Saat Khoon Maaf - Movie review
This tale of myriad murders begins in Pondicherry where Sussanna (Chopra) resides and owns a ranch of sorts
Saat Khoon Maaf
Dir: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Usha Uthup, Annu Kapoor, Vivaan Shah, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Ruskin Bond
DISCLAIMER: If you do plan to watch the film, be warned. This review contains spoilers.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT: This tale of myriad murders begins in Pondicherry where Sussanna (Chopra) resides and owns a ranch of sorts. She is the kind of femme fatale you definitely do not wanna mess with.
She's confident, beautiful and knows it, and knows how to get her way. But her taste and judgment in men is quite flawed.
She begins her killing spree with the pehla pati, her dad's choice, Major Rodrigues (Neil).
The guy a cruel cad gets exceedingly frustrated after his foot gets amputated after an injury suffered during combat and finding out that he can't father a child. He vents his frustrations on Anna and his mean streak hits her household hard. She feeds him to a man-eating panther.
At his funeral, she locks eyes with a beefed-up choir boy, Jamshed Singh Rathod aka Jimmy (John), whose cheating, lies and drug addiction lead to death by an "accidental" heroin overdose.
Next comes Wasiullah (Irrfan), a shaayar she meets in Kashmir, who can only get it up if he spanks and bites her. He is buried alive in the snow.Then, there's the Hindi-spouting Russian spy, Nikolai (Aleksandr) who she croons 'Darling' to and later feeds to her snakes.
He's followed by a cop named Keemat (Kapoor), who she marries out of necessity and later disposes of with an overdose of viagra. Why? He begins to get boring. Then there's Madhusudan Tarafdar (Naseeruddin Shah, sounding Parsi but trying his best to sound Bengali), who weds her because he's bankrupt and needs her money.
He saves her only to try to poison her but tops the faithful butler instead. She exacts revenge with a forced round of Russian roulette. For the seventh on her hit-list read on...
WHAT'S HOT: The photography is above par. The music is likeable and the score lilting. One thing that Bhardwaj does get right (for what he gets wrong, read on) is his choice of hymns at funerals and weddings. Priyanka Chopra brings a zestiness to Sussanna that kinda makes you forgive her character's assassinations at first. In the second half she gets unbearably redundant. She's awfully quick to anger and quite poor in mercy. Usha Uthup does an awesome turn as the housekeeper. Neil Nitin Mukesh as the Major shines above the rest of the hubbies. Vivaan makes a confident debut as Arun, an orphan Sussanna showers love and affection on.
WHAT'S NOT: Unfortunately, an otherwise exciting director riddles this textbook script with meandering subplots and a very weak ending. The method to the madness is this. Each husband has a hubris (fatal flaw) that works to his undoing. It's just a matter of time before it ticks Susie off. Awfully convenient, no?
WHAT'S THAT! You've probably seen this sequence in the theatrical trailer. Sussanna's talking about her seventh husband being "dead". PC, who channels her, spits out the words, 'I'm going to drink his blood' and then lolls her tongue. If you're Catholic, you'll get both her metaphors. And you're going to hate Bhardwaj for this. First, Catholics (and Christians, in general) believe that Christ died, but also that he was resurrected. Also, you kinda get it that she's becoming a nun (considered spouses of Christ). Also. What's with the dervish dance with Jesus in the dark? We get the part that she seeks redemption, so why go the extra mile in digging your own grave, Vishal?
WHAT TO DO: At two and a half hours, this cumbersome play-by-numbers tale takes its toll on you. It isn't long before you scream bloody murder.
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