An interesting story with a not-so-menacing anti-hero
Heavy spoilers ahead!
The 2022 thriller Chup: Revenge of the Artist first saw a theatrical release in India and then hit the OTT screens almost a month after. After watching the trailer for the movie, it’s immediately apparent that reviewers and critics would take the film pretty seriously considering it was addressed to critics that bash movies without respecting the art.
Nevertheless, if you go into this expecting a thriller, you’re not going to be disappointed. Being a self-proclaimed Dulquer Salmaan fan, I have been enjoying the variety of choices that the actor has been making with his recent ventures and seeing him as an anti-hero in this one shows how much potential he has.
You just know off the bat that Danny (played by Dulquer), a local catholic florist is suspicious and the ending is a non-shocker for anyone that saw the trailer to the movie before getting into it. The story tells the tale of Inspector Arvind Mathur (played by Sunny Deol) who is on a quest to find the psycho serial killer who is on the loose and is killing movie critics who bash movies without thinking about the consequences of what a negative, uninformed review would do to the success of a film and subsequently to the hard work of a film-maker.
The movie attempts to pay tribute to the legendary filmmaker, Guru Dutt who stopped making movies after his last movie received a lot of negative critic reviews. This movie pays tribute to the filmmaker’s movies, especially his critically trashed film, Kaagaz Ke Phool after Dutt’s death, praised significantly.
After witnessing multiple murders of film critics who are left behind with “star ratings” carved on the foreheads of their carcasses, Mathur takes the help of a psychologist named Zenobia (played by Pooja Bhatt) to find the psychopath of a killer.
Chup is a thriller at its core but in Danny, it’s difficult to see a menacing villain. When it comes to psychopaths, we rarely find any Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs), Norman Bates (Psycho), or Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) to come from recent Indian movies.
The last infamous psychopaths in Hindi films came from Rakesh Mahadkar from Ek Villain and Shiv Prasad Yadav from Mardaani 2. So to say that Chup gave us a new menacing psychopath would be reaching. The first half is slow but engaging and the exposition in the second half is certainly notable.
The quirky moments between Zenobia and Mathur are great, whereas Nila (played by Shreya Dhanwanthary) and Danny’s romance was not too bad. The movie presents an extremely novel concept but the storytelling is just passive, feeling like it dulls down by the time we reach the climax.
Seeing the murders actually take place after Mathur figured out the motive behind the crime is a nice which is why linking the murders to the reviews was an interesting choice. By the end of Chup, you end up sympathizing with our villain.
The soundtrack to the film is a great callback to old hit songs from the past and it’s refreshing to see these retro hits in 2022’s modern setting. Dulquer Salmaan’s performance as Danny was amazing and I love seeing Sunny Deol making bold choices with his comeback as an actor. Pooja Bhatt as Zenobia was a much-needed badass female to the story.
Thankfully, Sherya Dhanwanthary’s character was not just that of a romantic interest but a woman who somehow fell in love with a grey character and eventually paid the repercussions of falling in love too fast, too soon. All in all, Chup is extremely interesting at the beginning and throughout the exposition of the crime, but the ending of Chup pales in comparison to the first half.
Read More: Chup: Revenge of the Artist Ending Explained
Verdict - 7.5/10