Let the silences keep their secrets

Let the silences keep their secrets

Khamoshiyan – Silences Have Secrets
Hindi (A)*
Director: Karan Darra
Cast: Ali Fazal, Sapna Pabbi, Gurmeet Chowdhary

Screaming ghosts, hamming actors, jarring and clichéd background music and a disquieting lack of script ensure that debutant director Karan Darra’s ‘Khamoshiyan’ is anything but quiet. Probably, the only thing silent during the making process of this film was criticism from all corners. As a result, the film seems like an overindulgent patriarch letting a teen run the show.

A one-book-wonder author (Ali Fazal) is urged by his now-married ex to finish at least one thing in life, and heads away from the city’s hustle-bustle to the hills to find “inspiration”. The audience is supposed to believe that he just lands up at his destination – an eerily quiet hotel run by a woman (the sultrily wooden Sapna Pabbi). But let’s be honest here: There was no way this story could have progressed other than the storyteller forcing this onto us.

And this woman is anything but quiet. She seductively rasps into the stranger’s ear, leads him on, and finally reveals to him the secret that binds her to this house. And her husband (a hilariously inept Gurmeet Chowdhary), who she had pretended was sick, is involved. Things go downhill pretty fast from there. It’s as if the director has been handed a ghost film’s skeleton, and he has chosen not to flesh it out.

There is hardly anything to be spooked about in this tepid tale, where blood is either as clear as red wine or as bright as the fake kind that does not congeal into brown stains. The fear is there in a couple of scenes, but otherwise finds its place in the audience in the form of two lost hours and the money spent on the ticket.

The only sparks in the whole film are some hummable songs and a mediocre Ali Fazal standing out among sub-par co-stars. This film really deserves the silent treatment, especially the cricket-chirping kind.

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