7.5/10
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11 user 3 critic

Khamosh (1985)

| Mystery, Thriller
When a starlet is murdered on a film location, her detective brother arrives there to solve the mystery.

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(scenario) (as Vidhu Vinod), (story) (as Vidhu Vinod) | 6 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Shabana Azmi
...
Amol Palekar
Soni Razdan ...
Soni Razdan
...
Chandran (Film Director)
Noni Ganguly
...
Leela
Chitto Chopra ...
(as Chitu Chopra)
Shakti Singh
...
Kuku (as Pankaj Kapoor)
Ajit Vachani ...
Dayal Prabhu (Film Producer) (as Ajit Vachhani)
Uday Chandra
...
Dilawar Khan (Film Actor-Villain)
Veerendra Saxena ...
(as Virendra Saxena)
H.A. Rehman
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Storyline

When a starlet is murdered on a film location, her detective brother arrives there to solve the mystery.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

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Trivia

The film lay completed and unreleased for nearly 2 years. Yash Chopra saw the film and loved it. He suggested to Gulshan Rai to watch the film. Gulshan Rai and Rajiv Rai saw the film and loved it. But still no one came forward to buy it. Vidhu Chopra then released the film himself with a owner of a theatre in Bombay, They divided the profits 50/50. The film was a surprise hit. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Pastiche of Western Sensibilities
5 April 2007 | by (United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

The problem with most Bollywood films is tone. "Khamosh," Vidhu Vinod Chopra's daring attempt to adapt the Hollywood whodunit in an Indian setting is, unfortunately, no exception. The lame dialogue and overwhelming hokiness (every character basically shouts his dialogue; they all act stark raving mad!) almost undoes the film's greatest accomplishment: mood. Chopra busts out the noir rulebook: sharp angles, hand-held cinematography, color filters and dark rainy nights are just some of the aesthetic choices on prominent display. It does work lending "Khamosh" a gritty feel.

Let's now consider the plot which, although done before, is a bit clever. A film crew is shooting a murder mystery in a sleepy town; the story of their film involves the mystery surrounding a murdered woman. The story of our film "Khamosh" kicks off when the actress playing the character supposed to be murdered in the movie within this movie (get it?) is actually murdered herself! Since this is supposed to be noir, a shrewd Marlowe-type detective (Naseerudin Shah) quickly arrives on the scene to dig deeper. Shah plays his character with quiet intensity; it's an understated performance, and a welcome change from all the barking dialogue flying about from the other characters. Before the actress' murder, Chopra had immediately set up the suspects by implicating everyone in the crew: every one of them had a beef with the dead girl. (That's Motive multiplied by 1000.) Chopra who wrote and directed "Khamosh" keeps the big secret a secret till the very end. No clues are given, making the fun one-sided — it's irritating when all the doors of logic are slammed shut on the audience's face. As Shah's character connects the dots in his investigation, the film slowly starts to eliminate each suspect until the real killer is finally unmasked. By that time, we're barely interested anymore.

"Khamosh" is well-made. It's also supposed to be unconventional, by Bollywood standards: there are no songs; it is an ensemble film set in and around one hotel. There are even some successful attempts at satire when Chopra pokes fun at the Indian movie industry — the film crew in the story comprises a producer who is a depraved money-pinching scrooge while the director is, himself, hardly moral; all he wants is to finish his movie (in one hilarious scene he goads the bald movie villain to really go after the underage actress playing the rape victim, then rolls the camera conveniently forgetting to say CUT!). Plus, almost all the actors in "Khamosh" use their real names which amps the glib irony.

"Khamosh" is a pastiche of Western film-making and genre conventions, and may be that's really the problem. Hitchcock's "Psycho" plays prominently on a TV screen in one scene…the film also has clear influences of Lynch's "Twin Peaks" and some obvious borrowing of Godard's stylistic graces from "Alphaville." The mere fact that "Khamosh" is different from standard Bollywood fare may be enough for staunch supporters of this industry. But for the rest of us, it's all been done (much better) before.


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