March 7, 2007

Nishabd Review-Take Light


Kaveetaa Kaul


Sure does leave you speechless..if not ‘wordless’…as the title suggests.

At the outset, expectations from the film pre-viewing, were not something to write home about. RGV’s reprising failures, a major contributory factor. However, one’s hopes were pinned on the decision making process of Amitabh Bachchan, which leads him to accept/reject a script and consequently his compliance in assaying the character.

Perhaps this film has proven once and for that the infallibility of both the artists, as in humans, was not a myth after all.

Lets not even attempt comparisons with ‘American Beauty’ subject wise, which one suspects however, has been the trigger for the rather dismal story line of Nishabd. RGV ain’t no Sam Mendes, who incidentally debuted with the aforesaid film.

Its pointless to elucidate on the premise..its common knowledge.. of a not so common prevalence. So heres the 60+ ‘Vijay’ aka Amitabh Bachchan, ( chuckled at the attempt to recreate the magic of ‘Vijay’ of the 70’s..darn!! is this what ‘that’ Vijay’ has metamorphed into!!) placidly comfortable, enviably placed, professionally, personally, photographically( could not control the impulse to alliterate) well ensconced in his life, when in steps young Jiah or rather Jee….aaahhhh, and out goes Vijays jiya !

What rankles is not the ludicrousness of the situation..after all Men will be Boys, lust is ageless, boredom is a given and all of the other logicalities men passionately apply to such like incidents, but the lack of coherence in expressing throughout the coupla hours of screen time whether it was lust, romance, extra marital fling, or the much touted Love which led to the quirky scenes, meant to serve as screen play.

Vijays first meeting with his daughters friend left him unmoved..he barely noticed her, despite her in-the-face attire, loud, attention seeking body language, come hither looks to all and sundry. Therefore what followed had nothing to do with him, but her. The events that transpired were a construct of her mind, and our dear Vijay Bhai, putty like in her hands, or rather puppy like, succumbed.. without as much as a whimper.

What unfolded was like a text book version of ‘how to win a millionaire and influence him”. In other words, stereotypes of men like Vijay variety post 60 are those, stuck in a bored marriage, with a wife gone grey serving the needs of the family and therefore ‘in service’ for domestic matters, while the male is a latent volcano waiting to explode at the first crook of the little finger, or leaf teasingly traced on his ears, and an ‘I love you ‘ uttered stridently, with a bold, inviting glare, never ending legs, in display and there goes our man ..lusting, lunging, lurking after her, replete with ticking crinkly eye veins, hang dog expression, ready to throw out his aghast daughter and stunned wife, since he has ‘fallen in love’.. This was one occasion I wished to scream out something in the lines of ” How about rising in love , pal”??!!

There was a film called Joggers park’ which dealt with a similar emotion. The telling difference being, that the director chose to respect his characters, made them out to be worthy of your sympathy and much that by the end of it Victor Banerjee, the ‘old man’ was not a horny ole guy but came across as one who had perhaps been exposed to freshness of youth and love of the kind in his rather boring, staid, dull, lifeless, emotional side, for the first time. It seemed real, romantic, plausible.

Nishabd was none of the above.

The character of Jiah was that of an 18 year old, the quintessential brat from a broken home, confused, a trouble maker, who thrives on getting her way and shocking people. Her one liners were amusing but hardly those which would make you bond with her sensibilities in manipulating a man old enough to be her grandfather, because she ‘could’..just another day in the life of a junkie kinda ploy..Her ‘takkia qalam’ or favourite phrase all through was ‘take light’..condescendingly advising ‘not to take seriously’..An advice I took seriously and so the title..

Our Vijay does not just fall hook line and sinker, but believes the advent of Jiah into his environs to be the Nirvana point of his life..then Soweeee sir.. you need to get your head checked and the Director needs to get his sensibilities.

Look this is not an objection based on moralities, or pseudo ethics, but one on lack of an in depth evaluation of what are the ingredients which transform your story from being borderline crassy to serious and classy. RGV, needs to ‘tabadtope’ go on an inner journey beginning with this hint question’ What do I need to do with my life’? Honestly, the maker of brilliant films like ‘Satya’, has erred another time, has fouled up crores and churned out ridiculous cinema..though this one is the rotten cherry on the stale cake.


Cinematography was so breathtaking that it made one want to cry , realising it being wasted on such juvenile representation of what could have been a brilliant film. The background score seemed to be out of ‘Bhoot’…for petes sake.. Why? One could sense the drastic resorting to measures of keeping the interest going kinda tactics, by the heavy, fiendish, jarred..heavily.

AB, by the end of the film is someone you pitied..Naah..dont get me wrong..not as Vijay but as Ab, and the compulsions which led him to adopt this script..What on earth for? Money/need to resurrect his youth/ RGV and his glib talk,/or plain masochism..I guess we will never know..Its important that he gets to know though.. to save himself from further fiascos. His sincerity performance wise was touching, his professionalism sorely impressive…I mean..for this kind of inane film!

Jiah Khan is undoubtedly a discovery. She will go a long way, if she chooses to stay on course and desists from getting into B grade set ups. She was confidence epitomised, and sometimes transformed a bilge like scene into an arrogant statement which was unique and therefore interesting. She refused to be awed by the enormity of AB’s presence..rather life like portrayal.

The corrosiveness of the script, denigrated into unaesthetic peripheral facets being explored, devoid of delicate, tender, subtle questioning. With a lesser known actor as protagonist and even lesser known director, this film would have sunk without a trace. A certain respectability was foisted by the presence of names..but thats where it ended. Or rather it ended before it even began.

If this is how RGV translates love I am not surprised none of his relationships worked. Replace the woman with a toy who coquettishly says the right programmed words, pampers his ego, and there.. that connotes Love..Its not about loving her but more about a woman loving him.. dangerous liaisons.

Spare us this gyan though!

Take a break dear RGV..and do take some light!

Rating; 1.5/5



  1. Ha ha..and ab goes around singing ..jia jalle ..everyone in the hall was laughing. I felt so bad for Ab seeing him as if they were ridiculing him. I think this was the biggest failure of the film that nobody felt any sympathy for Ab.

    Comment by Neha — March 7, 2007 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  2. I know these kinda films upset you not just for the immaturity in which the subject is handled, but also because the director had so much at his disposal and couldn’t do justice…but I have just one thing to say…Take Light..!
    Will see the movie and comment more…loved your review though!

    Comment by nito — March 7, 2007 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Neha, kinda hit the nail on the head..He was made into a laughing stock.. with a kinda ‘buddhe ko chadhi jawaani’ syndrome. Flawed treatment most definitely.

    Hey Nito,


    So at decide to comment.Good. know me well sweetie.. But believe me I put on my patience cap all through..this was the kindest review I could summon..for the same reasons as you have mentioned.

    Looking forward to your take on it.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 8, 2007 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  4. Aye Aye!

    Comment by nito — March 9, 2007 @ 4:02 am | Reply

  5. Oh is that so?! well, I must watch it then if not for anything else then just to see how well AB has succeeded in making a fool of himself! 🙂

    And whatz ur take on Traffic Signal by Madhur Bhandarkar?

    Comment by Me here — March 9, 2007 @ 7:37 am | Reply

  6. Btw, Kaveetaa, do u have anyone in the family whoz associated with Bollywood in a professional way? I thought I heard/read somewhere that you do have someone like that. Just curious! 🙂

    Comment by Me here — March 9, 2007 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  7. Hi Me here,

    Have not seen Traffic signal..perhaps will soon..thats if it is yet being screened. Pledging allegiance to anti piracy, one normally avoids dvds of Indian films, and views it only in theatres..irrespective of its credence. for know what is fabled to have happened to the cat now dontcha..But, lets just say that I have not made an effort to conceal nor made a big deal by talking of it. Id much rather just have an independent identity…women empowerment et al 🙂

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 9, 2007 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  8. ‘to err is human…’
    in this case aint know whom to bring under the critic-o-scope!

    the son was quoted sayin that this was a better performance, of his father’s, than ‘black’!! n he was moved/displaced/poked/tickled to tearz…

    RGV says luuveee is carnal/physical attraction n only with the waves of time real love germinates.. uske pahele toh.. ahem!!

    n then this movie of a matured subject in an immatured set-up… i mean even if the movie was made with the polish n class wud it have driven the point intended?
    havent seen this flick n don intend to either, but i expect nothing better tan wat u have evaluated… emotionz r mocked at n just for the flavors u team up a 60 & 16 😛
    women still need a special day WD to have sum ***** debates n discounte- men try to hog the limelite n sound as if they r giving the fairer sex a wide berth n bloody we all drown in the undercurrents of hypocracy! in a society wer still its not the same, being a boy and a girl!!
    movies like N is better left for a silent death coz this intellectual farce is killin the senses of this country! lets just apply simple logics n follow wat we preach!

    reels n reals are complimentary of each other.. its sad tat on neither counts r we cutting the bare minimum..
    n RGV.. man! u have screwed up the emotional pot-pourri! din know if u made enuf moni outta the movie, but i just have change enuf for an ice cream to offer- chillax man.. life aint that complicated also…

    Comment by saptarshi — March 9, 2007 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  9. Sapt..I gather the oint you are trying to make is a pertinent do with social responsibility of a creative artist, in this case a film maker. This is a vast subject, with some makers shrugging off any burden in the arena while others passionately making solely debatable flics to incite debate.

    Sometimes its best to view films as an outlet towards ‘entertainment’ if only to validify the exorbitant entt tax 🙂

    Yes sometimes the core issue is erotic, as in this case to garner jingles at the B.O… which failed miserably in Nishabd. It does go to prove that our audiences are looking for treatment in a film, even if it boasts of Ab and excuses . While granting the freeom of creative expression, I think the film faltered in its premise itself..physical attraction is not Love of the kind exemplified or rather needed in this had to penetrate deeper in its logicalities to touch hearts..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 10, 2007 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  10. i din get u… mean, entertainment is alwayz the underline of a reel, but it shud also have sum umbillicus runnin into the social womb! india- the native land of even the sub-continent, this issue of 18:60, how much justification does it hold?
    as it is in the name of us living in a global kingdom (village aint gud to the ego!!) we have managed to imbibe the crap from all over the world… n now we mite label love as liberation n choice of luv as sum divine intervention… or even the mighty n the bold wud shout the physical aspect!

    why do we need to jump start n create entertainment? if we can keep it neutral or even make an effort to improve thw goings of the day.. aint it gud? instead we try to inject these utopian hybrid thoughts n hurt the vulnerable matrix of junta who looks upto sum message n direction thru the celluloid!!

    they imitate the bell-botz, they sweat by the mannerismz n even adapt the bags n baggage(s) (pun intended 🙂 ) of their fanz… but here? we kinda make mindless cinema… come on! aint life screwed up/tensed/confusing/illogical/unfair/grim/nasty enuf??

    wat we all need is the positive outta it! but movies like N just sound the gongs of misplaced disaster.. makes us forget wat we really are from the macro-level!
    sadly, we call this intellectual… creativity 🙂 gimme a break!

    Comment by saptarshi — March 12, 2007 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  11. Oh yeah.. hope RGV decides to read this.

    RdB too washed off their hands from owning responsibility for the climax with a ”its a film for Gods sake”…so there where does it end or with who does it begin.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 12, 2007 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  12. A viewing of ‘Nishabd’ left me neither speechless nor wordless….in fact I have a lot of words, but I am exercising constraint out of consideration for those faint of heart. A sense of outrage is the immediate emotion at the GROSS ABUSE of talent (Ab’s) and opportunity. RGV has raped the trust of his cast, crew and backers once again by making yet another hugely self indulgent and senseless film (pardon me for even calling it a ‘film’)He seriously needs to look around at the talent that is crying for support & a platform, hundreds fading away into anonymity every day while others like him ‘use’ the industry & its resources as ‘a playground of power & perversion’. Shame on RGV.

    ‘WATER’ has barely collected 67,98,619 all India in the first week. Shame on us indian viewers.

    Comment by Amitabh — March 20, 2007 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  13. Amitabh..what is amply clear now is that you are not Amitabh bachchan..much as I would have loved it.. Kidding…just taking off on your self confessed anonymity.

    your angst is clearly palpable..Wowwwwwww…..most makers and audiences would agree with you.

    I am not surprised at the shameful collections of ‘Water’..

    We Indians want titillation in the form of entertainment..

    Wonder when that will ever change..or will it ever!

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 22, 2007 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  14. hi,just saw the movie,wont recommend it 2 nyone,jus cme here to find out if nyone wants 2 join me in my mission to get my money back.. lol.. :-p(u can be equipped with nything from bed pans 2 slippers)

    Comment by putos — March 25, 2007 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  15. putos..

    ha.ha..unforgiving arent ya?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — April 1, 2007 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  16. I have said a few times before, but it does not hurt to say it again, that watching Big B these days is like watching a lame old horse struggle to cross the finish line. It particularly hurts because one is aware that long ago during the times when the dinosaurs used to walk the earth, in an age when Bollywood had no competition from the idiot box or cricket or any other reasonably prices entertainment, this fit to be turned into glue horse could run. It is sad that a legacy, that perhaps was nothing more but a gift from the illustrious Gandhi family and the PR machinery of the Congress Party, is being steadily eroded with every new movie. Soon, unless he reduces the number of assignments, he will either become another Ashok Kumar or even worse, an irrelevant Dev Anand. Needless to say, Big B today, holds the dubious honor of having the highest flop percentage amongst Bollywood super stars (past and present). After, Ek-Love-ya and Nisabdh, I have already chalked up his next “Chuddi Kum Banyaan Zyada” with Tabu as a sure flop.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — April 15, 2007 @ 3:34 am | Reply

  17. While I hold his inherent talent under no scanner, yet, what is disturbing of late has been his choice of films.

    Here is a personality who can get the best talent in Bollywood if not Hollywood to script him year after year a film which can go down as a classic in terms of characterisation, execution and cinematic grammar. Ye he chooses to work with those who at best are conjuring up whimsical dishes, fit for their personal palate and which will unfortunately reflect more on him than them.

    One is compelled to think of actors Like De Niro and Paccino.. hardly ever seen them making an ass of themselves. they are choosy, selective , fussy, and rightly so. After all if this is an art then it ought to be treated such.Yes, it is also a profession. But when you have made that rare grade to reach a position where money is not the determining factor, then you owe it to the world to be an exemplification of quality work.. dammit if Ab cannot afford it, who can?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — April 15, 2007 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  18. There are others, who like you have told me, that they too have no doubt about Big B’s abilities. Unfortunately all of them ended up giving one version or the other of the infamous Salim-Javed defense of Veeru to Basanti’s Maause (in Sholay).

    Such discussions remind me of a scene in a Prakash Mehra movie where a sudden change of the jacket and the background music signaled Big B’s extreme anger. One moment he was drunk out of his wits, barely able to stand still, and the next moment he was performing a well choreographed fight which would be difficult for even a well trained acrobat. Hence as a student of cinema I have looked at his work and have found that Big B at best has been very effective with his limited talents. Even his once dear friend, Mr. Mehra had to settle on making Devdas lite (Muquaddar’s Sikander) because he did not think Big B had the ability to do a full blown Devdas.

    I was once a fan and as a former fan it makes me sad to see him erode his credibility with movies like Nisabdh etc.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — April 15, 2007 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  19. Agar hum kisi performance ki duhai de sakte hai then that would undoubtedly be ‘Black’among others..irrespective of the plagiarism accusations and whatever, his mettle is more than apparent there. The others so far had been a tip of the iceberg..but a hint of the monumental talent beneath it all.

    As for your
    “Such discussions remind me of a scene in a Prakash Mehra movie where a sudden change of the jacket and the background music signaled Big B’s extreme anger. One moment he was drunk out of his wits, barely able to stand still, and the next moment he was performing a well choreographed fight which would be difficult for even a well trained acrobat”
    this is in fact more a reflection of inept direction, screenplay/script/sensibilities of the captain of the ship. If anything, I have personally witnessed AB on the floor.. he rarely if ever argues, is a thorough professional and all too willing to follow if the sequence of events as you have narrated is such, then he is the last person who should bear the brunt of criticism on that score.

    The only valid criticism is what you have mentioned as ‘him erode his credibility with movies like Nisabdh etc.’..Absolutely! Another such misadventure was ‘Boom’ and also “Kank”..honestly Sexy Sam was a bit weird! The reason for accepting these ‘travesties’ of cinema is flummoxing..Why O why!

    Films like ‘Khakee’ were good performances..and even lesser known ‘Do Anjaane’..faultless efforts.. sincere and true to the core of the character.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — April 15, 2007 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  20. I argue / discuss / debate / question / talk a lot, does that make me a bad person? If not, then how come not-arguing / questioning etc represent the landmark for goodness? Perhaps Lee Harvey Oswald did not argue or question his instructors too, does that absolve him of his crimes? In some way or the other, we all can claim that we obediently listened to the greed within us which made us do something stupid or wrong, but life does not work that way. Unfortunately at the end of the day we have to carry the burden of our deeds. Big B has to take responsibility for his poor performances.

    Black for me was a badge of shame. I call it Black as in the ring around the collar. His out of context outlandish over performance and visible effort killed everything that could have been possible. In Bollywood if you want to see a man loosing his mind, then see Anupam Kher in “Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara”. If you want to see something effortless then see Pankaj Kapur in “Maqbool”.

    Ofcourse if you want something that was intended to be outlandish and yet effortless see Johny Depp in “Chocolate Factory” and or “Pirates of ..”. In the Bollywood context something intentionally outlandish and yet pretty effortless is Sexy Sam in KANK. I liked Big B in KANK. The character served a purpose in the movie and Big B served the character.

    Comment by shaan Khan — April 15, 2007 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  21. There’s lots of restraint in Nishabd, compared to American movies which tend to lean more on blunt visuals of sex and violence, and the cinematography was breathtaking, but I can’t say I have much sympathy for Vijay, and if that was the film’s intent, it failed in my opinion. I wish the screen-writer fleshed out Vijay’s wife and daughter more in terms of their character. It’s too easy to dismiss Amitra as the stereotypically nagging, aging housewife to make Jiah look more desirable in contrast.
    Wonder if there are any good movies about an older Indian lady in love with a younger man…~_^

    Comment by Devi — April 17, 2007 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  22. Shaan,

    Your last line kinda negated the context of your post while simultaneously unwittingly proved my point.You said:

    “I liked Big B in KANK. The character served a purpose in the movie and Big B served the character”

    Exactly..Bachchans performances in the films that he has been acclaimed in as also mentioned by me served a purpose in the film and he served the character.. marvelously so. I would even go as far as to say that while I have almost ‘disliked’ Nishabd, I have no grievance on any count with Ab’s portrayal of the rather shamefully weak, confused, slimy man..He came out Tops.. which has served to fuel the fire within and ask despairingly’ Why on earth does he venture into ventures of the kind?’

    Comparing Johnny Depp in Pirates..or Pankaj kapur in Maqbool with Ab n ‘Black’ is odious, to say the least. I can bet my last penny had AB attempted any of the roles you mention, his performance might have added a notch or two to the sum total.

    We seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.. in most arguments..I do not agree with your comment at all.

    Hi Devi,

    About ‘restraint’ in Nishabd, I hear you but I really cannot say whether it was intended to be so..I think you are alluding to ‘American beauty’..The plus point apart from the mature handling was the stance of the film.. it was lust all the way.. plain and simple. RGV on the other hand spent a good portion convincing himself and us of the zillion reasons why the two should now frolic in the hay with the wife having lost her youth and all that hackneyed jazz.

    “It’s too easy to dismiss Amitra as the stereotypically nagging, aging housewife to make Jiah look more desirable in contrast.”

    I agree..If indeed this was to be a path breaking bold film, then I for one would have respected him more had RGV followed the stark truism that here was a man, who could not control his sexual urges when a 17 year old emboldened by her dysfunctional upbringing and nefarious complexes, decided to ‘score’ with a 60 yr old, entwine him around her little pinky and get away with it. The man, like most men, therefore finds it irresistible, and surrenders to his wild fantasies.. lust, games et al.. despite perhaps having a voluptuous desirable, perfect wife at home…this might have been truer to the intent and core of the film.. and for Petes sake he had no business to call this ‘Love’!! From the point of view of the character of Vijay, his passions ruling his mind kinda mindset, this could well have been his ‘Nirvana’ moment.. but the Directors take on it had to be different than that of his protagonist’s..

    that mght have been Bold, different, daring and whatever else RGV thought he was doing with Nishabd.. instead of this puky, immature, laughable lolita-i-sation!!

    Older Indian lady in love with a younger man happened long ago with raakhee and Rishi kapoor.Doosara Aadmi.. with the song”’Kya mausam hai.. chal kahin door nikal jayen..but that aint no ‘Summer of 42’ or ‘Graduate’.. I simply love the honesty of both these.. no pretenses no excuses!!

    And of course closer home and real life its our very own Abhi-Ash saga.. older woman younger man.. love n roses n all that 🙂

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — April 17, 2007 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  23. There are certain things on which I agree with Senator Ted Kennedy and Rev Jesse Jackson while there also exits issues on which I disagree with Walt Williams and Rush Limbaugh. My agreeing with Rev Jackson, or disagreeing with Rush, does not negate my position. Unfortunately life does not come in neat little packages. It is almost impossible to pigeon hole someone or an event without truncating some facts. I don’t see in black and white. I see in broken images.

    Even through we may disagree I respect your opinion as well as your right to your opinion.

    Comment by Shaan Khan — April 17, 2007 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

  24. Touche Shaan..

    about ‘truncating facts’..a complete no-no..not needed nor recommended. Grey areas are the most interesting and notable. ‘hum bhi issi idelogy ke kaayal hai’..But why broken images? limbo..perhaps..but broken is umm.. sad! n’est pas?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — April 18, 2007 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

  25. Kaveetaa Ji, the reference “Broken Images” was from a famous poem. Something whose subject matter sort of adds to this discussion.

    Take Care

    Comment by Shaan Khan — April 18, 2007 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  26. Well, If AB was 60 and Jiah was 18 (and of the same age group as AB’s daughter in the pic) then AB had her daughter when he was 42…..

    Having a kid at 42 means he believed in “Life begins after 40…” and if life begins after 40, 60 ain’t a bad age to romance ;o)

    A good storyline made weird….Hail RGV !!!

    Comment by EnchantedHorse — May 6, 2007 @ 12:50 am | Reply

  27. Shaan..Which poem? sorry to sound so ‘ganwaar’ in matters of poetry even if my name implies so:)

    Enchanted Horse that was some enchanting bit of logical premise and conclusion concluded with and interesting Q.E.D. :)Dharmendra has in real life been a strong follower of your statement.. never too old for ..whatever!

    But Yes.. handled well this could have been a real ‘sit-up-n-take-notice kinda film.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — May 7, 2007 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  28. A very good blog, I really loved the content. I have forwarded this blog to all of my friends. Please keep posting such a nice stuff. It is simply a greate blog.

    Comment by Hindi Movie MP3 Songs Downloads, Free Online Bollywood Hindi Film Music — October 14, 2007 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  29. Crappy copy of Poison Ivy. Amitabh really needs to retire.

    Comment by Gautam — November 24, 2008 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

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