When you know pretty much the whole plot of a movie before it even starts, there’s always a chance it could become a little tedious as it plays out, even more so when the film is made up off 6 similar, chapters. The only real twist in this film comes in the seventh segment, by which point I’m sure a lot of people would no longer care. But not me, I cared.
Like in Priyanka Chopra’s own ‘What’s Your Raashee?’ with its 12 parts, the segments start feeling a little repetitive. The difference is Ashutosh Gowariker didn’t do anything about it, letting it all play out in its own sweet time, whereas Vishal Bhardwaj tries. By husband number 5, the wedding and funeral happen all in one shot. Though odd, it saves time, avoids boring less patient audiences, and is also a good example of how 7 Khoon Maaf really is a dark twisted comedy.
Priyanka Chopra is of course excellent. It’s a brave move for a Bollywood actress to do a movie where majority of the time she looks old. Talking of which, the ageing make-up wasn’t exactly consistent. Her skin tone varies throughout the film, and wrinkles and blemishes appear and disappear. Thankfully, her performance is good enough to look past it.
Apart from PC, the film completely belongs to Vivaan Shah. The film is narrated by Shah’s character, Arun, but even if you weren’t constantly reminded of his presence by the voice over, he would still be the man in Susanna’s life you remember the most. He does extremely well, considering it’s his first film, and he has to match Priyanka’s screen presence.
The husbands come and go as you expect them to, and each of them is good in their parts, and each storyline keeps you at least somewhat intrigued. Neil Nitin Mukesh, Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah were all good. John Abraham was alright, as he always is. The role didn’t really require much of him in terms of his acting abilities. Annu Kapoor and Aleksandr Dyachenko were the two that stood out, story wise, and performance-wise. Dyachenko who plays the Russian husband, Nicolai Vronsky, is very good compared to other foreign actors that we get in Bollywood movies. It wasn’t cringeworthy when he tries to speak Hindi. In fact it is almost believable that Susannah falls for him.
The problem with 7KM is that even with seven husbands, the story still lacks something. Had there been one husband with whom she had a proper love story, a husband that she truly loved, who then wronged her in whatever way, it all may have pieced together a little better. It should have been her first husband, but there’s a slight feeling that John Abraham’s character was meant to be that, which could have worked, but there is very little focus on them as a couple, and more on Jimmy the rockstar. The way the story is, it is more that she was just unlucky with men, and she also happened to have a murderous streak.
7 Khoon Maaf is a good film, and it has the Vishal Bhardwaj touch to it, but it’s not amazing like a VB film should be, and it doesn’t quite match his last, Kaminey. Priyanka Chopra’s performance saves the film, and if your sense of humour leans towards the dark side, the comedy could also work for you.