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Feb
21

Till Death Do Us Apart

Susanna Anna-Marie Jones takes this part in her wedding wows very seriously. Divorce is not an option – murder is. Vishal Bharadwaj takes us on a giant wheel ride – every time you go up you are excited but as you start to come down there is no novelty left in the ride and the cycle repeats endlessly.

The protagonist has a code written in her brain –

loop(until movie ends)

{ marry sociopath;

bear torture;

gather loyal servants;

plot revenge;

murder }

With every husband that steps into Susanna’s life – you expect a twist in the tale, a mystery, an unexpected turn – but nothing happens. By the 3rd marriage, you are wondering how further nasty will the remaining 4 have to be to get her to murder them. It so happens that the nastiness reduces and you almost get the feeling that she is marrying cause she is enjoying murdering.

When I had first heard about Saat Khoon Maaf – I felt it would defy the traditional Bollywood mould. Plus it was based on a Ruskin Bond’s “Short Story” and was being adapted into a movie by Vishal Bharadwaj. It had the perfect ingredients and yet when the final dish was served – nor was it as delicious as you expected it and neither could you figure out what was missing in it.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge Vishal Bharadwaj fan and am of the opinion that to love his movies you have to be a on different level. As much as I liked watching Maqbool and Omkara, it was Kaminey that truly made me revere him as an outstanding film-maker. So my expectations for Saat Khoon Maaf were very high and rose even further after watching the trailer and the Darling song.

The day we went for the movie my friend gave me a horrible review and so I reset my expectation level. Thank god I did, else I would not have seen any positives in the movie.

So before I head out to list my disappointment a few positives –

Vivaan Shah – clearly lacks in the looks department but makes up with his fine narrative skills and acting ( that is hereditary). He has the meatiest role after Priyanka in the movie and does complete justice to it. Like Pratiek, I don’t see him doing conventional Bollywood movies – these two have stepped in to tread on the path of their illustrious parents and the mere thought of it is exciting.

Even though Darling is a copy of a Russian Folk song – it is still a terrific song and Usha Utthup and Rekha Bharadwaj bring it alive with their voices.

The Russian guy puts in a decent performance and pretty good Hindi diction

The pleasant presence of Konkana Sen Sharma ( Ok I’m terribly biased towards this lady)brings some relief in an otherwise boring movie.

Now for the disappointments

VB gets obsessive about keeping his movies dark and having weird characters – the dwarf jockey, the poet pervert, the obsessive major, the dark cinematography, the snakes as pets. It is a bit odd for a normal person leading a normal life to digest so many oddities at once on screen. VB known for keeping it real, goes overboard and makes everything look so unnatural. He manages the exact opposite of Kaminey in Saat Khoon Maaf.

We are supposed to learn from our mistakes but Susanna refuses to. After 3 horrible experiences she still decides to take the plunge another 3 times. Not a single story develops – the characters are half-cooked and reasons for Susanna marrying them not convincing enough. VB decided it was going to be a 150 minute movie and every guy needed his 20 minute time.

Of the husbands, Naseeruddin Shah has no role, Anu Kapoor is tolerable, Irfan is wasted, John Abraham cannot act and worse cannot even pull of a rocker act, Neil Nitin Mukesh tries too hard and so the only guy you can tolerate is that Russian fellow whose name I cannot recollect.

I thought Priyanka had reformed after Kaminey and here was her chance to get into the hall-of-fame, and be known as one of India’s finest actress. I kept feeling Kaminey was a fluke and she proved me right. Any other actress in her place, Konkana, Rani, Vidya even Kajol would’ve grabbed the opportunity and turned it into gold – Priyanka manages to hit an all time low – in her expressions, in her dialogue delivery, in her looks and messes it up;  what could’ve been a good movie becomes a tolerable watch.

My final verdict – if you are a Vishal Bhardwaj fan go watch but with zero expectations. I enjoyed it in parts especially where Vivaan was around. If you ask me if I understood the final confession of seven sins – forgive my poor intellect but I did not – if anyone else understood the meaning please do let me know:-)

At the end of it all, my mind must be beginning to hate me  – It was thoroughly confused after watching Dhobi Ghat; while it was on its road to recovery I halted the process by watching Saat Khoon Maaf. I can almost hear it say to me – “Thank your stars the mind does not take wedding wows – else death do us apart would definitely apply”

6 comments

  1. Himali says:

    I would say watch Se7en 🙂

    1. Minal says:

      Watched it longtime back – no comparison is there :)))

  2. Mitali says:

    Hey Mina… I actually liked Neil nit in mukesh… He was one of the few characters I would have killed myself if priyanka hadn’t done the honor of doing so… I agree John abraham a hits a new low every time he tries to act.. He shod stick to movies like doom which require no brains….according to me the seventh murder was killing sussana herself…I did actually enjoy the movie in some sadistic manner. But then like sau says I don’t have much choice when I comes to movies….

    1. Minal says:

      Interesting inference Mitu – never thought of that! I’m refraining from dwelling over the movie too much:-)
      Though I did love the last dialogue she says “I’m going to drink his bloooddddd” :-)Twisted you bet:-)

  3. Poonam says:

    haha. You couldn’t resist that code could you? Whenever Vivvan came on screen, starting from first shot of him – people said Shah Rukh Khan! Somehow he reminded people of that.

    John Abraham was an ass. Neil, in hindsight, looks like a funny stooge. I felt bad for Russian. Maybe he was telling truth, he died vowing everlasting love. Anu Kapur marriage-death scene was funny.

    And I could give Priyanka a Golden Globe for this one (for lack of any prestigious Indian award to cite here.) 😀

    Anyway, good, detailed analysis.

    1. Minal says:

      Poonam: Yeah the dead comp engg in me woke up :))) now that you mention about Vivaan resembling SRK – quite true but I liked him:))
      See this is why I like VB movies people like contrasting things in it :)))
      As I mentioned on twitter this movie will make u for an excellent debate 🙂

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