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Bucket List Movie Review: It Is Madhuri’s  English Vinglish

Bucket List(Marathi)

Starring Madhuri Dixit, Renuka Shahane, Sumeet Raghavan

Directed  by Tejas Vijay Deoskar

Rating: ** ½(two and a  half stars)

  I was looking forward  to seeing  Madhuri Dixit’s Marathi debut. She is after all, a Maharashtrian and it seems  a shame that she had to wait until the roles dried up in Hindi to  move to her mother tongue.  Bucket List  seemed  like a good opportunity to make up for lost time.

Sadly this well-intended but fractured excessively sweetened  film about a housewife living out a list of daring(daring , by her conservative standards)  fantasies  is  a  bit of a letdown.  For  one  Bucket List seems more about the actress Madhuri’s  than  her character Madhura’s bucket list.

Outdoing Sridevi  was always a secret yearning  that Madhuri nursed.In their heydays Sridevi was  No.1, Madhuriwas  no 2. As   simple as  that.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here  you have it . Madhuri Dixit doing Sridevi’s English  Vinglish. In both,  the female hero plays a Marathi housewife who at some  point  decides she wants to explore  experiences outside marriage, children and  home. In both the  husband is  a  shadowy  figure played  with confident persuasion  by actors who  know how to flesh out their sketchily written roles.Adil Hussain and Sumeet Raghavan are interchangeable in English Vinglish and Bucket List .And they are  both  equally replaceable  with Vinod Mehra if this film had been made in the 1970s which it easily could have been  .

 The focus  is  on Madhuri Dixit as she  tucks the pallu of her saree into her still-slim waist and takes  off  on what she considers  to  be daring adventures. Both Madhuri/Madhura and  the film’s benign-hearted  writer-director seem to be inflicted  by  the yearning to keep the proceedings sweet and  dignified to the point of being disarmingly dull.

Sometimes  it’s hard to tell where Madhuri ends and  Madhura begins.And  I don’t mean that  in a complimentary way.For example the bucket-list , borrowed  from her  dead heart donor’s  subconscious, mentions the dead  girl Sai’s desire to wear a bikini on a beach. That wish remains unfulfilled to the end. I am not sure who refused to wear the bikini. Madhura or Madhuri.

Madhura’s adventures seem  embarrassingly tame .They echo what Raima Sen  tried 11 years  ago in Reema  Kagti’sHoneymoon Travels Pvt Ltd.As  the  ever-beaming Madhura , Madhuri occupies almost every frame. Though he ticks off all the  boxes in the  “Sallu Ki Wishlist” roster  of a  workingclass housewife’s need to fly, she does nothing here that she hasn’t done before.Madhuri is still a  delight to watch. But we didn’t need this film to prove it.

 Bucket List seems  to have been conceived only to flatter its leading lady. In  the process talented actors like RenukaShahane, Shubha  Khote, Dilip Prabhalkar and Sumedh Mudgalkar(giving a  heartfelt performance as  the heart donor’s  twin brother) barely get a chance to come  out of the shadows. When they do,we get an inkling of what this film could have been  if it had its heart  in the right place. Or maybe too much heart and very little  mind is the problem.

If you want to see a solidly performed  powerfully written film on a middleclass housewife’s middle aged rebellion try Tabu in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Astitva or Smita Patil in Jabbar Patel’s Subah.

Or better still watch English Vinglish again.

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