I must admit that seeing a movie about a serial killer who kills film critics for their bad reviews was indeed a memorable experience and something I had never anticipated witnessing. R Balki’s Chup has a peculiar premise, and to a great extent, he uses violence and the quirkiness of the thought to make it a very compelling experience. Chup has a steady flow until it reaches its final act, where this movie fumbles as things take a drastic and hasty turn.

A series of murders happen in Mumbai city where a serial killer is killing film critics. Officer Arvind Mathur finds out that the murders are based on the reviews these critics have published, and there was a connection between what they had written and how they were murdered. Danny is a florist in Mumbai city and was an ardent fan of legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt. What connects him with the serial killer and how Arvind Mathur finally nabs the culprit is what R Balki has shown in Chup.

The movie has two tracks. One is where Arvind Mathur is investigating the murders, and the second one shows us the life of a bipolar Danny. Balki and his writers Rishi Virmani and Raja Sen make sure that a humorous approach is given to both tracks. I must say that this treatment trait helps the film gain some uniqueness as everything happening in the film’s primary track is gory. The quintessential Balki characteristic of a cool bonding between the heroine’s mother and the hero was a great sequence in the movie. Even in showing those murders, there is that effort to make you a part of the investigation. But as the film gets closer to a solution, the wow factor diminishes.

Raja Sen, the co-writer of this film, is a prominent film critic, and I think his perspective helps the movie a lot in depicting the serial killer’s idea of a good review. Unlike the popular notion of critics killing the film, the emphasis is on being honest about your reviews. In a sequence, Nila Menon, played by Shreya Dhanwanthary, talks about how she used to follow a critic because the movies that didn’t work for the critic always worked for her. The most enjoyable part of the movie was the conversational romance between Danny and Nila. Even though the dark humor keeps the investigation part interesting, one could sense a bit of loudness in the approach of the police. The placement of the climax conflict is dramatic on paper, but when it comes to the visualization, there is a conviction issue, and Balki can’t really make that phase nail-biting. The music is beautiful, and the songs are placed very smartly.

Dulquer Salmaan delivers one of his best performances in Chup. If you look at the character, one can see the scope for performance as Danny’s psychological state, present and past, are all peculiar. Dulquer isn’t shifting too much when he is in beast mode, which gives the character an exciting outlook. Shreya Dhanwanthary depicts the enthusiasm of her wannabe critic character very naturally, and her chemistry with Dulquer was also wonderful. It was good to see Sunny Deol in a rather undramatic character being a no-nonsense police officer. Pooja Bhatt is there in an extended cameo-like character as a criminal psychologist. I hope this role will help Saranya Ponvannan get out of the stereotypical roles she gets in Tamil films.

Chup is never a boring film. By placing Guru Dutt and his critically trashed cult film Kaagaz Ke Phool at the center of the whole drama, Balki definitely takes the initiative to talk about criticism. But the culmination he has given to the serial killer story felt jarring, and it disturbs this thriller’s rhythm. I hope the killer won’t paint my forehead with orange paint.

Final Thoughts

Chup has a steady flow until it reaches its final act, where this movie fumbles as things take a drastic and hasty turn.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.