Tamil Reviews

‘Seven’ Review: A Good Idea Made Worse In Execution

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Director: Nizar Shafi

Cast: Regina Cassandra, Rahman, Nandita Swetha, Havish, Anisha Ambrose and Tridha Chowdry

Music: Chintan Bharadwaj

The biggest mystery about Nizar Shafi’s Seven is, ‘Where was the film shot?’. It’s ostensibly about, and set in Chennai and there are two (completely unconnected) external shots of Chennai, but for the most part it seems to be set in Hyderabad. One particularly hilarious scene involves lead actors Nandita Swetha and Havish Koneru meeting at a park and talking about their future together. As they walk, in the background we see a big, clean water body – a lake with its own park. Where in Chennai do we have that much water and that much foresight to build a public park around a lake?

However, that’s a minor grouse. The major grouse is that Nizar Shafi took what looks like a good idea (at least on paper) and turned it into an incoherent film.

*****

is written by Ramesh Varma and directed by Nizar Shafi, and stars Regina Cassandra, Rahman, Nandita Swetha, Havish, Anisha Ambrose, Tridha Chowdry, and others. The film was shot by Nizar Shafi and edited by Praveen KL, with music by Chintan Bharadwaj. Sri Greens has produced the film.

*****

Ramya (Nandita Swetha) arrives one rainy evening at a police station to complain about her missing husband Karthik (Havish). As she tells alcoholic cop Rahman (I can’t recall if he was ever named on screen, which is a good change I suppose. It is usually the women characters who aren’t named) of her life leading up to the missing husband, he takes over. He tells her of how the same thing happened to another woman, Jenny (Anisha Ambrose). It seems for now that Karthik is a repeat offender, and that this is not a simple case of a missing person but some kind of large fraud.

And so, alcoholic cop drinks his way through the investigation. Which includes the novel method of circulating missing posters throughout the city. This brings an old man to the police station who claims he knows who Karthik is – but he is not really Karthik, he is Krishnamoorthi and has been dead for some 20 years. Interesting twist, one thinks. Immediately after, another thing that has been dead for 20 years surfaces: two “mental hospital” orderlies arrive at the police station and drag the man away claiming he ran away from the hospital.

Why is this still a thing? When was the last time you actually heard of patients escaping a mental health facility?  Haven’t standards of care, and security progressed in the 20 years?

More twists, and more women who claim the same Karthik has been missing from their own lives as well. Karthik is spotted at a railway station, is arrested and put in a lock-up where he fails to recongnise any of the women claiming to be his wife. More twists including Karthik’s “actual” wife shooting him, an escape from hospital that is supposedly in Chennai but the streets are all set on hills and an auto with a ‘AP 28’ number plate. And, a journalist with a Bajaj Chetak scooter and dirty old kurtas and jolna bag, some more running around, to finally arrive at a den where Ramya, Jenny and the other “wife” are hiding. And, Karthik finds a leather bound book that looks remarkably like a novel in which the entire plot and the backstory is written. Even as his real wife Priya (Tridha Choudhary) is abducted by a “crazy” old woman who was once their domestic worker, in order to show and tell the flashback.

The flashback involves a young woman Saraswathi (Regina Cassandra who is the best part of this film) who falls in love with young stage actor Krishnamoorthi (Havish) and becomes so obsessed with marrying him she kills her father, and every body who stands in her way. Krishnamoorthi would rather die than live with this woman and so he jumps into the river. This pushes Saraswathi completely over the edge and she’s committed to a metal health hospital. She is released 10 years later only to discover Krishnamoorthi isn’t actually dead but is married and happily living with the woman he has always loved. And so, Saraswathi once more goes off hinge and takes things into her hands.

*****

Some questions: Why is Rahman an alcoholic in the film? What’s that adding to the script, or his role, or to the film? What is this trend of policemen in leather jackets we’re seeing in cinema? Rahman as the policeman in Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru (D16) looked and felt like he belonged in that place, in his casual clothes. Here, Rahman is trying to channel the D16 cop he was except it has ended up being an affectation, a mannerism. And that hip flask of his is a prop to extend scene length. Not that we all need tragic backstories for why a character is an alcoholic, we don’t need all these dots to be connected. But it is strange that a policeman is seen drinking while on the job, in the middle of a serious investigation and no one rolls their eyes or tries to suppress a dirty look.

There are plot twists and mysteries galore in the film, perhaps one two too many. And it all ties up in the flashback. But our path to the flashback and the denouement is tortuous and what follows is a complete travesty. Imagine a Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes story ending – after the detectives have revealed everything – with the killer getting up on stage and doing a long stand up act on curd rice, the problem of being a man in this feminist world or similar.

*****

The 7 (Seven) review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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