Vishal Bhardwaj has for sure made a mark in the mind of the average movie goer with his unique cinematic brilliance. His works are all pieces of art and he is in a way a national treasure. The latest offering from his coveted stable is a screen adaptation of Ruskin Bond’s book, Sussana’s seven husbands. The film turns out to be another unputdownable offering.
Ruskin Bond, a Briton and an indophile has won our hearts with his unique perspective and storytelling ability but all that remains of him in my mind is faint memory of the telling effect his stories used to have when I was a child. Adapting a book from almost half a century ago to fit to contemporary times will inevitably call for some creative liberties to avoid becoming an anachronism.
7 Khoon Maaf, as promos clearly reveal, is a story about a woman and her seven husbands and how she gets rid of them. The levity in the story ends just there- in the title. The film is a portrayal of the excesses a woman, Sussana, faces from her several husbands in her adult life- a period spanning almost three decades. The film is in more ways than one is Priyanka Chopra’s apotheosis as an actor. She does live up to her credo and delivers a power packed performance. The story is dark predominantly and unhurried at places, which often gets disconcerting and towards the end one almost wishes it ended sooner as it merely becomes a case of proving a point. It wouldn’t have made a difference if it were ‘4 Khoon Maaf’. This is essentially the film’s undoing, wherein the end becomes inconsequential.
The film is a technical masterpiece. The director gets the historical facts and feel of the period bang on. The characters are several and the director does complete justice to all of them. It is sheer delight to watch the Hunky John turn into a famished drug junkie. The paradox in the personalities of Irrfan khan and Nassuridin Shah send a chuckle or two before they turn painful. Niel Nitin Mukesh as Army officer does well and the polyglot Russian spy is cast perfectly.
In essence, the film is a display of cinematic brilliance that Indian directors are capable of. The film while perfect on technical counts does get tedious and hence remains a work of art. And no one says art is always entertaining. The film shall not leave my memory for a long time and shall set new bench marks in technical departments of cinema making. Worth a watch for its production qualities.