Saat Uchakkey movie cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Vijay Raaz, Kay Kay Menon, Aditi Sharma, Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor
Saat Uchakkey movie director: Sanjeev Sharma
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.
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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.
Manoj Bajpayee as Pappi; Aditi Sharma as Pappi’s resourceful love and the neighbourhood heartthrob Sona; Vijay Raaz as Jaggi, the lawyer with a waistcoat, a ponytail, and that undulating henchman; and Kay Kay Menon as daroga Tejpal keeping the order while nursing a secret love for Sona, are all excellent. Annu Kapoor as the narrator/god can’t help his dramatics, but Anupam Kher is just over-the-top.
Sadly though, director Sharma (who has worked earlier in Peepli Live, Raghu Romeo) lets the film drag to an exhausted and stretched ending. A film with such a sure touch didn’t need this heavy hand.