Nishabdham (transl. Silence) is a 2020 Indian thriller film directed by Hemant Madhukar and co-produced by Kona Venkat and T. G. Vishwa Prasad. The film stars Madhavan, Anushka Shetty, Michael Madsen and Anjali. Although the film was intended to have no dialogues, it was later shot simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil, with the latter version titled Silence. The film is released along with the dubbed versions in Malayalam and Kannada languages, through Amazon Prime Video on 2 October 2020.
|Directed by||Hemant Madhukar|
|Screenplay by||Kona Venkat|
|Story by||Hemant Madhukar|
|Dialogue by||Kona Venkat (Telugu)|
Mani Seiyon (Tamil)
|Produced by||Kona Venkat|
T. G. Vishwa Prasad
|Edited by||Prawin Pudi|
Kona Film Corporation
People Media Factory
|Distributed by||Amazon Prime Video|
This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2020)
In 1972, a couple spending Christmas night at a villa near Seattle are mysteriously murdered, with the male victim being crucified. The county takes possession of the villa, which remains unsold until 2019 due to its reputation as a haunted house.
Sakshi, a deaf-mute artist, travels with her fiancé to the villa to find a painting of a previous owner whose ghost is believed to have killed the couple. However, she runs away blood-stained after a while and gets hit by a car. Detective Maha and Captain Richard are assigned to investigate. It is revealed that Sakshi's fiancé has died in the basement, and as his corpse is taken out, a key falls from his hand. Maha interrogates Sakshi in the hospital, learning that she found his body crucified and could not see the attacker. Maha then researches the victim, Anthony Gonsalves, a famous cello player whose previous wife committed suicide.
As many girls have already gone missing in Seattle, the police are under heavy scrutiny. The initial investigation is inconclusive, so Sakshi is interviewed again. It is revealed that soon after her engagement with Anthony, Sakshi's best friend Sonali went missing. Sakshi recounts her past. She grew up in an orphanage in Sequim where she met Sonali. One day, she received an invitation to show her art in a Seattle gallery. Sonali, who is very possessive, does not agree but changes her mind after deciding to live with Sakshi. At the gallery, Sakshi meets Vivek, a photographer. Anthony, a new exhibition's guest of honour, meets Sakshi and is impressed with her work. He donates a million dollars to her orphanage and invites her to his concert. Sakshi attends and is mesmerised by his music. They grow closer and eventually fall in love and get engaged. After Sonali went missing, she decided to go to the villa for a week to relax and find the painting.
Maha realises that Sonali wants all of Sakshi's attention after seeing similar behaviour in a child. She goes to the orphanage to investigate Sonali's disappearance, suspecting a connection to Anthony's death. She learns that Sonali's only friend was Sakshi, even getting arrested for stabbing someone who went out with her. Maha also discovers a drawing of a crucifixion in Sonali's room. Concerned, Maha goes to Sakshi's house and encounters a hooded man who escapes after she shoots at him. The police searches the villa again, hoping to discover evidence against Sonali. Tom finds the key in the basement brings it to Richard, who kills Tom and pockets it. Maha notices Richard's coat button next to Tom's corpse and suspects his involvement, so she breaks into his office and gets the key. She then trails Richard and follows him to a farmhouse, which she discovers secretly belongs to Anthony. Richard searches for the house's CCTV footage to no avail and leaves. Soon afterwards, the hooded man, revealed to be Vivek, who took the footage earlier, meets with Sakshi at the Space Needle, where a flashback occurs.
Vivek and Sakshi became good friends and started living together with Sonali, who becomes jealous. Vivek is hurt, but Sakshi explains Sonali's nature. When Sonali and Sakshi were baristas, a customer asked Sakshi out. Sonali insists that he is a flirt and tried to prove it. Sonali and Sakshi go out with him for coffee, and Sonali rubbed his leg. The customer put his hand up Sonali's skirt under the table, so she brought her hand up and stabbed it with a fork, leading to her arrest. Vivek decides to give Sonali a chance, and they begin to get along. With Sakshi's encouragement, Vivek and Sonali fall in love. Later on, when Anthony proposes to Sakshi, Sonali is displeased. One day after Anthony's concert, his fans greet him. Some kiss him and even gave him their phone number. Sonali tries to convince Sakshi that Anthony is also a flirt, but Sakshi dismisses her. Sonali texts him flirtatiously to prove it. He refuses at first but eventually agrees to meet her. Sakshi reassured Sonali that he does not have bad intentions, but Sonali went to meet him anyway, with Sakshi secretly observing them. She sees them drink and get intimate in the farmhouse. However, Anthony suddenly kills Sonali. Richard arrives at the scene and helps Anthony clean up the scene. Sakshi left unnoticed and told Vivek what happened. They went to the police station, where she recognised Richard. Anthony brought Sakshi to Richard again to report Sonali's disappearance, where she saw a poster for a girl who gave Anthony her number. Sakshi discovered that the dates of the disappearances coincides with Anthony's concerts. She planned to take revenge with Vivek by deceiving Anthony to go to the villa so Vivek can kill him. After Anthony is knocked out and restrained, they interrogate him after he wakes up.
Anthony reveals that he killed his wife and her lover at a motel for their unfaithfulness. Richard entered the room and decided to let him continue. When he went to meet Richard outside, Richard reveals he had come to the same motel to investigate his wife, who was also cheating on him in another room. Anthony then proceeded to kill Richard's wife, and Richard helps cover up the murders. Subsequently, Anthony begins killing all unfaithful women who hit on him, and Richard hides all the bodies and evidence. Upon hearing this, Sakshi kills Anthony in anger.
In the present, Sakshi and Vivek decide to expose Richard to the FBI using the footage. However, Richard kidnaps Vivek and holds him hostage. Maha, who put a tracker on Richard's car earlier, kills Richard and saves them. Afterwards, Richard and Anthony's crimes are finally proven, and Anthony's murder officially remains unsolved. The film ends with Sakshi and Vivek paying respects to Sonali at her grave.
In 2013, director Hemant Madhukar re-watched Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's dialogue-less film Pushpaka Vimana (1987) and developed a desire to make a similar dialogue-less film. He was keen to explore the idea with a hearing and speech impaired protagonist. Once he wrote the story that would become Nishabdham, he pitched it to the PVP Group for production, but there was no progress for months despite PVP liking the idea. Madhukar then discussed the project with screenwriter Kona Venkat, who helped improvise the script and develop the screenplay. Venkat felt it had potential to be an "international project", and included dialogues.
R. Madhavan and Taapsee Pannu were signed on to play the lead roles, though the actress later opted out citing a scheduling conflict. Venkat later narrated the script to Anushka Shetty on a flight, and she joined the project. Anjali was cast as an American police officer, while American actor Michael Madsen was cast in an important role. Shalini Pandey, Subbaraju, and Srinivas Avasarala were cast in supporting roles.
Principal photography began in May 2019. The filming took place predominantly in the United States, with a 60-day long schedule. The film was shot simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil, while international actors spoke their lines in English.
The film was scheduled to be released on 21 February 2020 but was postponed to 2 April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film's release was postponed indefinitely. The official trailer was launched by Amazon Prime Video on 21 September 2020.
Regarding the Telugu version, The Times of India gave the film three out of five stars and stated, "Nishabdham on the whole promises to be a treat, not just to Anushka’s fans but to movie buffs who love thrillers too. Sadly, it doesn’t always live up to that promise because all it ends up being is a stylish film with no depth". Regarding the Tamil version, The Times of India gave the film a rating of two out of five stars and noted that "Silence is meant to be a whodunit, but the moment you get the plot points, the film stops being one" and additionally stated that "the Tamil version resembles a dubbed film".
Karthik Kumar of Hindustan Times called Nishabdham "a colossal mess", and added, "Despite the presence of some talented stars like Anushka and Madhavan, the film is excruciatingly boring and lacks the thrills to keep one invested throughout." Sowmya Rajendran writing for The News Minute, opined that "The ideas must have sounded good on paper but the writing and execution, unfortunately, don't hold up." While appreciating the performances of Shetty and Pandey, Sowmya wrote "Michael Madsen as police chief Richard Dickens deserved more to his character. With a limp and a swagger, he does his best with what he's given."
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Gopi Sundar chronology|
The soundtrack was composed by Gopi Sundar, whereas the lyrics for the Telugu version are written by Bhaskarabhatla, Sreejo, Krishna Kanth, and Ramajogayya Sastry.
The song "Ninne Ninne" in Telugu and "Neeye Neeye" in Tamil was released as single from the album on 17 December 2019 on the YouTube page of Mango Music. The song was sung by Sid Sriram in Telugu and Alap Raju in Tamil. ''Madhuramithe'' in Telugu and ''Pudhu Unarve'' in Tamil were released on 29 September 2020.
|1.||"Ninne Ninne"||Bhaskarabhatla||Sid Sriram||5:35|
|2.||"Madhuramithe"||Sreejo||Najim Arshad, Harini||4:30|
|1.||"Neeye Neeye"||Karunakaran||Aalap Raju||5:35|
|2.||"Pudhu Unarve"||Karunakaran||Karthik, Harini||4:30|
- "'Nishabdham': Anushka Shetty's suspense thriller to hit OTT on October 2". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- Kavirayani, Suresh (5 May 2020). "Nishabdam goes OTT". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
- "Michael Madsen lands key role in Madhavan's 'Silence'". Business Standard. 17 March 2019. Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- Dundoo, Sangeetha Devi (24 September 2020). "The making of 'Nishabdham'". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
- "Did You Know? Anushka Shetty wasn't the first choice for Nishabdham". The Times of India. 6 December 2019. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
- "Madhavan, Anushka Shetty to begin shooting for 'Silence' next year". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- "Anjali to play a US-based cop in Madhavan – Anushka Shetty starrer, Silence / Nishabdham". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- "Michael Madsen of 'Kill Bill' fame makes Indian debut with Anushka Shetty-Madhavan starrer 'Silence'". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- "Madhavan and Anushka Shetty start shooting for Silence". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- Kumar, Karthik (28 May 2019). "Anushka Shetty, R Madhavan starrer Silence starts rolling, see pics". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- "'Nishabdam': Director reveals the first shot from this Madhavan and Anushka Shetty starrer". The Times of India. 3 June 2019. Archived from the original on 21 May 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "Anushka Shetty's Nishabdham to release on April 2". India Today. 8 February 2020. Archived from the original on 9 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
- "April 2020: Theaters to continue remain shut in AP, Telangana". Sify. 2 April 2020. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Kumar R, Manoj (21 September 2020). "Nishabdham trailer: Anushka Shetty film offers nothing interesting". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- "Nishabdham Trailer: Anushka Shetty and R Madhavan starrer tells the tale of a haunted house and a missing girl". The Times of India. 21 September 2020. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "Nishabdham Movie Review: All gloss and no depth". The Times of India. 2 October 2020. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- "Silence Movie Review: Silence feels like a dreary dubbed film". The Times of India. 2 October 2020. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- Kumar, Karthik (2 October 2020). "Nishabdham movie review: Anushka Shetty, R Madhavan film is excruciatingly boring, lacks thrills". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- Rajendran, Sowmya (2 October 2020). "'Nishabdham' review: Anushka Shetty, Madhavan film has good ideas but falls short". The News Minute. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- "'Nishabdham' song 'Madhuramithe': R Madhavan and Anushka Shetty's track celebrates love". Republic World. Retrieved 29 September 2020.