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Directed by Hemant Madhukar, the Anushka Shetty-Madhavan starrer tries hard to be a riveting whodunit but totters right from the get-go, leaving the audience shagged out at the end of its 125 minutes.

The film begins with a flashback that shows a couple in an eerie yet splendid mansion. As one can predict, the lights flicker out, and the guy hears wild groans from the cellar. The ghost extirpates the couple after playing its bog-standard, stereotypical 'peek-a-boo' and the mansion gets its "haunted" brand thereafter. Years later, we are introduced to Maha (played by Anjali), a detective from Seattle, whose narration unfolds the story.

Anthony (Madhavan) is a celebrated millionaire cello player engaged to Sakshi (Anushka Shetty) - a hearing and speech impaired orphaned artist. She takes him to the eerie mansion to replicate a painting present there, only to find Anthony gruesomely crucified moments later. She manages to escape and reach the hospital where Maha meets her, which marks the beginning of the investigation. Two more characters are established - Sakshi's friend Vivek (Subbaraju) and the Lead Investigating Officer Richard (Michael Madsen). The Murder investigation begins, and the team learns that soon after Sakshi and Anthony were engaged, her best friend at the orphanage, Sonali (Shalini Pandey), had gone missing. The rest of the foreseeable plot reveals the mystery behind Anthony's death and Sonali's disappearance.

The film's writing and execution are so zestless, that it leaves us wondering if there is anything cogent about it. The supremely talented Anushka Shetty and Madhavan are given no opportunities to display their prowess, and Michael Madsen as the limping cop could have contributed more. Anjali, as a US detective, and Subbaraju as the solicitous friend, are quite convincing, but Shalini Pandey, as the possessive friend, irks the audience rather than evoking their sympathy. The plot itself is so predictable and nondescript that even these amazing actors could not save the film from being a monotonous watch with a decent background score and cinematography.

A plot as calculable and cliched as this could have been made a good watch if released 10 years ago. Overall, the film does not deliver what it promises but can be watched for the star cast and the setting.

Tagged in : MUTE, SILENCE, painting, mystery,