Cast: Huma Qureshi, Sohum Shah, Amit Sial, Pramod Pathak and Kani Kusruti
Director: Karan Sharma
Creator: Subhash Kapoor
OTT: SONY LIV
Rating: 3 Moons
Stories on Bihar politics and issues have been a part of Indian cinema for a long time. So have been the controversies surrounding the political personalities depicted on screen for the audience. Joining the bandwagon is creator Subhash Kapoor's Maharani starring Huma Qureshi. Directed by Karan Sharma, the series follows the rise of a homemaker in Bihar politics as the State’s Chief Minister. It is based on Huma's transformation from an 'illiterate woman' to a politician. The 10-episode web series showcases how Huma as Rani is forced to take up the responsibilities of the CM's post against her wishes after her husband's health deteriorates. It takes the audience on a journey of Rani and how she understands the true mail-dominated nature of politics and plans to take a stand by smashing the patriarchy with her newly gained power.
The story of the show, which is loosely based on former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, is known to all. Rani (Huma Qureshi) becomes the Chief Minister of Bihar in the late ‘90s after her husband, the sitting CM Bheema Bharti (Sohum Shah), gets hospitalized following an assassination attempt. She is surrounded by political opportunists, all males. Rani’s reluctance to come out of her kitchen is the biggest hindrance to her sudden political placement. How Rani survives amid the unfair political system sets the rest of the plot in motion.
Maharani takes a deep dive into caste issues, violence, corruption and the faults in Bihar’s law and order situation. However, what pulls the show down is its writing. What the makers have completely forgotten is the role of the basic unit of any democracy- the public. That too of a politically hypersensitive state like Bihar. While the show is over-plotted, it is, at the same time, underwritten
But the cast strongly shoulders the series that would have otherwise gone wrong. The sprawling cast has some noteworthy performances. Huma Qureshi gives one of the best performances of her career. As Rani, she gives her all to possibly the most important role of her career. The actress picks up the body language and dialect of a Bihari and shines.
Sohum Shah, Amit Sial, Atul Tiwari, Kani Kusruti, Pramod Pathak and Mohammed Ashfaque Hussain are among the actors who plunge deep into the material. Kannan Arunachalam, as the state’s director-general of police, and Ranjana Sinha, as a fearless police officer, do full justice to their roles.
Showrunner Subhash Kapoor brings his OG energetic style to Maharani, creating a well-researched and detailed political landscape of Bihar but his writing lacks perfection. Director Karan Sharma backs up Subhash's vision in every way possible. Mahesh Dhakde’s music is more on the Bolly masala side than intrigue and depth.
Watch Maharani if you are a fan of heavy-duty oneliners and dramatic entries!
PeepingMoon gives Maharani 3 Moons!