Mai (2022) review: Exhilarating thriller elevated by Sakshi Tanwar’s performance 

The thriller series ‘Mai’ follows Sheel, a working nurse whose daughter is killed when she gets hit by a truck in the middle of the road. But there’s more to her death than meets the eye. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

Sheel (Sakshi Tanwar) is left devastated after the death of her daughter Supriya (Wamiqa Gabbi) in a truck accident in the middle of the road outside her house.

However, as little details start to come to light, Sheel begins to believe that the Supriya’s death was not an accident at all, but a planned murder.

As she starts to dig deeper, many secrets come to light, as she herself gets embroiled in a huge conspiracy.

What follows is her attempt to figure out the exact circumstances behind why her daughter was killed and by whom.

Performances

Sakshi Tanwar absolutely hits it out of the park as the vulnerable mother who wants to get justice for her daughter.

Whether it’s the subtlety of a submissive sister-in-law and a troubled wife or murdering someone with the wrath of a wounded mother, she is equally stellar.

Sheel is going through a lot; the death of her daughter, the troubling details behind it, the struggle to figure out what happened. And all throughout the six episodes, Tanwar doesn’t miss a beat.

Anant Vidhaat, as Prashant, the right-hand man of the supposed mastermind, and Vaibhav Raj Gupta, as Shankar, his partner, ably assist Tanwar as the reluctant accomplices in her crimes.

Wamiqa Gabbi, as Supriya, Raima Sen, as Neelam, Ankur Ratan, as Farooque, Prashant Narayan, as both Jawahar and Mohan, and Vivek Mushran, as Yash, all do just to their characters and play their part in smoothly running the narrative.

Positives

At just six episodes, the series moves at a brisk pace, spouting out important details in every episode, as you can’t help but stay glued to the screens.

The identity behind the true killer is kept under wraps throughout and it’s very hard to predict anything. 

Directors Anshai Lal and Atul Mongia competently switch between the atmospheres of households and the brutality of corruption.

The treatment of Sheel as a character works extremely well. She doesn’t seem to be adept at whatever she’s doing, and why would she? She’s just a simple mother after all.

However, as her thirst for revenge begins taking over, and she starts finding success in her endeavors, she gains confidence and her plans begin getting more complex.

How her emotions are triggered when attacking someone is the highlight of the show, only taken to a different level by Tanwar, herself.

Even at a rapid pace, it manages to touch on topics such as homosexuality, prostitution, and female infanticide, while never feeling forced.

Negatives

One particular hallucination scene seems very out of place with the entire narrative.

In a few instances, it is hard to follow what’s happening in the past, and what’s in the present.

Verdict

Mai is a must-watch thriller series that raises the bar and portrays the limitless extent a mother can reach for her children. It is one of the best Indian offerings by Netflix in recent years.

Rating: 4/5


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