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Saat Uchakkey: Too dirty for words

Saat Uchakkey takes a while to get used to. We start off at a psychiatric ward with a cryptic character called Bichhi (Annu Kapoor) who, I quickly rationalised for myself, is some kind of a fraud/hypnotist holding people in thrall with his mumbo jumbo. He calls himself God and it’s all very complicated. But then let it rest. Moving on from here, everyone in the institution, including the doctor, turns out to be insane and loud. After a while, as more and more characters start getting introduced, you begin chuckling at the all-pervasive lunacy and start tuning in to the raucous tone. But only for a bit. As it happens with most of our films, things fall apart rather rapidly because of the lack of a good spine called the script. In a nutshell, Saat Uchakkey could well be a Delhi Belly set in a diametrically opposite economic class and urban landscape; it’s about the underprivileged, unpolished denizens of Old Delhi. Far from a romanticised recreation of Old Delhi, this is a down and dirty, and extremely crude one. Even the yummy kachauris on screen are not the pretty Instagrammed kind. Here, people make a living out of mundane things like antiques, and locks and keys. So you have Pappi (Manoj Bajpayee), who deals in antiques and is into petty electricity theft with his two friends. Sona, his love interest (Aditi Sharma), is a bone of contention between him and befuddled cop Tejpal (Kay Kay Menon). Then there is the dubious lawyer (Vijay Raaz), and a batty old man (Anupam Kher) living in a haveli with wife Kalawati (a figment of his imagination), who has been dead for long. It is eventually all about the search for a treasure in the haveli , which goes all wrong. With its raw lingo and dirty talk, the film is deliberately politically incorrect and inappropriate, obviously aiming to be disconcerting. The foul-mouthed characters, their relationships, friendships, and banter seem real to start with. Where the film loses out on is the meandering, pointless, stretched-out plot and an exhausting, weird finale. The foul-mouthed repartee starts off rather matter of factly, veers a bit towards intentional irreverence, but soon becomes all for the heck of it, a bad case of exhibitionism. For instance, Pappi referring to Sona as kutiya (bitch) may seem affectionate and endearing to start with, but soon becomes too hammered in, insufferable and offensive. The film even makes you lose patience with its strong cast, as they go way too over the top. Saat Uchakkey would have worked better had it been shorter, sharper with a strong story to tell. If only this film and its maker knew when and where to stop.

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