Full marks for the originality of the story of Chup Revenge of the Artist: There is a serial killer on the loose in Mumbai, whose targets are film critics. Oooh, shudder me wood. It’s the kind of thought that I’m sure must have occurred to so many filmmakers, not just in the Bay, but in movie centers around the world, basically everywhere where cinema makers feel attacked by insensitive critics who are stingy with their stars , and generous with their criticisms.
One after another Mumbai police led by Inspector Arvind Mathur (Sunny Deol) finds brutally murdered bodies and sets out to find the perpetrator who seems to be craving blood. Meanwhile, a love story unfolds between florist Danny (Dulquer Salmaan) and newbie journalist Nila (Shreya Dhanwantry), who is tired of her entertainment rhythm — yeh stars kya khaate hain, kya pehente hain — and is dying to become a film critic.
Chup Movie Trailer:
Well, not exactly die, excuse me, because that’s what the petrified gang of Mumbai critics don’t want. Of course not. Who wants to risk their life for a review? As the death toll mounts, a psychologist (Pooja Bhatt) is summoned, who declares that most serial killers are male, and immediately discovers a pattern, and the hunt begins.
The problem with Chup (yikes, do I really say this) is that, while I smiled at the bizarre plot, it wasn’t quite as successful in getting me to suspend my disbelief: the characters seem to come from a fantasy, set in the side streets. of Bollywood-infused Bandra, and if it was meant to be, this one needed more power. The best fantasies need to be grounded, and this conceit never feels heavy enough.
At one point, the back-and-forth cuts between the murders and the swooning lovers become too staccato. You want the movie to breathe, which it does when the two make the light trip fantastic: the thing between Danny and Nila (smart name for a movie-crazy girl, meaning moon in Tamil), is alluring. The writing credits are divided between R Balki, Rishi Virmani and film critic Raja Sen, and about the latter you immediately want to know: Freudian much?
You wish there were more of these bits, when ‘Chup’ feels like a love letter to the movie, and to Mumbai: the reverent references to Guru Dutt and his films, especially ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’, which was thrown out by the critics , and is now considered a classic, counterbalances the killer’s hatred for this couple. But then it goes right back to the toothless blood and blood, the intrigue disappears; savvy viewers will see the killer soon enough.
Good to see Sunny Deol back in the movies; Bhatt’s cameo is nice. Dulquer Salmaan is nice and casual, and Dhanwantry is sweet: she played a journalist before, in ‘Scam 92’, but here she makes her Nila different, armed with a light-footed mother (Ponnavanan). But the mix of menace and romance starts out and remains uneasy, eventually making the film, about dreammakers and those who destroy those dreams, less satisfying than it should have been. Should I take this seriously or laugh at it? In the end it comes down to this: do you really believe that film critics have the power to kill movies? Especially in this digital age, where everyone is a critic, not just professional? It’s also true that good movies always find their audience, but do bad movies deserve to die unsung? Towards the end, a character says, a movie works through word of mouth, not critics, and that immediately undermines the film’s premise. If critics are indeed less influential than idiotic trolls these days, why? take the trouble to do you go after them in the first place?
There I said it: am I still alive tomorrow?
Chup movie cast: Sunny Deol, Dulquer Salmaan, Shreya Dhanwantry, Pooja Bhatt, Saranya Ponnavanan
Chup film director: R Balkan
Chup movie rating: 2 stars