Priyanka Chopra’s 7 Khoon Maaf Is A Parable Telling Us That Domestic Abuse Is Not OK

7 Khoon Maaf is in reality a story of abusive marriages, and gives a message that a woman needs to recognise it and get out of such a marriage, even if not by murder!

People call me a devil, especially the men. And I have no problem with it! As long as I can smash patriarchy with an iron hammer, I don’t mind being called a devil, or any other names. I am quite vocal about the fact that I will not allow a man to belittle/abuse me or any other woman.

Here is a bitter truth about men that I’d like to share, through a movie. Yes, by now you must have understood that I am a movie buff – Oh yes I am, but I love those movies where I can see a woman as an independent entity, and not bullied by this patriarchal society.




So here it is, let me discuss the movie – 7 Khoon Maaf. This powerful feminist movie is based on a short story by Ruskin Bond Susanna’s Seven Husbands.

some spoilers ahead

Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and released in the year 2011, the film is about an orphan Anglo Indian, Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, the protagonist (played by Priyanka Chopra) who murders all her six husbands barring one. The story is narrated by the young forensic pathologist Arun (played by Vivaan Shah) to his wife Nandini (played by Konkona Sen Sharma). Arun, who is much younger to Susanna has had a crush on her since childhood. Susanna too loves him but is unable to express it, fearing the age difference, but has funded his education.

Susanna, who lost her mother when she was a little girl looked for love among these blasphemous men who proved fatal to her life. She a young woman unable to understand these lechers, marries them, but ultimately murders all six.

And the reason?

The first husband

An army major, who turns out to be an utterly selfish, dominant and possessive husband. Susanna tolerates all his atrocities, but loses her cool when the chap blinds her faithful mute stable boy with a whip. She takes him for a panther hunting trip and eliminates him with the aid of her steadfast maid, butler, and the mute stable boy himself.

The second husband

He is a singer, and marriage to him starts well, but this moronic chap uses Susanna’s money in a wrong way, steals songs, flirts with women and also gets hooked on to drugs. Having failed in her first marriage, Susanna tries to rectify him but this man proves unredeemable. Ultimately he too is eliminated with an excuse of drug overdose. The only evidence near the dead body was that the killer had six toes.

The third husband

He is a soft spoken, sensitive poet, who happens to be secretly a sado-masochist. He manhandles Susanna, who tries to hide her bruises under her makeup, but with the assistance of her domestic helps unable to witness the torture inflicted on her, she eliminates this man by burying him in a snow filled grave in Kashmir.

The fourth husband

He is a Russian spy who cheats Susanna in marrying him. When Susanna discovers about his other wife she eliminates this liar too with the help of her pet snakes. By this time she has undergone a change in mindset, where she feels no remorse over murdering someone who treats her in an unfair way.

The fifth husband

This is the police inspector who saves Susanna from prosecution for two murders, but in exchange forces her to marry him. Unable to satiate this man’s voracious appetite for sex, she kills him with a Viagra overdose which he would gulp to have sex with his bride.

The sixth husband

Naseeruddin Shah plays a Bengali doctor who saves Susanna when she tries to commit suicide on hearing the news of Arun’s marriage.

This sixth husband puts Susanna on a mushroom only diet, and then tries to usurp Susanna’s wealth by poisoning her soup. By a mix-up, the butler drinks this soup and dies. Dazed by this turn of events, Susanna shoots her husband and tries to commit suicide for the second time by setting the house on fire. She gets saved, but her maid (the person who had six toes) dies rescuing her.

The seventh husband

Arun hears the rumours of Susanna’s death, but finds out that she is alive when he meets by chance. Susanna invites him for her final wedding.

It turns out that Susanna embraces a spiritual life and her seventh husband is none other than Jesus Christ. Arun doesn’t reveal this secret to anyone, and declares her dead in the records of his forensic laboratory.

Why you should watch this movie

As a raging feminist, I say please go and watch the movie.

Do not trust that a man can actually fill the void in you. Susanna thought so, but that love never happened. Each of these men tried to play with her emotions and she turned ruthless while eliminating them from her life. And we women should be doing that more often.

I do not advocate murder, of course, but if a man ill treats us we should just get rid of them without a goodbye.

This article in NCBI explains domestic violence as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. This violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault. The frequency of the violence can be on and off, occasional or chronic […]. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 says that any act, conduct, omission or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law. Even a single act of omission or commission may constitute domestic violence – in other words, women do not have to suffer a prolonged period of abuse before taking recourse to law. The law covers children also. Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women. However, most commonly, the victims are women, especially in our country. Even in the United States, it has been reported that 85% of all violent crime experienced by women are cases of intimate partner violence, compared to 3% of violent crimes experienced by men. Thus, domestic violence in Indian context mostly refers to domestic violence against women.

Susanna was a victim of domestic abuse

Each of the six men abused her, leaving her no choice but to eliminate them from her life. As I said Susanna was just a character but do not let a man dominate on you. Do not be a victim of domestic abuse. The moment you feel you are a victim of abuse do take help from the law.

There are many sexist jokes on women that go around, saying that we are difficult to understand. I contradict this commonly held belief. Men are the ones who are actually difficult to understand. As in the movie we can understand Susanna’s search for love but could she understand those men? They took advantage of her loneliness, tricked her into marrying them and in turn they all made her life miserable. Much like in real life, these were circumstances where women fall victim to a man. Even though I always say that feminism is not about putting down a man, men can be manipulative and can trick a woman by their charm as those men did to Susanna.

Know when it’s time to let go. Know when it’s time to walk away. Your life is your choice. Love it and live it.

 

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Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of

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