Movie Review: Khamoshi: The Musical

The movie begins with Joseph (Nana Patekar) and Flavy (Seema Biswas) waiting for their daughter Annie (Manisha Koirala) and Raj (Salman Khan). Annie goes into the state of coma after she crashes into a truck. Subsequently, we are taken into a flashback told through Annie's eyes. Although her parents are deaf-mute, Annie's grandmother Maria (Helen), is the ultimate singing-dancing, life affirming woman. Annie's brother Joy, however, dies very soon after his birth. Annie's world is shattered when first Maria dies and then her younger brother falls from the bell tower of the church. Her parents Flavy and Joseph lose faith in God but Annie becomes more serious and devout.

Raj (Salman Khan) comes into Annie's sad life from Bombay. He is a composer and has used her as inspiration for his music from afar. Their love blossoms, but not without complications, mostly involving Annie's parents who have come to depend on her. A poverty-stricken, deaf-mute fisherman and his family is a brave subject matter for a Hindi film. The performances by Manisha Koirala, Nana Patekar and Seema Biswas are powerful and compelling. Manisha in particular is in her element and demonstrates the full range of her acting ability.

The scene in which she shouts at her father through the door, screaming and using sign language even though she knows he can neither see nor hear, is extremely powerful. Seema Biswas as the insular, angry mother afraid of the outside world, is a good counter balance to Nana Patekar's full-bodied performance as Annie's father. The scenes in which he's trying to deal with his son's demise and then throwing the cross into the ocean are exceptionally strong and moving.

Manisha Koirala and Nana Patekar's scenes together are also powerful. Salman Khan, looks very sweet probably due to his "Prem" image and manages to keep his shirt on almost the whole way through the film, a miracle for a man whose main assets have been his biceps. He offers a nice counterpoint as the uncomplicated middle-class boy thrown into Annie's world of pain and guilt.

A poverty-stricken, deaf-mute fisherman and his family is a brave subject matter for a Hindi film with popular Hindi stars. In Indian culture, where films serve primarily as escapism, Khamoshi offers a rare example of handicapped people being portrayed beyond the usual stereotypes of street beggars and sufferers. It is a strong, powerful and yet beautiful film about the transformations art works upon our lives.


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