Seven Murders Forgiven: 7 Khoon Maaf

Seven Murders Forgiven: 7 Khoon Maaf

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: April 25th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 142 minutes

Original language: Hindi with English subtitles

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Annu Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Vivaan Shah, Usha Uthup, Konkona Sen Sharma

“It is great suffering to be always fearful.” – Catherine de Medici

Narrated by a young forensic doctor, Arun (Vivaan Shah), to his wife (Konkona Sen Sharma), 7 Khoon Maaf tells the story of Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (Priyanka Chopra), a woman who just can’t seem to find a good man. During the course of her life, she ends up marrying six different men and ends up killing them all for six different reasons.

First there’s the dashing Edwin Rodriques (Neil Nitin Mukesh), an Army Major. He loses his leg and then becomes paranoid that such a beautiful woman like Susanna can’t really love him. As a result, he grows possessive and controlling and pays with his life. Susanna then meets Jamshed Singh Rathod (John Abraham), a singer. They marry, but as his fame multiplies, so too does his drug addiction and vanity. He too loses his life.

7 Khoon Maaf

Her third husband couldn’t be more different from her first two. Wasiullah Khan (Irrfan Khan) is a poet whose words speak of love, romance, tenderness and bliss. Susanna soon finds there is another side to him when he begins abusing her violently for his own sexual gratification.

Next up are the equally dastardly Russian spy, Nicolai Vronsky (Aleksandr Dyachenko) who has another family and police inspector Keemat Lal (Annu Kapoor) who suspects her involvement in her previous husbands’ murders. So what does he do? He tricks her into marriage of course, the foolish man!

By this point, Susanna has reached near madness and is on the brink of suicide. Dr. Modhusudhon Tarafdar (Naseeruddin Shah) saves her, but only so that he can try to kill her later on. Like all the men in her life, he falls into the Black Widow’s web.

But as the title suggests, there will be seven murders to be forgiven and so far there have only been six husbands, so who will be unlucky number seven?

7 Khoon Maaf

7 Khoon Maaf does well with its mix of dark comedy and drama, though at times it struggles to move the story along, making the film feel longer than it needs to be. Musically it’s very rich. The score provided by Vishal Bhardwaj and the lyrics by Gulzar add a nice contemporary touch, though I cringed at segments with John Abraham as a rock star and the track “O’ Mama” did absolutely nothing for me. On the other hand, “Bekaraan” by Vishal Bhardwaj was a strong point though and comes at one of the most beautiful and poignant segments in the film.

Priyanka Chopra gives a credible, if not stunning, performance as a lonely woman driven to desperate measures and eventually insanity by the circumstances she repeatedly finds herself in. We do wonder though, how much of it could she have avoided? After all, is murder really the only way out of an unhappy marriage?

Yet for all her sins, Susanna never comes across as evil. Certainly her actions are wrong, in the eyes of the law, God and morality, but she is woman wronged and whatever she does, she does it not because she wants to put it right, but because she is sick to death of it. Rather than let it be the death of her, it’s the death of her wrong doers instead.

Altogether, this makes for an interestingly conflicted and complex central character, one which we rarely get to see in mainstream films on either sides of the world.

You might also be interested in these articles:

In this Fright Night remake, Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and Peter Vincent (David Tennant) team up to take down Jerry (Colin Farrell), a non-sparkly vampire.

Directed by Andrew Kötting, Ivul stars Jean-Luc Bideau in the title role as the patriarch to a French-Russian family as it begins to fall apart with incest.

Dream Home is directed by Ho Cheung Pang and stars Josie Ho as a woman on the rampage after the owners of the house she wants to buy, raise the price.

Written and directed by Claudio Masenza, this vintage documentary on Montgomery Clift chronicles his life from childhood to his untimely death at the age of 45.

Blood Creek (aka Town Creek), directed by Joel Schumacher, is a vampire horror film which sees Michael Fassbender as an evil Nazi with the power of immortality.