Film: Maja Ma
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Gajraj Rao, Ritwik Bhowmik, Barkha Singh, Srishti Shrivastava, Rajit Kapur, Sheeba Chadha, Simone Singh
Director: Anand Tiwari
OTT: Amazon Prime Video
Rating: 3 Moons
Madhuri Dixit is a Goddess! You cannot get over her magnetic screen presence even if she’s given the most unconventional role in an ensemble cast film. Maja Ma celebrates her beauty, charisma and dance finesse. Directed by Anand Tiwari, for Amazon Prime Video, it also stars Gajraj Rao, Ritwik Bhowmik, Barkha Singh, Srishti Shrivastava, Rajit Kapur, Sheeba Chadha, Simone Singh and others in key roles.
The film opens in the US with Tejas Patel (Ritwik Bhowmik) preparing to impress the parents of his ladylove Esha (Barkha Singh). While he comes from a regular middle-class family in Gujarat, she is born amid luxury and is pampered by her rich parents Bob (Rajit Kapur) and Pam (Sheeba Chadha). In order to prove his love for Esha, Tejas has to undergo a lie detection test, as instructed by her father.
After clearing the test, Tejas has to introduce Esha’s parents to his family back in India. The family includes his mother Pallavi (Madhuri Dixit), father Manohar (Gajraj Rao) and elder sister Tara (Srishti Shrivastava), an LGBTQIA+ activist who has a long-distance relationship with her husband. While the journey to India is smooth for Tejas and Esha, things go south when Pallavi’s dark secret comes out unexpectedly. Will the Patel family survive this storm? Allow Maja Ma to solve the conflicts.
On the surface, Maja Ma appears to be a family drama but as you are sucked into the story, it is a different world altogether. Sure, Maja Ma addresses an important and relevant topic but majorly with a vanilla coating. The outer covering is peeled off only in the last half hour leaving you wanting for more such moments. Despite shortcomings, director Anand Tiwari and writer Sumit Batheja deserve a round of applause for attempting something like Maja Ma. The last half hour escalates to a better and different section that boasts of brilliant performances, an unexpected twist and satisfaction.
There are chances family audiences looking for a fun, quick watch could get bored due to the interminable narrative. The inconsistent line on the story lets down the efforts of the actors who leave behind a sweet taste despite frequent hiccups at least in the first hour. It doesn’t take the film too long to become preachy and that’s where it gets questionable. The attempt to infuse humour into a serious plot falls flat and the jokes are easily forgettable.
It is the performances that make Maja Ma a decently watchable affair. Madhuri knows how to command attention. As the perfect mother Pallavi, the actress looks gorgeous in every frame. She also ventures out into uncharted territory and plays a role you probably never imagined her in. While the makers celebrate Madhuri’s existence, a little more focus on the script would have given her a smart story to headline. Simone Singh is a surprise packet. When she comes into the frame, it is a delight. Gajraj Rao adds a dash of innocence to the story. Don't be surprised if you end up rooting for him. Ritwik Bhowmik delivers a recent performance. Barkha Singh has nothing much to do as Esha but she is a bright ray of sunshine in whatever she is expected to pull off. Srishti Shrivastava as the feisty Tara has done a good job. Rajit Kapur and Sheeba Chadha are reliable and entertaining as always.
Maja Ma is like an unexpected surprise, a good or a bad one, that we leave up to you. Watch without any preconceived notions. All hail Madhuri Dixit!
PeepingMoon.com gives Maja Ma 3 Moons