7 khoof maaf – vishal bharadwaj’s latest is a movie based on the novel Susana’s seven husbands a novel by Ruskin bond. The movie sees Bharadwaj reteaming with his Kaminey Lead actress Priyanka who plays the titular role of Susana.
Bharadwaj’s previous work includes Makadi a critically acclaimed children’s movie a genre almost unknown in india, Maqbool a reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Omkara a Othello reinterpretation and the hugely successful Kaminey. So understandably the expectations from 7 Khoon Maaf were extremely high, Sitting in a half empty theatre on a Saturday night of the first week of the movie’s release is not necessarily a good sign in these dire economic times. But regardless of the box office outcome of the movie the director deserves kudos for introducing cinema noir .
The husbands played by neil nitin mukesh, an axle-rose inspired John Abraham , A S&M obsessed Irrfan khan, a hindi-speaking-bollywood-crazy Russian spy, a lecherous annu kapoor and the magic mushroom brewing naseerudding shah all pitch in super cameo appearances. Special mention to John Abraham for his almost Christian bale’s machinist inspired emaciated look as a recovering drug addict.
Susana is not alone in her killing spree she is ably assisted by an almost unrecognizable Usha Utthap as Maggie aunty, the butler khan saab and the jockey goonga. New comer Vivaan shah who plays Arun Kumar who adopted by Susana as child harbors a crush on her for all his life and return to do her one last favour is a revelation.
But the movie belongs to Priyanka Chopra who proves her mettle as an actress with this movie. She transitions from a grieving daughter to a battered woman with such ease that it is unnerving . Her scenes with Naseeruddin shah and one with the Russian are simply acting gold. The madness the malice the mirth that drips from her eyes as she circles her prey like the black mamba is unnerving and a little scary as well as a little saddening to see.
Bharadwaj does a brilliant job of keeping the pacing sharp and tight considering you have 6 weddings to go through and albeit 6 murders! I will still maintain that bharadwaj is way too smart for the Indian audiences and he sometimes has to spell out his next(or last ) move so that people would follow – case in point the little blue pill in annu kapoor’s hands does need spelling out but he had to.. and the side effects of taking the little blue pill are also spelled out lest the plot stalls. This I say because the director leaves an unspoken analogy which I am sure a lot of people will miss… so… the scene where Arun returns from St Petersburg he sees a spider on the desk – a Black Mamba spider – a deadly species in which he female spider kills the male spider after mating… this black mamba is crushed by arun using a book he bought as a gift. See really clever right?
This is not a movie that you “go and watch after a week of hectic work to sit back and relax without applying your mind” (not my choice of words). This is a movie that challenges your intelligence and rewards you if you apply yourself. Plus the ending leaves you wondering what exactly happened.
Go see this movie because this may very well be a benchmark for what female performance in Indian movies should be compared against. The physical transformations that Priyanka goes through over the years is sheer commitment to the art. Bravo Priyanka Bravo!
This article is a reproduction from my facebook account.