Chup Dulquer Salman
Movie Review

Chup: Revenge of an artist is a highly significant film in today’s times!

A serial killer who targets film critics and kills them ruthlessly for giving poor ratings; though fictional, R Balki’s latest film does turn on a bit of fear in every film critic. The concept of the film is insane. Under the backdrop of murder and mysteries, R Balki explores the horizons of film criticism and sheds some light on what healthy film criticism means. The film doesn’t put the critics on trial, rather it tries to strike a balance between the efforts put ahead by artists and the criticism their art receives.

The film opens with a very gruesome murder of an elderly film critic and the nation is shocked by the news. Why would someone want to murder a film critic? The mystery seems very hard for the police to crack. One after the other more critics are killed in an even more gruesome manner sending a wave of panic all over the city. Sunny Deol plays the cop Arvind Mathur, who is assigned to solve this serial killing. It was so satisfying to watch him back on screen, properly utilized for the actor he is.

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It is obvious from the trailer itself that Dulquer’s Danny is the serial killer. But what are his motives, we don’t know till the end. While the police are busy investigating the murders, a parallel romantic story sprouts between Danny and Nila Menon, a young journalist new in the city. All the dots connect in the end.

The second half of the film had its highs but also contained some of the weakest moments from the film. The horrifying murder visuals tone down the appeal of the film. I had to cover my eyes most of the time when they showed the brutally cut bodies. The film is also too dark to see properly in the theatres.

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The songs in the movie are quite forgettable. But the background score is the best part. The haunting beats from Guru Dutt’s movie give the eerie mood that the narrative demands.

Sunny Deol’s magnificent comeback made me really happy. It had been a while since we saw him in serious roles and movies that mattered. Towards the end, the director leaves space to accommodate Sunny Deol’s iconic trademarks as well. Shreya Dhanwanthary is a delight. I wish we see more of her in the coming movies and shows. Pooja Bhatt fits right in as the criminal psychiatrist. Dulquer offers his best, no doubt. But I still feel that someone else could have done the psychopath artist even better, someone else could have gotten into the skin of the character even deeper.

I liked how Chup talks about film criticism. It does not bash those who introspect cinema but helps us understand what film criticism should mean. The serial killer kills only those critics who write biased reviews and leaves the ones who share their honest thoughts alone. This somewhere feels like asking us to be more conscious about what we hear and read about cinema, to not make a final judgment about a film just by reading reviews. The dialog that stayed with me after the end credits rolled in was, “It is not about films anymore”; this one hit me really hard.

Chup is a quirky celebration of Indian cinema and pays honest tribute to the legend of Guru Dutt.

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