In today's society of open mindsets, broadened acceptance levels, and broken social taboos, when the relationship between an old man and the young girl hardly bears a pronounced controversy, why does Ram Gopal Varma sound so defensive about Nishabd? Anyway, since such relationships happen less often, they can be considered, to an extent, bold; but controversial?
NISHABD: Vijay is a photographer, by profession and more so, by passion. Even at 60, his passion still yearns for that perfect beauty in nature. And then, he meets his daughter's classmate, a thoroughly liberal Jiah..... Jiah is full of nature's freedom. Like a sudden thunder in a calm landscape, she agitates Vijay's life. And his 'spirit' silently succumbs to hers.
THE SILENCE: You can watch this film just for one brilliant scene and three clap-worthy reasons. Unfortunately for the film, all these four elements are engulfed in just..... a minute!
Scene: Vijay has to clarify if his daughter has known of his affair with Jiah.
Scene execution: Five people are sitting in the room-- Vijay, his daughter, his wife, her brother and Jiah. Vijay's daughter looks tense, troubled and reclusive. His wife and her brother are busy talking. Vijay studies his daughter's face, takes some time and ascertains to himself that-- what he feared the most has happened. Not a word is spoken!!! Full credit to RGV for an exceptional execution!
Amitabh Bachchan: As the camera focuses on his eyes, they smoothly and subtly surface the transitions in his mind-- his anxiety.... to his ascertainment.... to his disappointment and fear.
Jiah Khan: Trying to do the same thing as Amitabh, she delivers a performance which can be put on the same level as Amitabh's.
...AND PATHETICALLY, MORE SILENCE: You know! What’s the most pathetic thing about daring to be controversial (or in my terms, bold)? Trying to be defensive.... trying to tell everyone from the very first step that what you are doing is wrong, before anyone points it out. RGV's script tries to confess from the very first scene that whatever is going to happen is wrong and bad. His screenplay does not allow the audience to decide through the proceedings, whether whatever happens is right or wrong. He (through Vijay’s character) tries to impose a predefined guiltiness from the very first frame. This all gives a notion that he has used the theme just to hype-up and sell his film, than to show the nuances of a bold relationship. As a result, a shade of pretense, in his take on the subject, becomes glaringly pronounced.
Casting a super-star to enact the role of a taboo-breaker needs a lot of content in his characterization. RGV falls flat on this front too. If one can remember ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, Sid falls in love with Tara because no one else was able to understand his inner self (the artist in him) as much as she did. What is the reason for Vijay to fall in love with Jiah? Just the liberty of her spirit! Or her ‘oomph’ factor! Or as he says, is it the ‘bringing back his youth’! Even a grandfather feels young while playing or talking to his granddaughter. I am not saying that there is no reason at all, but whatever exists is too feeble for someone like Amitabh Bachchan donning the role. RGV could have easily utilized photography as an art, than just as Amitabh’s profession.
On the other hand, Jiah’s characterization is perfect. And Jiah Khan plays it to perfection. Playing herself, she has done complete justice in all departments: glamour -- alluring, acting – authentic, attitude – ‘take-lite’! Her character has 'take-lite' attitude written all over her, but deep within her, she is insecure and afraid of future. She never knew the affection of a father in her life. And neither does she like her mother. So she turns abnormally liberal. Her relatively stronger characterization makes Jiah Khan’s presence felt before the super-star.
No doubt the film has breath-taking photography, but these days, almost every Indian film is emphasizing on this aspect. The background score was more like that of a gangster film than a love story. The sound engineering was adequate.
MY SILENCE: There are two aspects of a ‘bold’ act. One is the act, and the other is the person who does it. The boldness in both, the act as well as the person, justifies the triumph of the whole ‘bold’ act. For this film, the theme is bold; but the RGV…. was too far from it. So should I recommend this film to anyone……. Nishabd!!!!!