Vishal Bhardwaj does it again. The maverick filmmaker who has some of the most acclaimed movies to his name has once again woven magic with his latest blockbuster Saat Khoon Maaf. This time round the director shifts from his favourite Shakespeare (Omkara and Maqbool were based on Othello and Macbeth respectively) to India’s veteran story teller Ruskin Bond. Based on a seven-page story called ‘Susana’s Seven Husbands’ Saat Khoon Maaf presents Priyanka Chopra in a never before character.
Susanna (Priyanka Chopra) is a depressed woman. All she wants is love. But all she ends up with is weirdness, wickedness and bestiality in the form of her sundry husbands. Naturally then, there is only one option left for her to end her bitter ordeal. The very first shot, which explodes with a grimacing Priyanka pulling the trigger, the director draws you into this tale of passion and crime. All the death play takes place in semi-darkness: an almost outward pouring of an evil soul.
Vishal sticks to his style in almost all the frames. The entire film unfolds in shadows and silhoutes and sets the tone of the film. If you aren`t looking for good old entertainment here, you are going to love this gripping story of crime and punishment which lays bare the innermost recesses of a tortured soul. Vishal never once slips and lets go of his hold on this intense study of grief and grime.
Priyanka may be a murderer, but is she evil? Like all good and realistic crime and passion plays, this one too showcases the protagonist as a woman with a purpose. She may have used poisonous snakes and mushrooms and loaded guns to do away with her husbands, but you don`t really blame her.
Because Susanna carries the pain of every woman wronged: either by a two-timing husband, a wife-beating husband, a junkie husband, a murderous husband, a dictatorial husband, a sadistic husband, a husband who treats his wife as a sex object. And she simply does what she does to end her own anguish.
Priyanka Chopra gives a stellar performance. She essays the troubled Susanna with élan and almost manages to gain sympathy from the viewers each time she kills one of her husbands. You just can’t help but feel bad for her. Amongst her husbands, it is Neil Nitin Mukesh who excels as the brutes. The music score (Gulzar and Vishal) is riveting too and boasts of the mesmerizing Darrrling number, amongst other tuneful songs.
A big thumbs up to Priyanka Chopra for taking the risk to portray such a dark character who is almost unapologetic about killing her husbands. The film has to be one of the biggest gamble that Priyanka played which has surely paid off!
Rating: 4 cheers for this one!