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Want khichdi? Watch Silence Please!

Shilpa Bharatan Iyer | April 09, 2004 16:41 IST

A still from Silence Please... The Dressing RoomSilence Please…The Dressing Room is adapted from the play of the same name.

The movie is set against the backdrop of an India-Pakistan cricket match. Rather topical, except that the match in the movie takes place in Srinagar. A blast near the stadium puts the match in jeopardy. After some negotiation, the Pakistan team agrees to play the match.

A new player, Siddharth Srivastav (Alekh Sangal) is selected to play for the Indian team. His announcement into the team generates some media interest. And his reaction to his inclusion is captured by television news reporter Aparna Sen (Sonali Kulkarni).

Initially ragged by the team members, the new entrant settles down and is accepted. He befriends coach and physiotherapist Ivan Rodrigues (Tom Alter), who becomes his mentor.

While the team is getting ready for the match, the Indian captain (Salil Ankola) asks them to go 'easy' on the Pakistani team. He also gets many phone calls on his cell phone, prompting the team to think the match has been fixed.

Enter Police Inspector Victor Anthony with wife and sick kid. Victor Anthony hates cricket and considers this just another job.

On the day of the match, the Indian captain wins the toss and elects to field. The Pakistanis put up a great total. The Indian wickets fall, with only Siddharth putting 49 runs on the board. The captain manages to put a few runs before he gets cramps.

Siddharth quizzes the coach about the phone calls and the leg cramps, and is told the captain has a leg swelling that 'might even be bone cancer'.

Meanwhile, the terrorists are distributing water bottles laced with some chemical substance. Inspector Victor Anthony sees the terrorist camouflaged as a cold drinks seller, catches him and finds the chemical substance.

Aparna, who is taping the match with her handicam, focuses on the other terrorists in the stadium. She alerts the police, who tracks one of them while the other flees to the bathroom.

Come climax, there are 4 runs off 1 ball to be scored, 1 terrorist to be caught and 1 police officer and one nosy reporter to do it.

Director Sanjay Srinivas, who directed both the play and movie, believes that all is well that ends well.

The saving grace of the movie is Tom Alter who, as the physio and coach, tries to inspire and rally the Indian team. Captain Salil Ankola, though convincing with the bat and feigning the cramp is as wooden as the rest of the cast. Sonali Kulkarni as Aparna Sen is wasted. Her Bengali accent was evident only when saying her name, hence jarring.

The story is like a khichdi, with a little bit of everything in it. As a result, each of the subplots are not developed and fails to satisfy. There are many unexplained angles, like Victor Anthony's child calling his mother Ammi; a hint of romance between one of the Indian team players, Brian, and Aparna Sen.

The music is very ordinary and included a take-off on popular songs, including Run barse adapted from Rang barse (from Yash Chopra's Silsila).

Cast: Sonali Kulkarni Arif Zakaria Tom Alter, Salil Ankola, Bhupinder Singh
Writer-Director: Sanjay Srinivas
Producer: Pavan Morarka, Anmol Saxena.
Music: Jawahar Wattal
Lyrics: Anmol Saxena

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