Nishabdham Review: The thriller falls flat

Nishabdham

What’s it about?

Set in Seattle in the USA, Sakshi (Anushka), a deaf and mute painter, and musician Anthony (Madhavan) get engaged. A couple of days after their engagement, Sakshi’s best friend Sonal (Shalini Panday) goes missing. Sakshi and Anthony head to a villa to spend some days together.

Anthony is murdered in that haunted villa while Sakshi gets brutally attacked. Maha (Anjali), a crime detective, begins probe into the incident. She doesn’t buy the story of a supernatural entity attacking them. Will she able to find who killed Anthony?

Analysis

Nearly two years after the release of ‘Bhaagamathie’ (2018), Anushka has come up with this movie, ‘Nisabhdam’. The 2-hr length thriller is currently streaming on Prime Video in Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam languages.

This is not a horror movie or ghost thriller. This is a murder-mystery thriller. Director Hemanth Madhukar didn’t miss a single trope that is associated with this genre, right from beginning the story with a voice-over of a non-lead actor (here Anjali does this).

The story is set up well in the first act with the killing of Madhavan and Anjali beginning the investigation. Anushka cannot speak or hear. The setup is an ideal ‘stuff’ to weave an engaging drama. But, for a thriller, the tight screenplay and final act are very crucial but ‘Nishabdham’ falters big time in these aspects.

Artificiality can be seen throughout all sequences. 

Can an investigator comment on her psychiatrist as a psycho when she is leaving the Pooja for her work? A detective officer who claims she solved many cases and boasts of her high intelligence seeks the help of her husband, who looks more like a comedian, to inform the police when she sees the threat to her life when she’s on a mission.

Coming to the story, like I said, the plot is enough to engage us provided the narration is interesting. The thriller’s final plot-twist is also fine but the reasoning isn’t. The reason itself is improbable. Shalini Panday’s character lacks depth. The reasoning given for her character’s behavior is also unconvincing. 

Moreover, the thread of Subbaraju, Anushka, and Shalini’s friendship is no way convincing. The amateur handling of such scenes has spoiled the proceedings. A crime detective played by Anjali seeking her husband’s help during her investigation is also silly to watch. 

The poor handling of the climax and the artificial twist is a huge drawback. 

Coming to performances, Anushka delivers a neat performance. Without uttering a word, she expresses everything with her body language. The story revolves around her but the film equally gives more importance to other actors like Anjali, Shalini, and Subbaraju. Anjali has as much role as Anushka does have. Madhavan as a cello player is okay. Although he doesn’t have a big role, he leaves his mark. Shalini Pandey as a possessive friend is good. Subbaraju’s role is not only weak his acting is also clueless. His role looks out of place in the story. Hollywood actor Michael Madsen doesn’t impress at all.

For whatever the reason the story is set in the USA, the backdrop definitely has brought richness to the visuals. Also, the camerawork stands out. The background score is another asset in the technical aspects. Although Gopi Sundar’s songs are mellifluous, they don’t gel in the narration. 

Bottom-line: ‘Nishabdham’ plods with the weak screenplay, dull narration, and unconvincing reasoning for the twist. With zero emotional connection, this falls flat.

By Jalapathy Gudelli

Rating: 2/5

Film: Nishabdham
Cast: Anushka Shetty, Madhavan, Anjali, Shalini Panday,
Subbaraju, Michael Madsen, and others
Music: Gopi Sundar
Cinematography: Shaneil Deo
Producer: TG Vishwa Prasad
Written & direction: Hemant Madhukar
Release Date: October 02, 2020
OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

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