In ‘Maja Ma’, the ‘perfect mother’ Pallavi Patel finds herself at crossroads when a long-kept secret threatens to ruin all her relationships. The comedy-drama film is now streaming on Prime Video.
Pallavi Patel (Madhuri Dixit) is considered the perfect mother by his son, Tejas Patel (Ritwik Bhowmik). She is also hailed by her neighbourhood for her dancing skills.
When Tejas wants to marry Esha (Barkha Singh), an NRI girl, her wealthy but paranoid parents wish to meet his family to be sure if it’s the perfect match.
While Pallavi initially impresses them, the situation takes a turn for the worse when a video of an interaction between her and her daughter, Tara (Srishti Shrivastava) reveals that she is a lesbian.
Suddenly finding her family drifting away and Tejas’ marriage threatened because of this fact, Pallavi must make the most important decision of her life; whether to finally come to terms with her sexual orientation.
Madhuri Dixit and Gajraj Rao are terrific as husband-wife; Pallavi and Manohar Patel. Dixit captures the angst and regret of Pallavi and will take home all the plaudits for this performance.
Rao is probably the best choice for playing the father with a humorous element right now, and this is quite obvious in ‘Maja Ma’. He steals the show with his comic timing whenever on screen.
Ritwik Bhowmik and Srishti Shrivastava are decent as Tejas, the entitled son, and Tara, the activist daughter, while Simone Singh does well in her cameo as the brash former lover of Pallavi, Kanchan. Dixit and Singh’s chemistry is crystal clear as well.
However, the film limits the performances of Barkha Singh, Rajit Kapoor and Sheeba Chaddha, who play Esha, Bob and Pam Hansraj respectively, by forcing an accent onto their characters that is nowhere close to authentic. It’s hard to take them seriously. That said, the three do their best to make the portrayal work
The biggest strength of the film is simply the courage to tackle such a bold subject while also making it a family entertainer.
The twist will shock the viewers, who would never have imagined that Dixit’s character would turn out to be a lesbian in the film. Moves like this are rarely taken in the Indian film industry.
‘Maja Ma’ is also filled with poignant moments, as it plays on the viewer’s emotions and makes them sympathise with Pallavi’s plight.
The soundtrack is strong and complements touching moments. Right from the foot-tapping ‘Boom Padi’ to the tearjerker ‘Kacchi Doriyaan’, it has a lot going for it.
For a film that has its fair share of over-the-top moments, the conclusion is surprisingly realistic and probably how such a situation would pan out in reality.
While some scenes at the start are too in your face and trying too hard to drill the plot points, the film starts to improve that aspect as well as it goes along.
Towards the end, Tejas, Tara and Manohar are seen just sitting in front of a carrom board but don’t even need to say a single word to drive home the point. The regret is written in their expressions.
Pegged at a relatively long runtime of 2 hours and 14 minutes, it goes by smoothly and never really drags.
Unfortunately, while the film has its high points, it’s not consistent enough and the exaggerated scenes and characters do hold it back. The Hansraj family is reduced to borderline caricature with the accent and dialogues.
There was no need to force that and their social status could have been driven home easily through other nuanced quirks that NRIs display.
This continues with Bob’s repeated attempts to make people sit through lie detector tests. Such plot points were unnecessary in a film that tackles a sensitive subject in an otherwise rooted manner.
‘Maja Ma’ is the family entertainer that viewers deserve in modern times. While not perfect, it does show the boldness to make a delicate point while also keeping you engaged throughout and fitting the bracket of a ‘mainstream’ Indian film.
Had the writing been tighter, and some parts more nuanced, it could easily have been an extraordinary film.
Director: Anand Tiwari
Date Created: 2022-10-06 05:30