When you hear the words silent film what pops in the mind? Definitely not any sound. A silent film is a film that does not have any pre-recorded sound and has no audible dialogues. Earlier silent films were accompanied by live sounds such as that of a piano, instrument organ or orchestra etc. It may also consist of a short narration to set up a scene. The silent fil era that was the mid 1980(s) to the late 1920(s) many musicians like a theatre organist or a pianist could also be seen to add the theatrical effect. Earlier films used a device called magic lens that had a glass lens, an adamant light source and a shutter. The legends who laid the foundation of silent films were Muybridge, Marey and Le Prince which further paved the way to the cinema we see today. The myth that silent films also came across was that the films were primitive and were not watched by many individuals.
Pushpaak is a 1987 Indian silent, comedy film starring Kamal Hassan and Amala in leading role. The movie revolves around the story of an unemployed youth, Kamal Hassan, a man who searches for a job in a destroy and hopeless manner. After a chance encounter with a millionaire who is on a self-destructive bender. Hassan kidnaps the man and replaces him at Pushpaak, a five-star hotel that the latter is booked into. The movie then introduces Tinnu Anand, an ice-pick wielding contract killer hired by the old man’s wife. The killer mistakes Kamal Hassan to be the drunk businessman and what follows is a series of humorous events. The movie has a humanitarian appeal which laments upon the human attachment to the to the materialistic world. In the end, the protagonist ends up in his previous life searching for employment and meaning.
What makes this movie an evergreen classic is the fact that despite being a silent movie, it was way ahead of its time. The nonverbal modes of communication such as symbolism, gestures, body language are visible throughout the movie. For instance, the hotel’s name, Pushpaak is symbolic of their chariot owned by the god of wealth, Kuber. Gestures have been used throughout the movie for one-to-one communication, like the silent balcony conversation between the couple. The background score keeps the viewers engrossed, creating an aura of the character on screen. The comic timing of the actors was well depicted with their facial expressions. Last but not the least, the movie leaves a moral message that materialistic love has no end, this is specifically portrayed in the scene where the people leave the beggar’s corpse for his money and Kamal Hassan realises that a poor man couldn’t take the money, he was so boastful about it with him. Even the riches of the businessman couldn’t buy him love or loyalty from his wife. The movie leaves an impact on the mind from the viewers and that is what it makes evergreen classic.