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7 Khoon Maaf review: Dark, delicious, daring!

7 Khoon Maaf review: Dark, delicious, daring!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 18 February 2011

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Movie Title

7 Khoon Maaf

Director

Vishal Bhardwaj

Star Cast

Priyanka Chopra,John Abraham,Neil Nitin Mukesh

The film rests on Susannah's character. And it is to Bhardwaj's credit for creating a character so pure of heart, and yet so wicked.

At no point does writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj permit the viewer to blame Susannah (Priyanka Chopra) for any of her crimes; the viewer is to remain consistently sympathetic to her. And the film is so luscious for this reason: the way Bhardwaj makes us root for this semi-villain of a heroine.

It won't be fair to give away much of the story. The film is an adaptation of Ruskin Bond's short story Susannah's Seven Husbands, and has the writer play an interesting cameo.

Special: All about 7 Khoon Maaf | Images: Priyanka Chopra's seven faces!

7 Khoon Maaf is told by a character (Vivaan Shah) who calls Susannah 'Saheb'. He worked in her home as a servant, tortured by his uncle but 'Saheb' made sure he went to school. Since then he developed a fierce loyalty and love for her.

He tells us of Shauhar No. 1: a much-respected, handicapped lieutenant (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who "had all the qualities of most Indian husbands - he was boring, possessive and mahaa-shaki."

Then follow other husbands - a sweet choir singer, a charming Russian who woos her with broken Hindi, a doctor and so on. As love disappoints her each time, her husbands die under mysterious circumstances. Just before the interval you have a Quentin Tarantino-style line that says 'Four More to Go'.

As if the story wasn't amusing enough (in a Tales from the Crypt fashion), the dialogue is bursting with wit. Here's a gem, where a character says - 'Jaldi jaldi shaadi karo, aur aaram aaram se pachtao.' The dig on a famous music company is just delicious. The dialogue has a sprinkling of English, and has even the house help use swear words like f***.

The film is shot beautifully and you drown in the visual extravaganza - from the Darrling song to the orchestrated murders. The music (Vishal Bhardwaj, lyrics by Gulzar) is super-fun.

Images: Priyanka Chopra chats with fans on films, fun and marriage! | 7 Khoon Maaf sneak peek

The time lapse between the various husbands is told through political goings-on in the country: we see the government celebrating successful nuclear tests, the Babri Masjid demolition, and the Taj Mahal hotel terrorist attacks - all against Susanna's newest love story.

Bhardwaj has complete control of his narrative - he keeps the film pacy, yet unhurried. At no point does the storytelling feel the pressure of having to narrate seven incidents within a framework; and never does a scene go indulgently overboard.

Priyanka Chopra gives her career-best performance - she moulds Susannah into a character that evokes our emotions, not our rage. Chopra makes this character fun, flirtatious, kind, and impious at the same time.

Vivaan Shah makes a confident debut as the struck teenager seeing Susannah's life unfold from the sidelines. All the actors prove their mettle and make a mark as Susannah's husbands.

7 Khoon Maaf gets macabre at several times, and might prove a difficult watch for some. But for others sporting enough to sample a new cinematic experience, there are several delights.

Like the chilling scene where the murderers are playing the piano and dancing around their victim before finishing him off.

I won't name the murderer and the victim, but it's such a delightful portion full of humour of the darkest, despicable sort. The film gives you a high, really!

Rating: 3.5 stars

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