Feb 21, 2011

7 Khoon Maaf: Reviewed and Rated

Women have always excited me. Most of my creative endeavors, somehow, manage to inch towards these exceptionally under-rated God's creation. Hence, I have a liking for film-makers who portray women in different shades. Women are just not about chiffon sarees, item numbers and completing an elaborate frame. They are no less than smoking hot volcanoes, if handled wisely.

Vishal Bhardwaj did the same in Omkara and Maqbool. Kareena, Tabu and Konkona are still remembered in their respective portrayal of feisty women. The director now comes up with 7 Khoon Maaf, which is a rare Hindi film that explores the dark side, sexual psychotism of a woman. This time he chooses Priyanka Chopra to play the role of Susanaa, a woman who married seven men and ended up murdering all of them. Thankfully, the former Miss World comes up with a sparkling performance and is well supported by the ensemble cast.

Based on the legendary Ruskin Bond's short story Susanna's Seven Husbands, the movie revolves around the unique marital life of an Anglo-Indian woman, Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes. The movie has wonderful elements of black comedy, thrill and composite storytelling. The director has succeeded in adapting a story, which otherwise is hard to digest in current times. But one should remember that a story is a story at the end of the day, and rationalism and logic have limited role to play in fiction & fables.

Vishal's triumph lies in the meticulous time-framing throughout the movie. From fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 to Mumbai Terror attacks in 2008, the director has successfully portrayed time lapse, Susanna's changing husbands and their subsequent demise. The first half is competent with Neil Nitin Mukesh's wonderful portrayal of one-legged, insecure army officer. John Abraham looks okay as the second husband, but his rock-star act is passable.

Irrfan Khan is electric as a barbaric poet & shayar. His act will definitely invite numerous gaalis from the audience, especially women. Aleksandr Dyachenko enacts the role of Sussana's 4th husband and is very effective as a Russian Spy. Naseeruddin Shah is his usual self as Sussana's sixth and oldest husband. However, it is Annu Kapoor, as an ageing, sexually volatile police officer who draws maximum attention. He is in top form and you so wish to see him more regularly on celluloid.

The film has been shot exquisitely. The camera creates required tension and dilemma, wherever required. Costumes and make-up also deserve special mention. Priyanka Chopra's gradual change in looks is quite realistic and leaves considerable impact on storytelling. Nasser's son Vivaan Shah is a fine actor and has a magnificent baritone. You just cant help but appreciate the quality of his voice, once he starts narrating the story. The leading lady oozes confidence with her body language. She becomes more menacing with every gray hair and an added wrinkle on her face.

Priyanka Chopra, certainly, has a penchant for enacting roles with varied shades. Her laughter is evil and she makes you jittery with her sobbing act. This one is definitely her best act till date, a notch above Aitraaz.

Vishal Bhardwaj is a master when it comes to adaptations. In a scene, where Sussana's servants bid last adieu to her Russian Husband, you almost feel that you are reading a novel. His detailing has finesse of a pearl and ability to handle a subject, howsoever complicated it might be, is unmatched. Mind you, 7 Khoon Maaf is a bold film. If you have a problem with abusive language, bare back, smooches and near-vulgar love making scenes, give it a miss.

The film has its share of flaws, no doubt. A bit more of clarity in narrative would have been surely welcome. The film asks you to apply brain, sometimes a bit too much. The music, barring the Darlingg Number, is quite ordinary. Also, the ending is convincing but not comprehensive. As a viewer, you longed for more. Moreover, if you dig deep, the intention behind at least 2 of the total 7 murders is quite unclear.

But, in totality, 7 Khoon Maaf is a visual treat that dances on the crest of sex and death. It is a fine depiction of a woman's unending quest for the right man, and the simultaneous degeneration of her beauty and mind. Watch it for Vishal's iconic attempt and Priyanka's bravura act.




  1. excellent review bro...totally agree with u...

  2. I rightly agree with you when you say that the film is a technical masterpiece.. everythn non-physical is perfectly potrayed from the starting buddha scupltures to the ending Jesus Dance on the Yeshu SOng.. (tht actually spooked me)
    Anu Kapoor is awesome!!
    But then again, the film fails to connect all the stories together... somewhere down the line i felt no sympathy for the main lead...
    All in all... the movie is good if u see it as an adaptation... otherwise it fails to impress!!!

  3. @ honey---I agree to you to an extent..and I am glad that u pointed out the Jesus Dance..Was indeed, spooky..:)

  4. Insightful take and some notable pickings, enjoyed reading the review and unarguably satisfied with the rating.

    The stories dribbling the layers of feminism have always been vulnerably handled (in Hindi cinema)but Vishal has done justice (read respect) everytime while imaging them. Mature writing.

    7 KHOON MAAF is a very complex narrative but all credit to its Editor, Sreekar Prasad (most respected technician), who has worked out a monotonous rhythm all through its running time of 154 minutes.

    Then there was Ranjan Palit whose camera detailed out the every possible sharpness present in protagonist's character-sketch. Post DEV D, 7 KHOON MAAF bears a revolutionary framing-philosophy (soon will be seen in works of other practitioners)

    Background Score and the entire sound mixing was a delight, enjoyed throughly.

    I hope and wish to see Vishal filming his own stories rather than adapting someone else-S (i have no complaints but just an eager wish)

  5. One of your best reviews! You've said everything. Yes! Everything about the movie in a super apt manner. I could recall everything I saw in the movie. Terrifically said!

  6. @ Ram..Yeah thats my wish too..His own story, but sadly even his next one With SRK is an adaptation..:)

  7. @ Lebanox..Thanks Fellow Reviewer..;):P

  8. You extracted all the preeminent acts from the movie. It was all about Priyanka’s evil grin and Annu’s naughty mien. :P
    P.S.: Your BOLD lines never misses the Job allotted to it! :))
    Very nicely reviewed, and I do like it! :D