Sanjeev Sharma’s Saat Uchakkey has little going for it, but the movie might be worth its 139-minute running time for those who know only 19 ways to insult their mothers and sisters and have merely four phrases to describe the manner in which the human posterior can be punished.
The crime caper is set in Old Delhi, depicted as a fairground groaning with quirkiness, colour and clichés. In this exotic quarter of the filmmakers’ imagination, fantasy and reality co-exist, men and men and women have names that sound like bodily functions (Bicchi, Jaggi, Khappe, Haggu, Babbe), and daily speech is punctuated by flavourful expletives. The childishness of the names extends to the stunted characterisations: many of the grown-up actors behave like teenagers at their first prom. The aim is to be absurdist; the end result is mostly plain absurd.
The excuse for the off-kilter behaviour is provided by the prologue, which takes place in a mental asylum where Bichchi (Annu Kapoor) has been kept in solitary confinement. Bichchi is a mystic and a hypnotist who escapes and lands in Old Delhi, where he sets off a series of events that involve theft, confidence tricks, tomfoolery, and, of course, healthy cussing.
Jaggi (Manoj Bajpayee), his lover Sona (Aditi Sharma) and his cronies team up with Jaggi (Vijay Raaz) and his cohorts to steal treasure that is buried at the bottom of a mansion owned by Anupam Kher’s eccentric old man. Tejpal (Kay Kay Menon), a local police officer who runs out of expletives when he sees Sona, is in hot pursuit. Everybody in the cast behaves as per script, which invites them to raise the pitch several notches and clown their way through, and only Menon and Sharma stay on course.
In a desperate quest for fun in Old Delhi, Sharma burdens the movie with wall-to-wall dialogue and frenetic toing and froing in the neighbourhood’s narrow lanes. The plot gets lost soon enough in the labyrinth, as do many of the well-observed jokes about human foibles and the beautifully shot locations.
Some of the dialogue, by Sharma and Sandeep Saket, aims to be philosophical and celebrate maya, or the illusion of life. When Sharma and Saket run out of things to say about the ways in which humankind fools itself into thinking that it has everything under control, the writers roll out the swear words. At least on that score, Saat Uchakkey’s appetite for verbal coarseness is unlimited.