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A look at why SAAT KHOON MAAF failed *SPOILER*

IHeartDeepika. IF-Sizzlerz
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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:15pm | IP Logged

A look at why SAAT KHOON MAAF failed

By: Aseem Chhabra, Bangalore Mirror
 
How relevant or plausible is a story about a serial bride, who murders her six husbands, in our times.
 
Vishal Bhardwaj is a very talented man. I will continue to maintain that despite what I am going to write here. He is also a very nice and an earnest man.  I can safely judge that despite the fact that I have met him only a few times, including just this past week at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.

So it is very disappointing to see a talented and a good man fail.  I saw his 7 Khoon Maaf at the Berlinale. A lot of hard work went into making the film. But I could not believe what was playing before me on the screen - a long, tiresome narrative with no energy and no wow factor.  Not exactly what I had started to expect from the auteur Bhardwaj -- director of very mature adult films, Maqbool, Omkara, Kaminey, as well as his sweet children's projects Makdee and The Blue Umbrella.

I have not read the source for the film-Ruskin Bond's story- but it is clear that 7 Khoon fails because of its script. In a rush to give an account of a woman who marries six or seven times, the film jumps from one narrative thread (read one man) to another in quick succession. It still takes two and half hours for the film to unfold - and that seems way too long.

Despite the length, how Susanna meets her men and more important how she falls in love with them is often ignored or just glanced over.  The entire film is a flashback narrated by Arun (Vivaan Shah), but the audience needs to know more.
There is always space for black comedy. But how relevant or plausible is a story about a serial bride in our times?  It is very odd to watch a film where a woman murders her six husbands, with the assistance of her four accomplices and each time manages to re-marry immediately thereafter. The men are rotten, abusive characters, but she seems to have no guilt, no moral center that would speak to her and remind her that these life patterns are very wrong. 

The problem with the script gets compounded by the fact that Bhardwaj chose Priyanka Chopra to play the lead.  Chopra is a very limited actress although she did shine when

Bhardwaj guided her in Kaminey.  Bhardwaj has a track record of making stars shed their Bollywoodism and to immerse themselves into their characters. He got Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor to give their career-best performances in Omkara.

In Kaminey, Chopra had a relatively small role. In 7 Khoon Susanna's character is too complex for Chopra. I did not care for Chopra's Susanna from the beginning and that was a problem when she had five or six more husbands to kill.

On Thursday, Bhardwaj addressed a press conference in Berlin. He mentioned that while working on the 7 Khoon script, he, quite by accident, learned that nuns are "married" to Jesus Christ.  This knowledge helped him work out the film's ending. My sense is that the world of Indian Catholics or Christianity in general is a territory that is somewhat alien to Bhardwaj.  And so he uses the standard Bollywood approach to represent Susanna's Catholic existence.  A lot of Susanna's daily life, as well as her costumes, home and production design have a strong Bollywood tone to it.  I felt I was back in the unreal, over-the-top world Sanjay Leela Bhansali created in Black.

Even the most talented creative people can have limits. Martin Scorsese excels in stories that explore the world of mafia,
with dark menacing characters.  But with Kundun he stepped out of his comfort level to show the quieter world of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama.  Kundun was an earnest film with a reverential tone, but it lacked a central drama, seemed quite boring and ended abruptly.

So my advice to Bhardwaj - stick to the basics and the worlds you are familiar with.  You can still surprise us with many more stories you will find in those worlds.


Edited by IHeartDeepika - 21 February 2011 at 8:17pm

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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:22pm | IP Logged
Vishal B is quite overrated as a director!!

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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:24pm | IP Logged
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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:27pm | IP Logged
still have not seen it. this is first bad reivew i read i think. for the ppl who have seen it, is it priyanka's best performance till date?

and on a side note when the author says that real is it in todays time for a woman to kill 7 husbands LOL it is very real in todays time. ppl are CRAZY. Here in NY a guy killed his wife over cable.
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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:33pm | IP Logged
Well... He should just do what he does best... Movies set in the heartland of the interiors of India like Omkara and Ishqiya
 
Just realised... Movies set in the heartland have worked well off late like Rajneeti and Dabangg..

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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 8:34pm | IP Logged
Somehow I didnt feel a connection to Suzanna in the movie. As an audience I have to be tied to the main protaganist in some way and it just wasnt there. Before I could digest one thing the movie had skipped to the next husband. It was all so disjointed. PC was ok  but she just couldnt convery the complexity that Suzanna had. As I have said before it was a really tough role to play and I think by the present BW standards she did very well. But an accomplished actress would have elevated this role to something else.I mean  if I could compare it to say Black Swan - Natalie Portman brought that something extra to her role  - that was missing here.

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Posted: 21 February 2011 at 9:45pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by qwww

Somehow I didnt feel a connection to Suzanna in the movie. As an audience I have to be tied to the main protaganist in some way and it just wasnt there. Before I could digest one thing the movie had skipped to the next husband. It was all so disjointed. PC was ok  but she just couldnt convery the complexity that Suzanna had. As I have said before it was a really tough role to play and I think by the present BW standards she did very well. But an accomplished actress would have elevated this role to something else.I mean  if I could compare it to say Black Swan - Natalie Portman brought that something extra to her role  - that was missing here.

OMG!!! I was gonna say the same exact thing you did about connecting with Suzanna....and I was thinking Natalie Portman too....that's just too many coincidences!!! We must be soul sisters!LOL

The one thing I loved in this movie is the fact that female lead holds her own against so many male leads....the role was def meaty, but I think PC didn't dig far enough into the character! I guess maybe they should have cut a few husbands out so the climax could have been more powerful....there was a certain "rushed" feeling about the development of the plot line and shift in mood! All in all....I agree in BW standards it's not bad at all....def breaking the mold, but in general if I were to compare the overall product to films I've been....it's nothing spectacular!


Edited by sweet coco - 21 February 2011 at 9:45pm

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