“Kuch to gadbad hai,” says ACP Avinash Verma (Manoj Bajpayee), like the great ACP Pradyuman from the cult show CID, as he plunges into a complicated investigation for the second time after Silence: Can You Hear It? (2021). Writer-director Aban Bharucha Deohans brings the principal cast back for Silence 2: The Night Owl Bar Shootout. The intriguing title is one of the best things about a too-long film that plods along for the most part through a small field of red herrings.

Avinash’s fictional Special Crimes Unit seems under imminent threat of shutdown for an unexplained reason. He has just finished thrashing a man for harassing a streetwalker (“No means no!”) when he is told about the killings at the Night Owl Bar. A minister’s secretary and a journalist are among the eight victims. Avinash throws words like “splatter pattern” and “trajectory” before concluding that the target was someone else.

The possible villain, Arjun (Dinkar Sharma), surrounds himself with theatre masks, hams away for an invisible audience and complains to his shrink that the auditorium was empty. Avinash and an alert cop in Jaipur (Shruti Bapna) unearth an angle that has little to do with the Night Owl Bar.

While concentrating on a case could be a good thing, Deohans does not take a breather to show that Avinash’s team members have lives outside the bullpen. Avinash himself lives in a house with unpacked cartons, speaks once to a daughter on the phone and is never seen eating. He quotes poetry to the tea boy and is told by his boss to keep in check his inner Harishchandra, of which there is no evidence.

A crime show is as interesting as its lead investigator. Avinash has no personality, just a wardrobe full of jackets that he never repeats. The names of his team of three (Prachi Desai, Vaquar Shaikh, Sahil Vaid), barely register, and they serve little purpose except to walk beside or behind him. To Avinash falls the job of knitting the brow and muttering, why?

After over two hours of watching Avinash do what modern investigators do, it’s a downer to hear a long-winded narration about why the murders happened and who committed them. If it’s possible to be more bored with a film after it is over, Silence 2 manages just that with a revelation that is totally off tangent.

Manoj Bajpayee has done better work on streaming including the first part of this budding franchise (Silence 3 seems imminent) and the sequel does little justice to his talent. There is no excuse for this dud when there are so many excellent crime shows for inspiration.

Silence 2: The Night Owl Bar Shootout (2024).