Nishabdham Review: A convoluted screenplay fails to mask fundamental flaws

Nishabdham begins with a bag of horror clichés. There’s a flashback. We see a villa in 1920s America. The camera’s already peeking from behind a curtain and letting out menacing whispers. You know the rest. The residents see strange activity, descend into the cellar, and get themselves offed by you-don’t-know-who. The man is found crucified on the wall, and this is an image that gets repeated in the film, barely 10 minutes later. Had this been a better film, I would have been tempted to say that the symbolism means something, and that the second person, in a sense, is paying for the sins of others. However, Nishabdham, given how underwhelming it is, deserves no such reading.

Soon, you are introduced to Sakshi (Anushka Shetty), a deaf-and-mute painter, and her fiancé, Anthony (Madhavan), a cellist so rich that the number of zeroes he adds on a cheque makes an onlooker almost faint. They are introduced to you through the happy-couple-in-a-car song. You know, where the man is driving with an eye on the road but with the other on his girlfriend’s antics, whose chirpy behaviour typically includes standing in the convertible and swinging her dupatta about, as though it were her first time in a car. Sakshi and Anthony are heading towards this haunted villa near Seattle, and while in your usual horror cinema, a couple moving into a horror villa is par for the course, here, the couple is said to be going in to retrieve a painting. You learn this information not through graceful, organic sharing of information but through an awkward, forced exchange outside the villa when Anthony suddenly asks, “So, only if you get the painting that’s inside this villa, are you going to be satisfied, right?” I was shocked that Sakshi didn’t respond, “Eh? What have we come all this way for then?”

For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit

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