October 2nd, 2020
The trend of Telugu movies releasing on OTT due to coronavirus pandemic contunies and Anushka Shetty's much delayed thriller Nishadbam is the latest big ticket Telugu film to join the bandwagon and test it's luck. Also starring Madhavan, Anjali, and Hollywood actor Michael Madsen in his Telugu debut, the movie is directed by Hemanth Madhukar in his debut and is written and produced by Kona Venkat. Can Nishadbam finally break the OTT curse for Telugu movies and emerge successful and be engaging? Let's find out in this review.
Nishabdam is about a haunted house that took the lives of 2 people in 1972. Then Sakshi (Anuskha) and Anthony (Madhavan) book an AirBnb for vacation there. What happens next is a story in a story in a story with voiceover narration with more voiceover narration.
Anushka is literally the only positive of the movie. Her screen presence and performance as a mute girl is sincere as always. But there's nothing that really stays with you after the movie is over. Size Zero has taken a big toll on her career and she's been unable to get back to the form that she ruled the industry for almost 10 years.
Madhavan as the male lead does a fine job but his character lacks proper motivation and is a straight ripoff of the villains from Raghavan starring Kamal Hassan. Anjali as a cop is useless.
Shalini Pandey gets the most annoying character ever and is highly irritating throughout.
Hollywood actor Michael Madsen is completely wasted in a role where he just says F*** , Bit**, and Basta** the entire time. The actor's voice has also been dubbed which makes no sense because the ONLY LANGUAGE HE SPEAKS IN ENGLISH. ENGLISH DIALOGUES KI DUBBING YENDI RAA BHAI.
Srinivas Avasarala has no job besides talking to his wife on the phone and saying pointless things in his house. He is useless. Subbaraju is decent but his character is almost as good as Sherlock Sampath from Agnythaavasi that has to be seen to be believed.
Lastly, all the American actors are ATROCIOUS.
Direction by Hemanth Madhukar is horrendous. There's proper sync from one scene to the next and if you thought Boyapati was bad in VVR with two flashbacks, this movie has not one but about FOUR FREAKING FLASHBACKS. Screenplay by Kona Venkat is a joke. The movie holds your interest for the first 15 minutes thinking that there's some type of demon in a haunted house but by the end of the movie, that point completely forgotten and the movie turns into a borefest that tests your patience. The movie is also unbearably slow at times for no reason and the entire movie has such a dull screenplay. There's not a single memorable scene or moment and all the dialogues are cringeworthy. The makers of this movie forgot basic film making concepts and logic. And the entire Seattle or Washington Police department or whatever it is literally a joke. Telugu movies and just Indian movies in general need to stop making the American police look like buffoons. This is the 3rd movie after Dhoom 3 and Amar Akbar Anthony to make the respective police departments look like jokes.
Subbaraju in Nishabdam
Music by Gopi Sundar adequate. BGM by Girrish G is below average. The same BGM runs the entire movie. Cinematography by Shaneil Deo is vibrant and pleasing to the eyes. Editing by Prawin Pudi is terrible. Even at 125 mins, movie feels never ending. Production Design is very good for all the houses and wall paints. Dialogues by Kona Venkat are atrocious. Action Sequences are comedy especially the climax. Costumes and Styling by Neeraja Kona are good for Madhavan that's about it. Production Values by Kona Venkat and TG Vishwa Prasad are extravagant but they forgot the main thing a movie needs is a good story.
- Rest of the Performances
Nishabdam seemed promising considering Anuksha hasn't had a release since 2018's Bhagamathie. That movie was a blockbuster. And with an all star cast in Nishadam, the movie isn't even half decent and the entire cast and crew have delivered a rod.
The basic premise of the film doesn't have any flow. Neither the investigation or the so called twists are interests due to lifeless direction. The screenplay by Kona Venkat is also horrendous and it adds his long list of recent duds starting with Bruce Lee in 2015. The star dwriter is clearly out of form since a long time and it's on full display here. It's a miracle how both Anushka and Madhavan agreed to do this film. It's such a joke. As mentioned before the last 15 minutes are interesting and after that, everything goes downhill. Imagine a Lambhorgini going at a full speed and then hitting a curb, falling down a cliff, into a river and then hits rock bottom. That's the same exact way Nishadbam unfolds as a movie.
First half of the movie is incredibly boring and you can already guess what happens next. 2nd half isn't too much better either. The twists in the end are extremely routine and lack any motive or emotional connection and the climax is laughable. Even though the movie runs at 125 mins, it feels excruciatingly long and never ending. If not for Anushka's presence, it falls apart completely and even she can't save it.
I don't really know how movies like this get greenlit but movies like Ghazi and Care of Kanchaparalem aren't made more. It's high time Telugu film industry wakes up and starts investing in good content otherwise they'll keep cheating and sabotaging their own audience with trash content like this. As a hardcore fan, it's my humble request.
Overall, Idhi Nishabdam kaadu, it's Rod shabdam because the team have delivered a rod. Telugu cinema's OTT woes continue and the long wait for a satisfying movie on OTT continues. Prime has suffered some massive blows in Penguin and V in the last few months and you can safely add Nishabdam to the list. SKIP IT.