| October 6, 2022 (India)
Director: Anand TiwariWriter: Sumit BathejaStars: Madhuri Dixit, Ritwik Bhowmik, Barkha Singh
Summary: A rumor about Pallavi Patel, a quintessential, middle aged, devoted housewife who is famous for her dance and cooking, threatens to disrupt her middle-class family's ethos, on the eve of her... Read all
Countries: IndiaLanguages: Hindi
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Maja Ma 2022 Movie Review
Maja Ma 2022, Young filmmakers are eager to make this world a more equitable place in the modern day; nevertheless, the method in which they go about accomplishing this goal often results in their scripts sounding like a guide on how to make tales more inclusive or how to pass the Bechdel Test.
The most recent work by director Anand Tiwari seems to be aware of what has been done in the LGBTQIA+ field in the past; it pushes the limit but maintains it firmly inside the family-drama realm, maybe dictated by the image of the lead actor. Typically, when people talk about coming out of the closet, the focus is on the current generation. However, what if a middle-aged mother is feeling trapped by the sexual orientation that society or decades of patriarchy have forced upon her?
The closely guarded secret of Pallavi Patel (Madhuri Dixit) is revealed when she is having an animated conversation with her woke and heterosexual daughter. This threatens to ruin the prospects of the marriage of her son Tejas (Ritwik Bhowmik) with the daughter (Barkha Singh) of a millionaire American-Indian couple, who have a rather exotic idea of Indian culture and tradition.
Tiwari, who had wonderfully handled the cultural disparities in music in Bandish Bandits, keeps it caricaturish this time as Bob and Pam Hansraj (Rajit Kapur and Sheeba Chaddha) employ a polygraph test to locate a match for their daughter. The Hansrajs are looking for a mate for their daughter. Although at first it may seem hilarious, it quickly turns into an insulting weapon that is used to keep the story rolling.
In his most recent work, Jugg Jugg Jeeyo, writer Sumit Batheja demonstrated how a father may have feelings of suffocation in a relationship, which is something we often connect with a son in Hindi film. In Maja Ma, he goes one step further. On the other hand, he doesn’t expect the viewer to have much more sensitivity than the journalist in the movie, who gets LGBT and LPG confused. He doesn’t really go into the meat of the problem, but he does sometimes physically reprimand the male characters for saying things that are reckless or, in his words, “pedestrian.” Thankfully, he has performers that don’t allow it to devolve into a pontifical exercise that’s delivered in all capitals with a strained American and Gujarati accent. Rajit and Sheeba give the cardboard-like figures some life and personality via their acting. The audience can once again empathise with Ritwik, and Barkha is aware of the typical challenges faced by a young woman torn between her lover and her parents. Shrishti Shrivastava is a standout in the role of the daughter who is able to read her mother’s thoughts.
The vehicle has been customised for Madhuri, who follows a more conventional approach despite the fact that the topic calls for an off-roader. It goes without saying that Madhuri is a superb performer; but, there is no use in placing her in a role if the storyline needs to be cleaned up in order to accommodate her presence. Pallavi does not seem to suffer from claustrophobia when she is in the closet, and the movie makes very little effort to address the issue. Is the writer really familiar with her, or is he just selling what he thinks he can sell with Madhuri playing the major role today? Gajraj Rao is the one who nails the tone of the drama-comedy. In his role as Manohar, the spouse who is attempting to deal with the expectations of society, he is excellent.