Vishal Bharadwaj, the victorious Bollywood director, sought the assistance of Matthew Robbins, a prominent Hollywood scriptwriter, to inscribe the script of ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ (7KM), which is Bharadwaj’s celluloid version of Ruskin Bond’s short story, Susanna’s Seven Husbands (SSH).  The 67-year-old Robbins, Bharadwaj’s dear chum, has remarked that he respects Bharadwaj’s cinematic style, though he regards Bollywood’s custom of procreating impulsive dances rather inexplicable.  Robbins has asserted that he has been in contact with Bharadwaj via email for a long time. On obtaining a copy of Bond’s novel from Bharadwaj, a new discussion was initiated between the two, leading to Robbins’ emergence in Mumbai in October 2009 to discuss the celluloid edition of the novel with Bharadwaj.

Bharadwaj has vocalized that the celluloid adaptation of SSH was not easy as there were seven tales to be woven into a solitary script. He has verbalized that Indian cinema’s storytelling is substandard at times as there is a paucity of competent writers. Bharadwaj and Robbins, whose screenplay writing has been lauded by Bharadwaj, had bumped into each other in 2005 at a moviemaking seminar in Uganda, arranged by the reputable moviemaker, Mira Nair.

Robbins touched down at Mumbai to assist Bharadwaj for 7KM on Bharadwaj’s request. The two reconstructed Bond’s novel for the movie and emanated some dramatic aspects for the characters. Bharadwaj has vocalized that Susanna’s character in the novel is extremely sinister and that she has been converted into a more ‘adorable’ monster in 7KM. In 7KM, Susanna, whose character is enacted by the proficient Priyanka Chopra, is accused of slaughtering her seven husbands in a sensational style. The film has instilled more humorousness to counterbalance her harsh persona. All the sentiments of Susanna were meticulously conceived by Bharadwaj and Robbins at the former’s summer sanctuary in Mussoorie.

Robbins toned down the character of Susanna appropriately on realizing that Priyanka would act it out, with the former Miss World’s competent performance in Kaminey reminding him of Sophia Loren, who has allure and a mercurial disposition. Bharadwaj rendered Robbins’ English script to Hindi for 7KM, utilizing vernacular elements and that the rough cut seemed encouraging, as per Robbins. Robbins has voiced that additional Bollywood projects, though fascinating a proposition, are a strict no-no as he cannot associate with the Hindustani cultural context. Bharadwaj is a buddy and, hence, there was help from Robbins for 7KM.

Bharadwaj’s Bollywood movies such as Omkara, Maqbool and The Blue Umbrella have attained colossal acclaim from the Indian film reviewers. The gripping storytelling in these films combined with the efficient directorship of Bharadwaj has made them highly watchable films. Robbins is identified for his competent work in Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut, Sugarland Express, and for his association with ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ that had Katie Holmes as its protagonist in 2010. He had also assisted Spielberg in the latter’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Priyanka Chopra is one of the most improved actresses of Bollywood, whose superb acting in ‘Fashion’ in 2008, granted her the ‘Best Actress Award’ at almost all the Hindi film awards’ ceremonies.


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