7 khoon maaf - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

This movie is worth watching just for Priyanka Chopra's performance. The rest of the lead cast is only a bonus. Now how I wish, there was a little bit of a surprise in the narration or at least I understood even half of why the characters behaved the way they did. Now if the only explanation is weird attracts weird and together they all get weirder, either I didn't get the film or it is one zany experience that didn't go down all that well with me. And yet I wouldn't have wanted to miss watching this one.

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Wogma Review

I'm still digesting 7 Khoon Maaf. Bit-by-bit it’s sinking in. Though I cannot say that I like it any better or worse, but the more I think about it, I certainly understand it that bit more. I'm sure my grasp of the film will only improve with a second or even third viewing. But, I don't think I can make myself watch it again for it's a tedious watch. The narrative is way too plain and predictable to hold my interest.

This is largely made-up for by enigmatic Susanna, who is played out, breathtakingly by Priyanka Chopra. One of the main thoughts and images the film leaves behind is, the mystery that Susanna is. She scares you, but at the same time, she doesn't let you forget that your heart went out for her warmth, just an hour ago. You wanted to protect her, you still want to figure her out, you desperately look for her motivations that justify her whacky behavior - just so that you can continue liking her. Only to be greeted by a development that is crazier than anything you've seen thus far.

The problem though is that you know how each of the episodes, each of her marriages is going to end. Of course, 7 Khoon Maaf is not meant to be a thriller. But, nothing is gripping about how or why the husband dies. And after the second one, the reason for marrying itself is dissatisfying. You begin to doubt if she did it just so that she could enjoy the how it would end. shudder Anyway, one of the culprits could also be the straightforward, linear narration. Also, way too often, the build-up falls flat.

Now, given Vishal Bharadwaj's command over adapting novels to films, I'll assume that the story itself didn't quite work for me. Reading Ruskin Bond's Susanna's Seven Husbands is on my to-do list now, just for a confirmation. It just wasn't detailed enough.

For example, the side characters (Maggie, Khan, and Gunga) seem out-of-sync with the plot but their quirkiness has to be a part of the story. Not to mention that the performances (Usha Utthup, and two male leads (names, anyone?)) are extremely distracting too. I understand that Susanna and each of her husbands are eccentric too and thus quirky side-characters can find a home in their midst. But, the lack of rationale behind the three side-kicks' enthusiastic loyalty is confusing, if not disturbing.

Fortunately, the rest of the performances are perfect. Also, there are some very powerful sequences. The manner in which Musafir's (Irrfan Khan's) idiosyncrasy is shot and executed, sticks way past the two and a half hours spent watching the film. The nervous laughter in the theater is a giveaway that Hindi film audience is not comfortable watching sexuality on screen. Not that our filmmakers have been too good sexual scenes either. And both filmmakers and the audience know the others' shortcoming. With this background, to not only show, but to also explicitly explain Musafir's need is as stunning as it is brave. And once you have overcome the shock, you are completely pulled into that chapter of the Susanna's life.

Knowing for a fact that Vishal Bharadwaj films have something going on beyond the superficial, I tried to dig deeper. There's of course, the riddle that Susanna is and you can identify with her deterioration as a person. But save the fleeting references to the socio-political events and the climax, nothing looked like it had a larger purpose. Besides serving as a timeline, the events mentioned in the film might indicate our apathy to the society we live in. Which is why maybe Arun's wife (Konkona Sen Sharma) is hardly moved by Susanna's acts. To her it is just a fun story, till she gets affected by it personally. The climax and what it implies is sophisticated but is by no means a breath-stopper. Our Susanna has come of age but how she got there was too hard to comprehend.

If you haven't figured it out yet, 7 Khoon Maaf is one of those films that I didn't enjoy watching at all, but it still leaves a good aftertaste. A film that I didn't like watching, but I liked. Yep, I'm still figuring it out. All I know right now, is this - it is heavy, weird and dark; as a breather it has awesome performances; AND it is a very difficult film to recommend.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

It's an all out adult film. To be kept out of children's reach

  • Violence: Lots, it's titled 7 khoon maaf after all! There's gruesome violence too.
  • Language: A few cuss words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few sexually explicit scenes and one violent one too.
  • Concept: That of finding true love and killing it if its untrue.
  • General Look and Feel: Dark and grim. Not fun at all.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 5
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 4
  • Screenplay: 3.5
  • Music Director: 4
  • Lyrics: 4

7 khoon maaf - Movie Details

7 khoon maaf - Trailer

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Comments (11)

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Rahul:

Can't wait for this one, just can't.

Resume Services:

Awesome Review... Thanks for this.. I am going to watch this movie tomorrow. I was waiting for this movie or ling time.

Deboshree:

I don't know if I should watch this movie or not. Reading your review makes me want to have a shot at it but I find my hopes building and I don't want to spoil my weekend in case it turns out plain bad. I am confused.

Nevertheless, fabulous review!

Jitaditya:

What do you think of the scenes in the end credits?...People stopped at teh stairs and watched those scenes for a last twist that never came...

sudhan from callezee:

I was waiting for this movie or long time
- but somehow the promos gives a surreal feeling

Bollywood Gossip:

I generally agree with the review. I found it bland in general.I think my expectation was too high. I think Indian cinema is getting there but not there yet when you get to see what you expect to see and then even get more out of it. For some reason felt Priyanka dint fit the character too well.Bollywood Gossip

Swetha Ramakrishnan:

7 Khoon Maaf- A Justification

http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/2011/02/7-khoon-maaf-justification.html

meetu:

@Rema I did remember your comment while watching the film. And 7 khoon maaf does have that kind of a feel but not overwhelmingly so, there is other stuff happening, so its not the focus

@Resume Services Thanks!

@Deboshree Thanks! Did you finally watch it?

@Jitaditya I liked one sentence that Arun says in the end credits, else they were alright. They didn't bother me nor did they leave a mark.

@Bollywood gossip really? you didn't think Priyanka fit the role? I absolutely loved her in it and the fact that they didn't glamorize her looks-wise.

@Shruti loved your take on the film!

@Swetha good one! :)

@Savita it's open to interpretation

meetu:

@G10 and every once in 100 reviews you come across a comment that makes it all worth it. :) thanks you so much for your lovely, detailed comment. Overwhelmed.

>>> you wrote: Instead of the power that reviewers usually bestow upon themselves to become the demigods, who can decide the destiny of a film with the pungency of their words, your review expresses struggle, the struggle to make sense of the film. If nothing else, it brings you closer to the people you are writing for, who perhaps are stuck in the dilemma themselves.

I could write on and on about how I perceive my role as a reviewer. But, I'll stick to - I am a part of the audience, I go there to like a movie and try my best to do that. Dissing a movie - anyone can do :)

Thank you, once again!

@khush yep! i have two interpretations i'm struggling with too :)

Aditi:

Not good..dosnt linger on. was expecting better.
VB's movies demand superb actors. He should stop using the stars like Priyana, John Abraham who doesnt live up to the performance expected. I wish Tabu was there.
http://instantreaction-aditi.blogspot.com/

meetu:

@G-10 :)

@Makarand oh well, to each his own - even indecisiveness :)

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