Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

Silence is a neat little whodunit thriller that knows its limitations and remains within them ensuring that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The story revolves around the discovery of the decaying dead body of a girl, Pooja (Barkha Singh) who happens to be the daughter of an influential and honest judge. The body is found on a trekking trail by a group of youths. Pooja was last known visiting her best friend, Kavita (Hitha Chandrasekhar) who is married to the local MLA’s son, Amit (Arjun Mathur). Interestingly, Kavita also meets with a fateful accident around the same time and is in a coma at the local hospital. Things look fishy and it seems that unless the killer is nabbed quickly, the trails might go cold. Pooja’s father pulls a few strings and has ACP Avinash (Manoj Bajpayee) — known for his unconventional ways of solving crimes — assigned to the case.

Avinash quickly realizes that the murder was committed somewhere else and the body was dumped on the trail to avoid suspicion. He even has a solid hunch on who the killer might be and for what reason he/she might have committed the crime. But it proves difficult to garner enough evidence against the perpetrator. What follows is a fast-paced, interesting, and investing cat and mouse game that has enough credibility and thrills to hold on to our attention for the duration of the film’s runtime.

I love the whodunit thriller genre when it is done right and off late, Bollywood seems to be getting pretty good at these contained, low-budget, and yet well-made thrillers that often come up with interesting plots and even better performances. A film like Silence depends a lot on the credibility of the performances to make the viewers look away from some of its obvious deficiencies and this is where Manoj Bajpayee’s charm and stellar act are utilized to fill up the gaps. He brings forth a version of the character that we have seen innumerable time over the years and yet it is so well done that we cannot help but be intrigued by it. Be it his introduction, his many encounters with the MLA’s son who insults the police brutally and his final interaction with the killer, Bajpayee brings out different expression and along with it a lot of fun elements that is enjoyable to watch.

He has three other actors playing his team members who deliver equally good performances and rise above the cliché of being the side characters with nothing more to do. Prachi Desai was my favorite of the lot. She exuded the right vibes for the character and looked beautiful enough to grab our attention in a good way. There seemed to be just a little spark between her and Bajpayee that made me think that they might be interested in each other. It just added an extra layer to the storytelling and made certain sequences more interesting than they were supposed to be.

Sahil Vaid and Vaquar Shaikh play the other two members of the team and they have an unmissable easy charm about their characters that makes their essay extremely enjoyable to watch. These men are often en-tasked with important work and they are efficient enough to complete those tasks without any assistance of their boss, Avinash. They are also not perfect and are often at the receiving end of Avinash’s rebuke; Sometimes even when they didn’t deserve it.

The story and the motivations behind the murder were also very well envisioned. It was realistic and even minor issues pertaining to it being committed in a certain way were addressed with proficient writing. One has to agree that there were some issues with how the police went ahead with the investigation and a lot of the things fell in place because of conducive and unforced coincidences but none of that was glaring or unwarranted enough to spoil the fun of the narrative or mar the otherwise realistic feel of the film. That the murderer is not revealed until the very last scene of the film and is something that I thoroughly enjoyed about the film.

One little thing that the makers could have taken care of was to not have the arrows of suspicion so firmly set on one particular character. When you do that, it becomes obvious to the audiences that you are leading them astray to deliver the final punch in the last act of the film. That is something that the makers of Silence could have taken care of in the film.

Having said that, I still had a good time with this film and if you have nothing else on your menu to watch this week, Silence could be a film that you could try. Silence will entertain you throughout its runtime and might just surprise you with its end reveal. Needless to say that Manoj Bajpayee steers the ship with his wonderful performance and has the ability to support the ensemble cast.

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