Saat Khoon Maaf is an intensely dark, daring film that doesn’t fall in the entertainment category. As everybody knows it is based on Rsukin Bond’s Susanna’s Seven Husbands. It is a film which needs to think upon when the director opens each of the protagonist’s layers until her soul is laid bare for us to criticize, weep or look down upon. A soul, even if tortured, yearns for love with an incredible zeal. She tries to stand after every fall but life only fails her mission. Yet, she doesn’t accept defeat until she is an old woman with a yet-unaccomplished dream.
The movie opens with a quite dramatic, yet thrilling scene, which keeps you, intrigued enough to expect more from this dark drama. Susanna, the protagonist is a beautiful Anglo-Indian woman who is in search of love and only love. For that purpose, she lives. Ever in search of the elusive love, she goes from husband to husband madly hoping to get a glimpse of the powerful feeling she so desires. In her quest for love, Susanna goes through every marriage with hope but wronged by fate, becomes a murderer and kills men who don’t give her love the way she wants it. But you don’t hate her, Bharadwaj scores here by introducing to us such a serial-killer who you can’t help but pity.
Susanna’s first husband Edwin Rodriques is the typical Indian husband-jealous, suspicious, possessive and violent. Because of his own limitations, he suspects his beautiful wife’s faithfulness. Neil Nitin Mukesh plays his part to perfection. Then we have this striving musician who has a thing for drugs and female fans. And the list goes on. But the most unsettling husband of the lot is the sadomasochistic Kashmiri poet-Wasiullah Khan. When you watch him on screen, it makes you a tad bit uncomfortable and you throw a silent prayer to all those wives with such husbands. The credit goes to Irrfan Khan’s gripping action.
Priyanka Chopra who plays the femme fatale in this movie is the life of the movie. The actress carries the movie on her shoulders which such elan that it seems like the others are merely there. Narration by Arun (Vivaan Shah) is a nice touch. This adds depth to his character and also to the movie. His adulation for this older woman, though a bit different, is heart-breaking.
For some, the killing part is not clear. Why does she murder them if a simple divorce can do? She can, but she is clearing the path for future women. Bharadwaj deals with the grief and dark theme of the movie extremely well. He is class apart! The movie has excellent music and background score. The acoustic version of O mama and Yeshu are wonderfully crafted. However, the editing and character development still leaves an unsatisfactory feeling. If you don’t consider all the technicalities and loopholes in movie, all it boils down to is when a woman loves, she loves. With hope and without guile. With devotion and without reason.
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