Chup, it’s a psychotic killer

A psychopath killer is targeting film critics. A series of bizarre and disturbing murders rock the city of Mumbai. Film critics are being killed week after week with the release of every new film.

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Chup draws inspiration from Guru Dutt’s last film a failure called ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’ and ‘Pyaasa’ – another dud and uses it as a metaphor on several occasions.

A psychopath killer is targeting film critics. A series of bizarre and disturbing murders rock the city of Mumbai. Film critics are being killed week after week with the release of every new film. Arvind Mathur, head of crime branch, Mumbai, is tasked with solving the case. With the help of Zenobia, a criminal psychologist, he tries to understand the mind of the killer to trap him.

It centres around Suresh, a lonely movie director who stumbles into Shanti one evening and casts her as the lead in a film. In a twist of fate, Shanti becomes a superstar and Suresh falls from the upper echelons of the film industry.

When a famous film critic is discovered dead in the toilet of his house by his wife, little does the investigating officer Arvind Mathur (Sunny Deol) know that this is just the beginning of a nightmare for film reviewers across the city.

The second victim is ‘brought on track’ in a gruesome way while the third one is hacked to death in an ‘artistic way’. Another reviewer has his body parts flung in different areas of a cricket ground. Soon, a series of clues lead Arvind to a conclusion that the serial killer on the loose is a ‘critics ka critic’.

In short, he hunts down film critics and slices them for their dishonest reviews. The killer leaves behind his signature in the form of star ratings on the victim’s forehead.

On the other hand, there’s a parallel track featuring a recluse florist Danny (Dulquer Salmaan). When not storing tulips in the fridge, he is busy enjoying his two glasses of tea and ‘anda bhurji’ at a modest restaurant.

Amid the sea of daisies, tulips and other flora in his shop, when Danny’s eyes fall on an entertainment journalist Nila (Shreya Dhanwanthary), it’s love at first sight for him. To the tunes of Pyaasa’s ‘Jaane Kya Tune Kahi’, the two hearts soon find solace in each other while the serial killer unleashes mayhem with his twisted mind.

Review
Chup is the story of a psychopath killer who is targeting film critics.

R. Balki represents a brand in cinema that looks at the world around us in different dynamics. His stories are about the absurdity in the normal and the gaze that makes it absurd in the first place. Be it Cheeni Kum, Paa, Shamitabh, or Ki & Ka. Even when they don’t land where they are supposed to, they kick-start a conversation and a constructive one to take the thinking of its viewer a step ahead. If not anything, one must appreciate his gestures to be original and bring to us some fresh content.

The curse of the second half
A good slasher film usually keeps the viewer hooked till the end. While ‘Chup’ manages to do just that, there isn’t much of an element of surprise in the very linear narrative. Perhaps the build-up to the plot was such that one had hoped for some major twists. But in the second half, the film trudges toward the love story more and the slasher film becomes more of a drama.

By the time of the climax, the film becomes quite predictable and you know how it will pan out.

Despite a sluggish second half, ‘Chup’ is definitely worth a watch. Primarily for its cast, its camera work, and its unique story.

Chup is about a legend whose cinema spoke of the world and what it consists of, good, bad, and ugly. So does Balki’s writing that tries to capture it all. But while all of it works, there are also convenient steps that he takes to jump to the next scene. You can see how everything is served easily nearby so the script can progress towards the more lucrative conflict and that is indeed a problem.

Pooja Bhatt in an extended cameo is Pooja Bhatt and one likes to see her onscreen. Also can one please have more of Saranya Ponvannan and the flamboyance she brings to the story? A blind single mother, who is obsessed with films, so much that she stays near the Mehboob studio and is a heroine in her own film in her head. Such a fun character and a fresh approach.

Production
In July 2021, R. Balki was confirmed to be directing a film based on Guru Dutt, to be produced again by Hope Production. The project is produced by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Jayantilal Gada and Gauri Shinde. Filmmaker R. Balki says cinema legend Guru Dutt was the perfect reference point for “Chup: Revenge of the Artist’, his upcoming thriller which depicts the pain of an artist who suffers from “wrong criticism”. A teaser of “Chup”, unveiled over the weekend to mark Dutt’s 97th birth anniversary, pays homage to the late director’s film Kaagaz Ke Phool.

Budget : Approx Rs 10 crore.

Box office collection:
As per early trade estimates, the Dulquer Salmaan and Sunny Deol film. On National Cinema Day, the film had surprised with collections to the tune of Rs 3.06 crores and then on Saturday it had sustained well to collected Rs 2.07 crores more, with Rs 2.25 crores more coming in on Sunday. Rs 0.85 crore at the box office on Day 5. Hence, the total collection would now stand at Rs 8.23 crore.

Name of movie: Chup: Revenge of the Artist
Release: (September 23) At Theatres
Star cast:
Sunny Deol, Dulquer Salmaan, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Pooja Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Adhyayan Suman, Raja Sen.
Director:   R. Balki
Producer:  Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Jayantilal Gada, Anil Naidu, Gauri Shinde

Writer:  R. Balki
Music:  Amit Trivedi, Sneha Khanwalkar, S. D. Burman
Production House:   Hope Production