Horror, thrills, suspense, drama, romance, jealousy, possessiveness, loyalty and a lot more comes together in Nishabdham, a film that mixes quite a few genres and brings on a myriad of emotions in this play time of two hours. So while horror kick-starts the proceedings, it’s the suspense element that keeps you excited enough about Nishabdham.
Set in Seattle, the film starts in the early 70s where an American couple is found killed under mysterious circumstances. A simple night out over a round of wine and some fine music is ruined when the man is found crucified on the wall and the woman is lynched by some mysterious and unseen creatures. While the villa is soon given the tag of being a ‘haunted house’, there is renewed interest in it only in the present time when it is picked up by a new owner, refurbished and visited by a newly engaged Indian couple, Madhavan – an internationally renowned cello player and Anushka Shetty, a gifted painter.
What shocks within first 15 minutes itself is the turn that takes place in the narrative, something that you just didn’t see coming. Soon enough, other characters in the story are introduced, namely a cop [Anjali], a common friend [Subbaraju], a mystery girl [Shalini Pandey] and a police chief [Michael Madsen].
Anjali wonders if everything is what it seems, Subbaraju – who has been Anushka’s confidante – is eager to help, Shalini gets into Urmila Matondkar avtar a la Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya whereas Michael Madsen has his own troubled past and present with no redemption round the corner from the future.
The good part about Nishabdham is that each of these characters eventually find themselves connected to the core story and aren’t just peripheral to the scheme of things. At times, a couple of principle characters may seem to go missing from the story telling but then there is a reason behind that, something that is revealed as the movie progresses further. Moreover, despite the complexities involved in the plot, filmmaker Hemant Madhukar ensures that it is all told in a simple manner so that audiences do not have to tax their brains too much.
That said, there are cinematic liberties galore as well. In the kind of killings that are shown, forensics is expected to have the biggest role to play but there is not even a trace of the team. Cops get murdered in day light and there is no on-the-site investigation that happens despite clues staring on the face. Creatures seem to have played a major role in the mysterious deaths but there is hardly a mention of that. Some commonalities are also evidenced around various disappearing in the city and yet there isn’t much of a tangible action in that direction.
However, one doesn’t get into such nitty-gritty after a point since it is apparent that the idea behind the film was to put together a quick-fire thriller which took the filmy route instead of bringing on an element of reality. In that aspect, it turns out to be a rather easy role to perform for Madhavan, which he does satisfactorily. Anushka Shetty knew that she isn’t required to push herself as an actress like in Baahubali franchise and is expectedly good.
Anjali has a substantial role in the first half and looks quite good too. Shalini brings in different shades when compared to how one has seen her before. Subbaraju makes his presence felt quite well, especially in the second half. As for Michael Madsen, it seems like ‘a walk in the par’ kind of a role for him, considering his experience of having done over 300 films in Hollywood.
An edge of the seat thriller that keeps you guessing right from the start till the end with ample twists and turns in there, what impresses most is the seamless manner in which the genres flip during the narrative. Watch it for some leisure time.