Mai : A Mother's Rage
Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi series Mai on Netflix. Its trailer seemed intriguing with Sakshi Tanwar at the helm of it hunting down a bunch of people which made me realise that this is a revenge drama. And there have been big actors like Sridevi and Raveena Tandon picking up similar projects in Mom and Maatr respectively. So these two projects came to my mind while watch the trailer of Mai. However, I have always ensured the subjects involving revenge as it is much more cerebral and deliciously dark. As they say, Revenge is a dish best served cold. That said, does Mai manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Mai follows the story of a woman seeking answers to the mysterious death of her daughter which was made to be an accident but instead is a murder. The story is a slow burn almost unfolding like a neo-noir thriller. The setting in the city of Lucknow just adds a layer of intrigue here. The screenplay opens with a happy family who are oblivious of what their daughter is going through until the unfortunate incident happens. And here I must say that the entire sequence leading up to the accident was well choreographed building the right amount of tension which eventually escalates. The incident opens a can of worms in the medical fraternity as you are slowly introduced to other characters. After a point you begin to indulge in the drama, as the protagonist(Mai) gets her way around things and people. But the extent at which she can go is shown early on while she unknowingly commits a murder. The subplots are interesting as well with their twists and turns which will keep you invested.
As the drama branches out even further, it begins to get convoluted and perhaps a little more than I would have imagined or even liked. The prime focus of revenge is there but the emphasis lies elsewhere. It is in the middle that the drama gets slightly repetitive and a tad too slow. The strained relations of the protagonist with her family is a good addition but a track involving her husband’s friendship with widow seemed pointless(unless the writers weave that into the next season). But the story gets back on track with a terrific shootout sequence which was well shot(but a one take would have been even better). This leads up to a final act which comprises of a startling revelation that nicely sets it up for season 2. Overall, a well written screenplay filled with simmering tension.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but they leave an instant impact and more importantly manage to hold your attention. The BGM is designed perfectly to keep you on your toes and be eager wanting to know what transpires next. Director Atul Monga does a fabulous job here weaving an intriguing tale on a simmering low flame which adds a lot of flavour to the drama.
The performances are excellent here. Amit Singh Thakur as Jayesh Desai was excellent despite a limited screentime. Seema Pahwa and Sarika Singh are seasoned performers and they have their moments to shine, although I wish that they get better scope in the next season. Sandeepa Dhar as Inaya looks pretty and makes her presence felt. Siddhant Mahajan does manage to impress. Omkar Jaiprakash as Keshuv is wonderful to watch and he honestly does a fabulous job. Anubha Fatehpuria is pretty good here. Ankur Ratan as Farooque has a towering screen presence and I enjoyed how layered his character was. Vivek Mushran as Yash is sincere and it was a pleasure watching him onscreen. Vaibhav Raj Gupta as Shekhar is a far cry from his act in Gullak and this performane of his shows his range as an actor. Anant Vidhaat as Prashant is phenomenal and does a great job keeping the audience guessing on whose side he actually is throughout. Prashant Narayan(conceiling his identity as it is a surprise) is brilliant and I wonder why isn’t he seen in more such roles. Raima Sen as Neelam is calculative(her character rather) and she is terrific to watch for the ease with which she portrays. Wamiqa Rabbi as Supriya looks so pretty and has such expressive eyes that you really wished for more of her screentime. She is one actor on whom I will place my money on going forward. Sakshi Tanwar as Sheel aka Mai is the life of the show. Such a layered and nuanced performance this. A character which starts off unassumingly only to bloom as the series progresses. A blistering act indeed!
Mai is a tense and simmering revenge drama that is consistently watchable with some splendid performances! Available on Netflix.