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'Saat Uchakkey': A Crime-Comedy With Show-Stealing Performances

14/10/2016 1:43 PM IST | Updated 19/10/2016 1:36 PM IST
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Saat Uchakkey, co-written and directed by Sanjeev Sharma, stars an ensemble cast that includes Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Aditi Sharma and Anupam Kher. The movie presents the tale of seven small-time criminals living in Old Delhi (often referred to as Delhi 6) and a no-nonsense police officer committed to keeping them all on a short leash. The crime-comedy genre is somewhat new to Hindi cinema. It is an area often associated with the likes of the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino. But while watching Saat Uchakkey one is likely to be reminded of Guy Ritchie films such as RocknRolla (2008) and Snatch (2000) rather than movies made by Tarantino or the Coens, as the humour quotient is far stronger than the quintessential elements of crime.

Other than the stellar acting, the movie's USP has to be its racy dialogues, replete with vernacular expletives... it is surprising that the Censor Board actually passed it!

Saat Uchakkey is easily one of the most entertaining films of the year, and a formidable example of how great acting and imaginative direction can combine to elevate an ordinary script to the realm of the extraordinary. Here is a rare film that brings together some of the greatest actors in the country together. Just consider a bunch of performers as talented as Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, and Anupam Kher in a single film. The end result is as enjoyable as you'd hope it to be. Of course, weak direction could have easily undermined the acting efforts as we often get to see in contemporary Bollywood films. So credit goes to Sanjeev Sharma for trusting his actors and giving them much-needed space to work their magic.

Other than the stellar acting, the movie's USP has to be its racy dialogues, replete with vernacular expletives and double entendres—one is reminded of Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). In the current context it is surprising that the Censor Board actually passed it! Udta Punjab (2016) was a groundbreaking film in this regard as it dared to question the relevance of adhering to obsolete censorship norms in modern India. There is little doubt that films like Saat Uchakkey are benefiting from Udta Punjab's staunch fight against censorship.

Overall, Saat Uchakkey is an endlessly entertaining film that comes as a breath of fresh air, especially with the creative use of dream sequences and magic realism.

Despite its share of flaws and inconsistencies succeeds in packing a punch.

Coming back to the acting, Manoj Bajpayee and Kay Kay Menon are a treat to watch and so are Vijay Raaz and the lovely Aditi Sharma. But it is Annu Kapoor who steals the show with his uber-cool madman act. One wonders why Bollywood uses his acting services ever so sparingly. Another actor to watch out for is Jatin Sarna who yet again makes his presence felt following his remarkable turn in Zeishan Quadri's directorial debut Meeruthiya Gangsters (2015). Saat Uchakkey's principal cast is well backed up by the supporting actors. The film's depiction of Old Delhi is quite accurate. The attention to detail is striking and it shows in the dialogues, set design, and characters' mannerisms.

Here is a comedy caper that needs to be watched. Highly recommended!

Rating: A-

A version of this review was first published at A Potpourri of Vestiges.

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