Nishabd — the media interest
The media response to Nishabd has been interesting in the way that it has been earmarked, highlighted, prepared for canonisation, or outrightly rejected. Some samples:
The “this is a watershed” positions the film as milestone in India’s cultural trajectory (for its plot) and highlights a) Amitabh Bachchan’s performance; b) RGV’s authorial genius. Some effort was expended navel gazing the source of the film’s plot. RGV put a damper on that by revealing the source. Afternoon Despatch and Courier swam against the tide and took a dim view of the film’s plot. To prove their point, the conservative elements from North India provided the much needed spectacle, which fortified the media reading of the film as a watershed. The film has drew protests here – varanasi, here – Jalandhar, and here – Allahabad.
RGV couldn’t be happier.
With “Nishabd”, welcome the brave new Bollywood film heroine. She does not expose her body in a sequence or two; she covers it here and there. (The brave new Bollywood heroine is here … ., Hindu)
Just when you thought it was safe to brand Ram Gopal Varma into a predictable style, the filmmaker strikes back with Nishabd, a bittersweet left hook that leaves you reeling with its poignancy. He also manages to extract a phenomenal performance from The Megastar, who proves he’s always, always capable of making your jaw drop. And then there’s the ravishing Jiah Khan, who makes this bold, punchy film a knockout.
And as for all those of you who’ve parroting the name of Vladimir Nabakov’s masterpiece, here’s the real scoop: the only thing borrowed from Lolita (that too just the poster of the Stanley Kubrick version, to be honest) is the lollipop.
Ram Gopal Varma has done it again. He’s surprised us with a touching, deep and visibly personal effort, and if you were waiting with brickbats in hand, sorry. This one works. (Nishabd is a powerful film , Rediff.com)
Despite working off a script that borrows generously from the Drew Barrymore thriller Poison Ivy, Ram Gopal Varma makes it very clear he’s back in form as he sinks his teeth into what is perhaps his first all-out emotional, character drama. All said and considered, Nishabd is bold even though it doesn’t overstep the invisible moral line. It is, nonetheless, an experiment on Varma’s part because it’s unconventional in every sense – the narrative is not linear, the pace is leisurely and the plot itself is brave. (Masand’s Verdict: Nishabd, IBNLive )
The negative reviews
The Afternoon Despatch and Courier
Make it artistic, shoot at a heart-breakingly lovely location, cast Indiaâ€™s most revered actor opposite a Lolita-ish nymphet â€“ the word for it is still paedophilia. Ram Gopal Varmaâ€™s Nishabd, couched in heaps of psychobabble, cannot disguise the queasy-making content of a film in which a 60-year-old man falls for his daughterâ€™s obviously mentally-disturbed 18-year-old friend. The chap is past mid-life crisis, making him say he couldnâ€™t help it is unforgivable. Even those who are progressive and liberal would be revolted by Nishabd. Because even in the most promiscuous cultures, some lines are drawn between what is responsible and acceptable behaviour. (By any other name, Cybernoon)
We wondered why nobody is talking about the fact that Nishabd is not an original story. Ram Gopal Varma has denied that he has been inspired by the Hollywood versions of this infamous theme, but, nevertheless, we would like to bring the â€˜originalsâ€™ to you. (Is Nishabd a remake of Lolita?, Cybernoon)
From the man himself.
“I’ve not admitted this to anybody,” he says lowering his voice “but Nishabd is somewhere inspired from the biography of renowned author Ayn Rand. (I have portrayed dormant desires like a voyeur, Screen India)