7 KHOON MAAF
There are seven colors in a rainbow, seven days in a week, the whole Christian church is symbolized in the Book of Revelation by seven candlesticks, and the perfect power of the Lamb is denoted by seven horns. On this basis, can seven be called an auspicious number and can we expect Vishal Bharadwaj’s seventh directorial venture, 7 KHOON MAAF (after Makdee, Maqbool, The Blue Umbrella, Omkara, Blood Brothers and Kaminey) to be perfect as well? After watching his latest movie, will your conscience truly allow the perpetrator of the seventh Khoon (Murder?) to go scot-free?
Take a quaint Ruskin Bond short story (Sussanah’s seven husbands); pepper it up with spice, sex and dark comedy and stretch it to a 4000 metre long screenplay; choose a bevy of great actors (like Naseeruddin Shah, Annu Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Neil Nitin Mukesh); also include in the star cast one poor actor like John Abraham, who just does not act; get some brilliant debutants like Vivan (Naseeruddin Shah’s son); get an actress like Priyanka Chopra who doesn’t flinch to bare and smooch and who dares to portray a negative role which also requires her to age from a twenty something to sixty plus; and get someone like Vishal Bharadwaj to direct this tale and you will feel that you will pardon, nay, enjoy the pardoning of not one killing, but several more of this genre!
If this review sounds dark and spooky, well this movie, certified for adult viewing only, is not likely to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you tend to get put off by the underlying theme, which gets explicitly stated in the movie (All wives, at some point of time or other, feel like bumping off their husbands!), then also this movie is not for you. But if you like a rather different type of theme, brilliantly executed (notwithstanding the fact that some parts of the story look rather far-fetched), enjoy dark thrillers, and like the proverbial twist in the tale, then this movie will not disappoint you.
And if you have made up your mind to like this effort, then the music and the delightful Darling song (based on a Russian folk song) will add to the enjoyment. Priyanka does an admirable job and so does the rest of the cast (including the Russian actor, who plays one of the unfortunate husbands) and it is here that John Abraham’s performance stands out in contrast to the other performances. And don’t forget to spot Ruskin Bond himself in a cameo role towards the end! Even the computer generated panther looks real enough to send a chill up one’s spine!
At places, the movie tends to stretch; one feels that the movie could have been more tautly made. Also, perhaps, a little more could have been done to build the basis for Priyanka’s quirky behavior; in the absence of that, we seem to want her to do her job quickly and move onto her next. But Vishal redeems much of this by the brilliant ending and one comes out of the hall saying: SAATWA KHOON MAAF! (The seventh killing is pardoned)
RATING: 3 out of 5