Saturday, February 19, 2011

7 Khoon Maaf

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Anu Kapoor, Naseerudin Shah, Vivaan Shah.
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

It's once in a year that typical Indian audience get disappointed when they don't see any dance number or melodramatic Bollywood-ish going on the screen where credits roll to say "Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj". I, and almost all critics, love this general disappointment of the audience. Vishal Bhardwaj is among the rare film-makers who actually "knows" what cinema is! (The just other is Anurag Kashyap). Bhardwaj, who is famous for his best adaptions of Shakespeare, has brought us Ruskin Bond on the screen this time. 

Based on "Sussana's Seven Husbands", this film portrays the lead woman Priyanka Chopra, who is desperate for love, but is chosen by wrong persons every time and she ends up killing each of them. The serial murders begins with a "boring, possessive, insecure, shakki" Major Edwin Rodrigues (played by Neil Nitin). These characteristics, I guess, may irk any typical Indian woman but no one kills their husband. She is helped by a butler, a maid (Usha Uthup), and a mute jockey (Shashi Malviya) for every assassination. The mute jockey Gunga had adopted a child Arun Kumar (Vivaan Shah), who also is the protagonist of the story telling, prays Sussana Sahib for her kindness on him and has a secret love for her. Every time when Sussana meets her new husband at some funeral or investigation or some other way, Arun pines up and links her every marriage (or criminal) life as episodes of stories to be told - be it with a drug addict rockstar Jimmy (John), a sadist poet "Musafir" (Irrfan), a double timing Russian spy Vronsky (Aleksandr), a lust driven Inspector Keemat (Anu) or a bankrupt pharmacist Dr. Tarafdar (Naseerudin).

The first three murders that end up in the first half hardly puts up any question or thought in your mind on which you could engross yourself. But it ends up with 2 rock numbers and a love ballad picturised in Kashmir, and these soundtracks happen to occur within minutes in an off-putting way. Interval. "4 more to go."

Within the last half, the scenes, sequences and the incidences links to give some suspense and offers you a chilled thrill. Every time, when the protagonist tries to sum it up, he conveys an overview with some catchy dialogues rather than the depth needed. However, there happen many scenes, that captivates and asks you to think beyond the story telling. Priyanka's character tries to reflect herself in a way that could find her peace while summing up all the sins to her thought.

The thrilling joy is not last longing, but the performances and the thought about the 7th Khoon are! The story-telling and and it's parallel execution had a certain niche to place your mind and patience in it. Performances, particularly, Vivaan Shah, Anu Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and of course, Priyanka shines out. Smartly used dated incidents like Babri Masjid demolition, IC 814 hijack and terror attack at The Taj gave the story a surrealistic feel. The most neglected soundtrack of the album- "Yeshu" was the only tool to reflect Priyanka's dark character. Background score, hugely made up of the music album which is again composed by the Mastermind Bhardwaj, was brilliant. (Missed the song "Tere Liye" in the film). Art direction is what places the depth. Camera, lights, execution, dialogues and direction were trademark VB. He never misuses or insult any technicalities while constructing a cinema, unlike other directors, and this makes him a part of an odd Bollywood. 

This neat and dark film, after not been Vishal's first adaptation, could be his oddly made piece of art but it deserves a watch, yet, to please you with what it has!

Rating: * * *

No comments: