The very thought of watching a Vishal Bhardwaj film excites a movie buff no end. Right from MAKDEE to KAMINEY, Bhardwaj's body of work stands out from the rest. The forward-thinking film-maker's fixation for adapting novels and plays is known to all and sundry by now. Continuing with his practice of adapting from the written form, the supremely talented storyteller now adapts Ruskin Bond's short story 'Susanna's Seven Husbands' for his new outing 7 KHOON MAAF. Known for walking the unusual path, Bhardwaj narrates an unconventional story yet again - of a woman who marries multiple times, following the untimely death of her husbands.
Till a few years ago, no one would've ever thought of making a film on a woman who marries, remarries, weds again, ties the knot yet again... in fact, she walks down the aisle multiple times. That's not all, the woman, we are told, kills each of her husbands subsequently. The theme might come as a jolt to the trditional moviegoers, since the wives on the Hindi screen are either depicted as docile and dutiful or fiercely independent and ambitious. The question is, will the orthodox Indian audience absorb a theme like this? It's blasphemous, some may opine. Imagine a murderous bride, some may rant.
There's talk that 7 KHOON MAAF is also loosely inspired from an Italian movie by the name SETTE VOLTE DONNA aka WOMAN TIMES SEVEN , helmed by Vittorio De Sica. That one depicted seven short stories with adultery as the focal point [Shirley MacLaine, the protagonist, knits these stories together]. However, the resemblance could be coincidental and not an attempt to plagiarize that film.
Now let me come to the point! 7 KHOON MAAF works in parts. A few stories - involving Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan and Annu Kapoor - are absorbing, while at least two could've been better narrated - Naseeruddin Shah and Aleksandr Dyachenko. The unfortunate part is that the uninteresting ones come in the latter half and coupled with its excessive length, the impact generated by a captivating first hour gets diluted in the process. Even the culmination doesn't sweep you off your feet.