension, a love story unfolds between Danny (Dulquer Salmaan), a florist, and Nila (Shreya Dhanwantry), a journalist.
The screenplay by R Balki, Raja Sen, and Rishi Virmani is clever and effective. The direction of R Balki needs addressing. There is no reward for identifying the murderer. It is obvious right away. But it is narrated in such a way that the audience will feel startled when the perpetrator is revealed. There are enough entertaining and exciting scenes in the movie to maintain interest. Hearing the lovely songs of SD Burman and Guru Dutt combination at unexpected time was an absolute treat. Vishal Sinha’s stunning camera work adds the overall beauty.
“Second half is a bloody mess”, “Every frame is like a painting”. No. It is not about this movie. It is reviews of a movie inside this movie. We would have heard this sentence in at least few reviews. In this movie, those lines come in a creepy tone. That was cool.
Kaagaz Ke Phool
In another way, ‘Chup’ is about Guru Dutt’s last movie, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ as well. Due to its heavy philosophical content, which the wider populace could not relate to, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ was a box office flop at the time of its release. We have a lot of examples of masterpieces that were trashed by, sometimes, audience, and, sometimes, by critics, when they first appeared but got cult status and importance over time. The art will get the due respect over the period of time but the artist who made it? Guru Dutt was greatly devastated by its failure and his studio was nearly destroyed. ‘Kaagaz ke Phool’ was later revitalized as a classic. Danny, with tears in his eyes, watching ‘Kaagaz Ke Phootl’ and we hear him reading various negative reviews of the movie, is a beautiful scene.
The acting performances are first-rate. Danny, the cold, calculating serial killer, is masterfully played by Dulquer Salmaan. He is absolutely brilliant and convincing. What a period he is having! Amazing Shreya Dhanwanthary as Nila is ravishingly scintillating. I was eager to see what the Bollywood is going to offer her after her wonderful performance in “Scam 1992”. She handles a demanding role exceedingly well. Her portions with Dulquer are absolutely delightful to watch on screen. That is Balki’s forte. Beautifully presented. Sunny Deol is fantastic as Arvind Mathur. Happy to see him on screen again. Saranya Ponvannan, in a short role, is super cute as a blind single mother who is so enamoured of movies.
Warning: A load of blood. Too much violence. Sometimes hard to look at the screen. If this is ok, then this movie has everything for cine lovers and music lovers. Yes. For cinephile and melomaniac.
What didn’t work for me? The finale act. Not at all.
“Chup” may not be as groundbreaking as it could have been, but still is a great theatre watch. The incorporation of classic songs that is carefully infused into the storyline compliment the unfolding drama. The remarkable performance from Dulquer Salmaan as the eerie yet charismatic Danny, his romance with Shreya and Guru Dutt, plus SD Burman songs worth your time, and demands repeat watching.
When Nila says “Zinda feel karne keliye cinema chaahiye”, Danny does not reply but I did, silently. “Madam, thats my dialogue”.
Cinephile. Learning the art of filmmaking. Script Writer of Amutha (Tamil) and Pattaapakal (Malayalam). Filmmaker.