Director: Sanjeev Sharma
Writer: Sanjeev Sharma
Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Nitin Bhasin, Annu Kapoor, Anupam Kher
Runtime: 2h 19min
Released: 14 October 2016
Storyline: SAAT UCHAKKEY is a comedy caper about 7 petty crooks blundering their way through an exciting gamut of mystery, greed, treachery and running into one riotous crisis after another. Set against the gritty backdrop of Old Delhi, this burlesque film opens a window into the unpredictable world of magical realism, where the lingo is spattered with the choicest of swear words and the mannerisms with sidesplitting humor.
God who may be mad, an Anupam Kher who lives in a haveli a Muslim woman claims is hers, and a Kalawati who exists only in dreams. There is more going on in Sanjeev Sharma’s Saat Uchakkey than meets the eyes and, yes — despite the Censor’s objections — the ears. Sift through the abuses, those that have survived 90 cuts and a three-year wait for release, and the film is a delightful slice of life from that new pet haunt of filmmakers, Old Delhi.
However, it’s not the Old Delhi of just pigeon contests, closely knit houses and kite-flying, with Red Fort and Jama Masjid alternatively peeping over the horizon. Sharma’s Old Delhi is rather about the old ghosts and new dreams which co-exist here so organically, one feeding off the other, one fuelling the other. It’s about men who make a living “making antique idols”, or keys for “90-year-old iron locks”; the men who hawk wooden snakes alternatively as “engineering craft” or “sexual toy” to hassled but polite foreigners; the lawyers who fix cases through skinny, knife-wielding boys barely standing upright; and cops who must find order amidst this all. It’s also about the women who find their way through this, giving back as good as they get.
There are few ways out of this maze of narrow lanes, kachauris, card games, and hand-to-mouth survival. And one of the first offered to Pappi (Manoj Bajpayee) and company is a blithe deal: “bijli churani hai”, they are told over roadside tea. The second is more esoteric, in the form of a lunatic, Bichchi (Annu Kapoor), of mythical reputation. In Bichchi’s mutterings, Pappi sees the promise of a hidden treasure in that contested haveli of the diwan (Anupam Kher).
Where gods co-exist snugly with “item numbers” organised for Purnima, day begins with a flower-seller setting shop for Kaali puja, a dacoity must take into account the neighbourhood mosque, mourners break into a dance, and havelis come with Mughal lineage, nothing is impossible.