We are still a day away from the weekend but the new releases have started pouring in. And with that I finished watching the new Hindi film Maja Ma starring Madhuri Dixit and streaming on Amazon Prime. It is always refreshing to witness a family drama especially at the start of the festive season. In times of thrillers and mysteries, something that has been a bit of an overdose lately, Rom-Coms and Family Drama are often a breath of fresh air if executed well. So when the trailer of Maja Ma began to do the rounds, it seemed like a sweet little family drama which was ideal for the Dussehra period. The film was finally out last night and I finished watching it. Here are my two cents on the Hindi film Maja Ma.
Story & Screenplay
Maja Ma follows the story of two families who meet for the wedding of their children until a viral videos begins to disrupt things. Now I am being extremely cautious about not revealing the major twist in the plot. But credit to the marketing team for concealing that big twist from its trailer and added a nice little shock value while watching the film. The twist which I am referring to, makes the subject of the film novel atleast for the Hindi speaking audience. The screenplay standing at 135 minutes may have been a little too long for a subject like this but there is much to like here in the writing department.
The drama starts off on a very wobbly note and one reason for that could have been the accent of a few characters. Well honestly, it was a major distraction for me and probably a better approach could have been to keep things simple. Thankfully you do get used to this fact when some of the other characters are introduced. Now I cannot discuss the writing here without mild spoilers. So spoilers ahead, viewers discretion is advised!
The twist in the tale comes very early on in the drama which instantly catches you off guard. The entire topic revolving around the LGBTQ community has a sensitive one and finally Bollywood is coming to terms with it in terms of its accurate representation. Moreover, the topic needs to be represented as a new form of normalcy and lately credit must be given to Bollywood for this very fact of portraying the members of the LGBTQ community with utmost sensitivity. So when one of the characters in the film was leading its movement, I felt like an interesting approach to the family drama given its setting. But the following scene completely turns the film on its head, giving it a whole new point of discussion.
And honestly, I did like the fact that the phrase “coming out of the closet” was given a whole new meaning. We often look past our parents while referring to these problems with the focus being on the Gen Z, but what if your parents are going through the same feeling? The screenplay is fresh and poignant and adds a new layer of discussion within this space. The proceedings are light and frothy with a couple of weird twists(like the lie detector test being conducted frequently) which did seem far fetched. But credit to the writers for also being self aware of this fact with the point of reference being one of the characters calling this as “ridiculous”.
The slight minus point in the screenplay is that its middle portion kind of goes around in circles. I feel crucial minutes were wasted in the middle which unnecessarily added crucial minutes to the overall runtime. Now there would also be certain section of the audience who would question the representation of one of the characters of the LGBTQ community by making others around her less sensitive. But that is the film, about self realisation. As per me, this ain’t a flaw! Some of the confrontational scenes are the highlights of the screenplay.
The final act and the subsequent events leading up to it are really heartfelt and you will slowly witness your heart melting as the drama does unfold onscreen. The writers cut the frivolous quotient and focus on the emotions which are subtle and quite heartwarming which will make you connect to the drama. So overall, the screenplay is nicely written and would have been even better if the extra flab was cut out.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are slightly on the frivolous side but they are emotional and poignant as well towards the end. The music is fabulous and adds a lot of colour to the drama. The BGM is adequate and does a fair job in enhancing the drama. The cinematography and art design with the use of bright colours give the film a fresh and a young look. The editing is good as well. Director Anand Tiwari does a fabulous job here in adding a new dimension to the already sensitive topic of discussion. He is able to engage the audience with a drama which is consistently watchable but also heartfelt and poignant in many ways.
The performances are really good here. Ivanka Das as Komal, Simran Nerurkar as Young Pallavi and Kkhushi Khanna as Young Kanchan all shine despite a limited screen time. Ninad Kamat as Moolchand, Kavin Dave as Viral and Malhar Thakar as Pinakin are all first rate. Rajit Kapoor as Bob is fabulous as the misogynist father who speaks in an American accent. Sheeba Chaddha aa Pam is outstanding and the “fake” American accent went so well with her pretentious character. Simone Singh as Kanchan is fabulous to watch and her confrontational scene in the cable car is one of the highlights of the film. Barkha Singh as Esha does a good job too but her American accent was slightly distracting and odd to begin with. But slowly she settles into her character well.
Gajraj Rao as Manohar is a delight to watch and he effortlessly contributes to some of the lighter moments of the screenplay. Srishti Shrivastava aa Tara is perhaps the best actor on display here. She holds her own beautifully and delivers an absolute knockout performance. Ritwik Bhowmik as Tejas is wonderfully restrained with a lovely character arc wherein he does full justice to it. Madhuri Dixit as Pallavi is an absolute joy to watch. She conveys so much through her ever so expressive eyes in a performance which is really heartfelt. And she looks pretty every time she flashes her disarming smile in what was a layered but a towering performance.
Maja Ma is a very different and a heartfelt family drama which will definitely catch you off guard making it a pretty good watch. Available on Amazon Prime.