Drama, Thriller, Black Comedy
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Producer: Vishal Bhardwaj, Ronnie Screwvala
Banner: UTV Motion Pictures, Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures Pvt Ltd
Music Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Star Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Usha Uthup, Annu Kapoor, Vivaan Shah, Aleksandr Dyachenko
Special Appearance: Konkana Sen Sharma
February 18, 2011
From the la-la-by romance behind the trees and in the lakes to the murder-mystery plots to the very recent gothic dark film tragedy, Bollywood has surely come-of-age. After all, until a few years, who would have thought making a film that displays a woman in a dark role, let alone put on show one! But seems like, finally substantial and intelligible movies have found their way to box office. An avant-garde filmmaker, Vishal Bhardwaj is known for coming up with out-of-the-box films and his latest baby attests this statement all the more. An adaptation from Ruskin Bond’s short story 'Susanna's Seven Husbands', ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ is a pictorial treat for audience who are looking for something unconventional and eccentric. The concept itself is new to Bollywood and is sure to excite movie buffs like never before.
‘7 Khoon Maaf’ would turn out as a bolt-from-blue for traditional movie goers, what with wives always portrayed as docile and compliant, and sometimes, fiercely independent. This movie, on the other end, portrays a murderous wife, whose life revolves around the vicious circle of marriage-murder-marriage until she has already massacred six husbands, all in quest for love. Right from the first screen shot to the last one, there is a wealth of passion, talent and crime that flows, or if we may say, overflows the dark canvas and propels this stirring tale forward. What is interesting to note is that despite the minute detailing, Vishal Bhardwaj manages to keep the fulcrum of the movie in its place. Susanna may have obliterated her husbands but all with a cause – deep down the line, she is one woman who symbolizes the umpteen women who were wronged either by their adulterous husbands or abusive ones, dictatorial spouses or those who treated their wives merely as sex objects.
With so many thumbs-up for the movie, you would now be wondering what actually went wrong for it to earn just 3 stars. Well, blame it partly on the tough story which gets predictable after one instance, and partly on the prolonged screenplay. There are some sequences that work really well for the movie, but then there are others that decline the impact created by the earlier ones. Also, that the uninteresting plots come in at a later stage more so mars the beauty of the malevolence (pun intended). Nevertheless, amusingly, not for a single moment does the movie make the audience abhor the character of Susanna for her inexhaustible pursuit for true love. In fact, you tend to empathize with her and are quite convinced with the reasoning given for each murder. But what gets into the nerves is the transition from one husband to another. Susanna looks more like a desperate lady hungry for love than one that truly wants an idealistic life.
Vishal Bhardwaj almost successfully comes up with a niche movie. His intention of showcasing a gothic world of murder is convincing, but not without its share of hiccups. Had the screenplay been a little more crisp and the story a little more believable (after all, how can the law enforcement remain silent despite multiple mysterious deaths involving the same woman?), ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ would have scaled sky high. As far as performance is concerned, Priyanka Chopra strikes gold. Her portrayal of a woman from the age of 21 to 65 is absolutely bang on. Must say, an award-winning stunning performance Piggy Chops! The remaining cast also puts up the show really well - while Annu Kapoor leaves the maximum impact, Neil is effective. John, Irrfan, Naseer and Aleksandr, on the other end, are authentic. Vivaan Shah, our story teller is someone Bollywood can watch out for, for he is simply outstanding.
On the whole, ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ is a blatantly serious stirring drama not meant for all. Some may love it, while other would loathe it. But just as they say, to each his own!
7 Khoon Maaf Pre-release Review
Known for filming book adaptations ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Omkara’, both of which were critically acclaimed and honored with several awards, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj is back with yet another novel-based drama titled ‘7 Khoon Maaf’. Based on the famous Ruskin Bond’s ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands’, this film is a dark, black comedy thriller. After ‘Aitraaz’ and ‘Yakeen’, this is Priyanka Chopra’s third negative character, playing the murdering wife. Apart from producing and directing, Vishal has written the script and given the music and background score, thereby declaring the movie as an out-an-out Vishal’s project. Bannered under UTV Motion Pictures and Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures Pvt. Ltd., the movie is produced by Vishal Bhardwaj and Ronnie Screwvala. ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ is set to hit the silver screen on February 18, 2011.
Following the footsteps of the novel, Susanna (Priyanka Chopra) romances seven guys for her quest for love but fails to succeed with even one of them. The roles of her seven spouses are played by Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Irrfan Khan, Annu Kapoor, Naseeruddin’s son Vivaan Shah, and Russian actor Aleksandr Dyachenko. The film is a journey through Susanna’s life, from 20 to 65 years, with husbands of different age groups. Her first husband is the moustached Neil Nitin Mukesh (Major Edwin Rodriques), while Jimmy (John Abraham) plays her second hubby. Vivaan Shah comes up next. Not satisfied by any of these, Susanna moves on to become the simple biwi of Wasiullah Khan (Irrfan Khan) and later shakes a leg with Nicolai Vronsky (Aleksandr Dyachenko).
But that’s not all. She, then ties the nuptial knot with Keemat Lal (Annu Kapoor), who takes all efforts to please his old-but-beautiful wife, while Dr. Modhusudhon Tarafdar (Naseeruddin Shah) comes up with naughty acts to share some loving moments. With the first official trailers already creating enough curiosity and sizzles in the film industry, one can expect Piggy Chops to deliver another award-winning Sonia Roy or Meghna Mathur saga. After ‘Kaminey’, will Vishal Bhardwaj and PC amuse the audience this time too? Come 18th February, 2011 when ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ releases and we’ll see whether Susanna aka Priyanka will yet again light up the silver screen or not.