True to its name, Maska is a film like bun maska, a kind of sweet that leaves you feeling good. It is a Netflix original written and directed by Neeraj Udhwani.
All his life, Rumi (Prit Kamani), has been pushed to follow in his father’s footsteps by his mother (Manisha Koirala); from wearing his hand-me-downs to taking charge of his 100-year-old Irani cafe, he is expected to do it all.
On the other hand, Rumi has dreams of his own. He wishes to become an actor, something that his mother would never approve of. One day, he gets a chance to fulfill his aspiration but only at the cost of his mother’s life-long wish and his family’s legacy.
A special companion and a taste of his family recipes change his perspective and ambition; he realises the worth of traditions and learns to differentiate between dreams and childish fantasies.
As a fresh face, Kamani shines at portraying the character of a stubborn young man, who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He’s is at his best when his character’s below average acting skills and efforts to improve are easily evident on screen.
Koirala’s character portrayal is too stereotypical to be real despite her efforts; it lacks nuance. However, Javer Jaffrey is a delight to watch. His quirky sense of humour never fails to get a laugh.
Shirley Setia and Nikita Dutta have aptly played the parts of a sweet girl next door and an ambitious, talented actress respectively.
Neeraj Udhwani’s film has many light-hearted moments, especially relatable to Indian families, to look forward to. The ups and downs in the lives of the characters are accompanied by just the right music; the varied soundtrack of the film has songs for almost all kinds of moods.
Instead of having the typical plot where the protagonist ends up achieving his dreams, Maska takes a different stand. It shows that even when you desire something with all your heart, sometimes you still don’t get it. In fact, it is all right to not get it.
Maska also shows that there is a fine line between dreams and delusions. At times, it is better if your delusions do not become your reality.
The film is as predictable as they come and the plot is too formulaic; all the formulas were at work in the film, ranging from the elements of chick flick romances to the elements of the standard parent-child conflict. It is easy to see how and when everything will fall into place for the characters to get their happy ending.
In addition to that, the film fails to surpass the conventional Bollywood themes; the girl who does not belong to the same community as her love interest, is career-oriented, and a divorcee cannot be right for the male protagonist. Maska chooses to stick with the simpler, uncomplicated pairing.
Maska is a feel-good movie. At a time when social distancing has forced people to stay home, it would be a good idea to watch this film with your family to spend some quality time with them.
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