Post HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN and MONSOON WEDDING, the concept of depicting Indian marriages on celluloid continues to be a favorite for most storytellers.
7 ï¿½ PHERE not only looks at a traditional Indian marriage, it also talks of strategies adopted by television channels to increase their viewership by installing spycams and making public the juiciest details/hidden skeletons concerning individuals/family.
A fascinating concept without doubt, thankfully 7 ï¿½ PHERE is interestingly handled as well. Of course, there's no denying that the film has its share of loose ends, but the light moments and the sequence of events keep you engrossed for most part of the first half mainly.
However, 7 ï¿½ PHERE could've done better with some superior actors and better production values. The absence of known names, barring Irrfan and Juhi, as also the making, which lacks finesse, act as road blocks in the film.
7 ï¿½ PHERE has a novel story to tell. And director Isshaan Trivedi handles the light moments with flourish. The split personality of almost every character is well depicted and like MONSOON WEDDING, the film looks at issues that one comes across in today's modern society.
Asmi [Juhi Chawla] has been entrusted the task by her television channel to cover a reality show. There's a marriage in the Joshi family and when Asmi offers the proposal of covering the event for the TV network, the family stands divided on the issue.
The bride's father is willing to go along with the idea, but a few members in the family find the idea ludicrous. Manoj [Irrfan Khan], the bride-to-be's youngest uncle, develops a soft corner for Asmi.
Getting an inkling of Manoj's feelings, Asmi decides to use him for the project. Asmi gets hidden cameras installed in the house and as the hidden cameras begin to roll, the skeletons begin to tumble out of the Joshis' closet. Chaos and confusion reigns supreme, until Manoj realizes that he has opened up the Pandora's box.
Loosely inspired by Ron Howard's Hollywood film EDTV [1999; starring Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman], 7 1/2 PHERE has an interesting premise, a theme that hasn't been attempted in Bollywood earlier. With a novel theme as its USP, the director has packed the narrative with a series of interesting incidents that would bring a smile on your face.
But there's no denying that 7 1/2 PHERE would've emerged as a foolproof entertainer had the writing been consistent all through. While the first half has several arresting moments, the pace slackens in the post-interval portions since the focus suddenly shifts to various sub-plots, including Juhi's aspirations of becoming a topnotch director as also the love story of the aged couple [Anang Desai, Neena Kulkarni], besides the long-drawn sequence between the bride and the groom in the penultimate reel. Also, the film would've had a better impact had the length of the second half been concise.
Director Isshaan Trivedi has handled the light moments well, but he could've kept the screenplay in check, besides making the second half as interesting as the first. Cinematography is alright. Dialogues are the highpoint of the enterprise.
Talking of performances, both Irrfan and Juhi vie for top honors. The general perception about Irrfan is that he looks best in roles that demand intensity, but the actor is a delight to watch in a role that requires him to be witty all the while. He is simply adorable!
Juhi is first-rate yet again, although she needs to keep a check on her weight. Among character actors, Sri Vallabh Vyas and Neena Kulkarni are the best.
On the whole, 7 1/2 PHERE is a fairly decent entertainer that holds appeal for those who prefer light entertainers. At the box-office, 7 1/2 PHERE is more of a big city film that would've fared much better had it released during an open week, backed by more hype.