“Maut bhi ek manorajan hai,” Manoj Bajpai playing a cop investigating a gruesome murder, mumbles sardonically after seeing beer cans and hips packets around the body. The line, though provocative, has no relevance here, as we find out later that the body had been brought from elsewhere to the place where it was discovered.
Such anomalies, absurdities and lack of continuity haunt this brutally backfired murder mystery which starts with a gruesome murder and ends in a woeful whimper as the killer’s identity is revealed. For the umpteenth time in a desi whodunit, I felt cheated. The murderer is none of the prime suspects but another character altogether whom we are never led to believe has anything to do with the killing.
Silence Can You Hear It probably had the seeds of an effective whodunit somewhere deep within its roomy crevices. But I’ve realized over the years that expecting a good whodunit from Bollywood is like expecting a good Ram Leela adaptation from Hollywood. Indian directors just don’t get it. By laying out red herrings on the ‘dread’ carpet you cannot entice viewers into the dark shadows of a killer’s mind and identity.
First –time director Aban Bharucha Deohans thinks she has it all worked out in detail, from the murder of a young girl to the killer’s identity. In truth, what lies beneath is just pebbles in a muddy pond. Nothing substantial or even convincing is discernible in the ponderous plot for miles and miles.
As the self-willed ACP Avinash Verma (wearing teeshirts with logos such as ‘A Coffee Is A Hug In A Cup’ ) takes on the investigation it is clear that the murky waters have been created to extol Manoj Bajpai’s characters. The director in awe of the actor. So are his colleagues played well by Prachi Desai, Sahil Vaidya and Vaquar Sheikh? They are made to constantly admire his intelligence, looks even his teeshirts. All of this has no bearing on the case under investigation. We also gather that the cop is divorced and that his mother calls him ‘Chintu’. Copy that.
The murder victim is the daughter of a retired judge. You would think this has some relevance to the plot. Like most of what goes on, this too is an irrelevant detail. The retired judged could be a retired porn artiste for all we care. When Shishir Mishra as the grieving father consoles his sobbing wife (Sohaila Kapur) he says, “It’s okay.”
The daughter brutally murdered and it’s okay????
While Manoj Bajpai tries hard to rescue the scrambled utterly unconvincing plot from falling apart (he has a particularly impressive outburst in front of an arrogant politician) Arjun Mathur is saddled with a role he can’t do much to stop from collapsing. Mathur’s home is turned into a free-for-all-villa where characters come, go, sleep, disappear, get murdered. Talk about an open house! Silence takes itself too seriously when it really has no business to do so.
Witten & Directed by Aban Bharucha Deohans, Silence Can You Hear It gets 2 stars.
Image source: ZEE5