R Balki’s engaging serial killer-thriller/romance, starring Sunny Deol and Dulquer Salmaan, is aptly named ‘Chup’, for it asks film critics to be good at their job, or else shut up

Posted on September 23, 2022


Spoilers ahead…

I think what Balki (along with the serial killer) is saying is this: “Criticise all you like, but do it honestly, ethically, responsibly”. This may be the closest this director has come to a “message movie”. 

chup revenge of the artist

Balki’s Chup begins in classic serial killer-thriller fashion. On a rainy night, a gruesome murder is discovered. The victim is a film critic. There are knife slashes all over his body, and on his head, as is later discovered, there’s a star – as in, a star rating. So we have a novel signature: a man (or woman) who targets film critics and carves star ratings on them. Sunny Deol plays Arvind, the cop on the case, and he cracks the script’s cleverest aspect: the reason behind each of these bodies being mutilated the way they are. It’s delightfully perverse. This alone would have made for a cracker of a cat-and-mouse thriller, but Balki (who co-wrote the screenplay with Rishi Virmani and former critic Raja Sen) has other ideas. He introduces a parallel track: the romance between Dulquer Salmaan’s Danny and Shreya Dhanwanthary’s Nila/Neela. “Nila” is Tamil for moon. “Neela” is the name of the heroine of Nayakan. Saranya Ponvannan, the heroine of Nayakan, plays this heroine’s mother. Could there be a more “Balki” touch?

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Posted in: Cinema: Hindi