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The making of ‘Nishabdham’

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Director Hemanth Madhukar on how he supposed ‘Nishabdham’ to be a small silent movie, which has now mushroomed into a world mission

Nishabdham (Silence in Tamil), starring Anushka Shetty, R Madhavan, Anjali, Shalini Pandey, Srinivas Avasarala and Michael Madsen, will stream on Amazon Prime on October 2. Nishabdham, which was filmed concurrently in Telugu, Tamil and English, and later dubbed into Hindi and Malayalam, was initially conceptualised as a silent movie.

The thriller set within the USA follows the case of a lacking lady, and has Anushka as a mute artist and Madhavan as a musician.

Silence, please

In 2013, director Hemanth Madhukar was re-watching director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s silent movie Pushpaka Vimanam (Pesum Padam in Tamil) starring Kamal Haasan, Amala and Tinnu Anand and thought it will be attention-grabbing to make a up to date silent thriller. “What if the protagonist is hearing and speech impaired and has to communicate through sign language? I wanted to narrate a story from the protagonist’s point of view,” says Hemanth.

Did you already know?

  • The American Sign Language (ASL) is completely different from the signal language utilized in India. For Nishabdham, Anushka Shetty skilled in each types, to have the ability to talk with the American and Indian actors, as required for the story.

Hemanth wrote the story and the preliminary discussions occurred with the PVP group for manufacturing: “They liked the idea and had discussions, but there was no further progress. A few months later I bounced off the idea to my old time friend and writer Kona Venkat. He felt the story had the potential to be an international project and suggested we include dialogues. We improvised the script; Kona wrote the screenplay.”

Madhavan and Taapsee had been on board however the latter reportedly had date points. Meanwhile, Anushka heard the story from Kona Venkat on a flight from Mumbai to Hyderabad and was sport to be half of the mission. Anjali and Shalini Pandey had been signed for different key roles. Through a casting company within the US, Hemanth roped in Michael Madsen. “With all of them coming in, the project grew bigger,” says Hemanth.

He describes the movie as “a thriller with elements of horror, and an emotional drama”. Some of the technical crew members had been additionally employed within the US. To maintain issues practical for the US-centric story, Hemanth wished the worldwide forged to talk in English: “It doesn’t sound right to have the English actors speaking in Tamil or Telugu. We can always dub the English lines in other languages,” he says.

Nishabdham has been within the information for nearly three years. “News about the silent film got out in its initial stage, so people feel it has been in the making for long,” Hemanth laughs, including, “We began filming in May 2019 and finished in a single schedule of 55 days.”

Taste of cultures

Straddling completely different languages was not a humongous activity for Hemanth. The filmmaker is nicely versed in Telugu and Tamil having grown up in Chennai. He moved to Hyderabad when he started aiding director Ravi Raja Pinisetty for Telugu movies. “When I wanted to direct my film, I moved to Mumbai. I wanted to do something independently without the influence of my dad (late filmmaker K Baburao),” Hemanth causes.

He directed the Hindi movie The Flat, Telugu entertainer Vastadu Naa Raju and the Hindi movie Mumbai 125km. “I won’t say I am an expert. My last film (Mumbai 125km) was a disaster. But I know my job and have a good understanding of the sensibilities of Tamil, Telugu and Hindi cinema.”

The director doesn’t use the time period crossover however asserts that he wished Nishabdham to appear like “an international film with Indian and a few American actors”. He appreciated cinematographer Shaneil Deo’s work within the thrillers Kshanam and Goodachari, and felt he may give Nishabdham the required color and texture for a horror thriller.

Gopi Sundar composed the songs and sound engineer Vijay Rathinam advisable Girishh Gopalakrishnan for the background rating. The duo had labored collectively for the horror-thriller Aval (Gruham in Telugu). Talking in regards to the effort that has gone into the background rating, Hemanth says, “Some of the score was done in Budapest with a live orchestra. We used a few Mozart tribute compositions and wanted cello players.”

Hemanth reveals that there are theatrical plans too: “We hope to release the English version in the US in January 2021, and the other language versions in India. We have made a technically fine film that should be enjoyed in theatres.”



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