Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Khamosh (1985) Review by Shivom Oza – Deft Touch By The Master Vidhu Vinod Chopra

3.5/5 Stars

Pahalgam, Kashmir. Shooting of a new film titled ‘Aakhri Khoon’, starring Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi and Soni Razdan is taking place at this somewhat eerie location. The debauched producer Prabhu Dayal (Ajit Vachani) and his eccentric brother Kuku (Pankaj Kapur) are pursuing Soni Razdan for a romantic liaison, while Chandran (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) is the over-confident director trying to rush up the film so that they can get back to Bombay. Mrs. Bhal (Sushma Seth), a veteran actress, is pushing her reluctant daughter Meenu into the big, bad world of glamour. There are other characters played by Avtaar Gill, Pavan Malhotra, Veerendra Saxena among others who are perpetually angry. There is tension galore on the sets of the film.

Things turn ugly when Soni Razdan is found dead, hanging from a tree, at the filming location. The producer brushes it off as a suicide and things get back to normal. Until, a CID inspector (Naseeruddin Shah) enters the story. He takes it upon himself to investigate into the murder. The twists and turns in the plot hereon, that culminate in the nabbing of the culprit, form the crux of the film.

The performances by the cast are brilliant. Considering that quite a few of the cast members of the film were playing themselves (Shabana Azmi, Amol Palekar and Soni Razdan), it must have been difficult for them to adapt their acting style. However, all the three give stellar performances and no one else could have played their roles better (understandably!). Ajit Vachani and Pankaj Kapur too, shine in this film. The supporting cast in particular, comprising an eclectic mix of actors, such as Sadashiv Amrupurkar, Sushma Seth, Avtaar Gill, Pavan Malhotra, Veerendra Saxena and Sudhir Mishra, is terrific, and elevates the film to a completely different level. Naseeruddin Shah, as usual, delivers a mind-blowing performance. This was the actor’s golden period in Hindi cinema as he was coming on the back of hits such as ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, ‘Masoom’, ‘Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho!’ and the likes!

The story of the film, although not novel, is very differently conceived. The writers (Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah and Manjul Sinha) have not incorporated anything that would come across as bizarre. There are leaps of faith, or cinematic liberties taken, but nothing so unusual that would leave you flabbergasted. The dialogues deserve special mention. Ranjit Kapoor and Sudhir Mishra have emulsified subtlety into this film with their sedate writing. The dialogues are not the kind that we’re accustomed to hearing in other films that belonged to the era (1980s). Lingo used in the film is somehow reprised even today. The locations too, had a believable quality about them. ‘Khamosh’, in a way, broke many myths about the film industry. One actually gets to know what happens on a film set and how the ‘stars’ that we worship on the screen are so ‘human’ in real life. Robin Das, the art director, chose the perfect locations for the film. It was important to not let the audiences get carried away by the background, when the story itself was so gripping. The editing by the brilliant Renu Saluja is first-rate. The ending seems a bit stretched; sure, they could have fastened the turn of events during the climax. However, taking the timing of the release into consideration, the film did set a trend for many more murder mysteries to come. And for that, it must definitely be lauded.  Lastly, the background music (Vanraj Bhatia) was extraordinary in this song-less film. It adds to the incredible tension of the story.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra exhibits his marvellous talent in this fantastic thriller. Not only has he written a superb story, but has also assembled a supremely talented cast.

‘Khamosh’ is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s best film, Period. It’s a flawless murder mystery with an unpredictable climax.

This film has ‘CULT’ written all over it. Do, Watch it! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

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