“Each man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore, never send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – John Donne
While the film claims to fall under the genre of murder mystery/ thriller- it is in essence a messy love affair at its core. The viewer is on an onward journey of troughs and crests. While the suspense of the film is piqued through certain points of the film it feels like a wild goose chase with no end. Aban Bharucha Deohans makes a directorial feature film debut with Silence… Can You Hear it?
The film opens to a landscape of scenic hills that dot the landscape of the outskirts of Mumbai- Kharghar. A group of young trekkers stumble across a dead body sprawled on the floor in the midst of the hilly terrain following the tone of a ringing mobile phone like a game of pied piper.
The mood of the film changes in an instant. A reeking smell that emanates from the dead body causes one of the boys to vomit.
Barkha Singh who is a familiar face because she often stars in videos produced by Dice Media plays an important role- all conversation is centered around her and to find the cause of her mysterious death. The movie is shown through a series of flashbacks and recollection of what happened in a vain effort to piece the death back together.
The plot is full of surprises which build through the film. It is like a pot of boiling tea threatening to fall and reveal all of its contents at once.
However, the viewers are put through the ordeal of the police case unfolding- the body is examined and evidence is collected. The body of the deceased is studied with excruciating detail and possibilities are harped upon in a dark room projecting vivid images of the murder.
The fleeting nature of life is pondered on through the entirety of the film in thought provoking scenes. A name plaque is simply torn to pieces into a hospital after the death of an individual. Any individual’s death is perceived to be the loss of all mankind. Manoj Bajpayee is shown to be deeply disillusioned by the concept of death.
The ideals of justice and the lack of patience is laid emphasis on. The judge who is also the deceased’s father- judiciary claims to have done his duties for the society by fighting for the truth makes a personal plea to the police- law enforcer the ACP to handle this murder case.
Manoj Bajpayee dawns the role of ACP Avinash Verma who. He is the centrifugal force of the film. And his character is unfolded beautifully. He maintains a safe distance from religion of any form, who is prone to frequenting dingy goons and exposing drug rackets.
Bajpayee finds novel ways to deal with goons mixed with a dry sense of humor which instantly tempers the heat in the room and nonchalance and rash language that one seems to develop with years of being in his profession.
A personal side to the ACP is depicted when the meeting take place at his home. The dabbawaala calls to chastise a man of his stature to return the prized dabbas back to his possession. Prachi Desai- who plays Sanjana and is part of the investigative team is also seen carrying her boss’s ironed clothes in the house.
This makes the character of Manoj Bajpayee affable and shows the viewers the human side of him. A conversation with his mother over a phone call reveals that he has lived as a family man which has ended up in divorce. His love for his profession superseded his love for his family. The viewer is made to feel as if they are prying on an extremely personal conversation between the ACP and the mother, while his mother still calls him ‘chintu’ and reminds him of eating his meals.
Arjun Mathur plays the role of Ravi Khanna, an MLA draped in Nehru Jacket. All fingers start waggling at Ravi as one is misled into believing he is the murderer. The filmmaker purposely draws attention to Ravi’s defensive behaviour which he wears like an armor and the fact that he is not enthused about the recovery of his wife.
The film is shot through the streets of South Mumbai and fleeting imagery of the interiors of art deco buildings can also be seen in the film. Watch the film to hear the clues, or rather see it as ACP Avinash does in the end.
Title: Silence…Can You Hear It?
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Prachi Desai, Sahil Vaid, Arjun Mathur, Denzil Smith
Writer/ Director: Aban Bharucha Deohans
Streaming on: Zee 5