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Madhuri  Aces The  Gujju Housewife’s Role  In Maja Ma



Maja Ma(Amazon Prime Video)

Maja Ma(Amazon Prime Video)

Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Gajraj Rao, Ritwick Bhowmick

Rating: *** ½

The LGBTQ  community is suddenly getting a  lot of attention  from Bollywood. Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao played  gay characters  recently. Now it is  the  divine Ms Madhuri  Dixit playing  a  Gujarati housewife In Maja Ma  who after  years of  obedient housekeeping  is forced  out  of  the closet.

 Actor  turned  director Anand Tiwari(who did well for himself while helming Bandish Bandits) is on firm ground. He explores the  Gujarati middleclass household and the  gossipy  rigidly conservative  milieu with  confidence.  Once again after The Fame  Game  Madhuri plays  a wife and a mother with dark secrets. This time she is more tragic than mysterious. Wordlessly she slips  into her character Pallavi Patel’s pained  past to dig out  uncomfortable truths.

It is a  bold audacious concept. The  film asks some uncomfortable  questions  about  an individual’s identity within  the domestic domain. But the conclusion to an  inherently messy and unresolvable  situation is  most convenient and  unconvincing. One  feels  that  the director has eventually taken the shortcut at  the end opting for a neat resolution when there is none.

But the  film is no doubt  a whole lot of fun. The festive mood never slips out of the writer’s  and  director’s hands. Some  performances particularly  the redoubtable Sheeba Chadha who as  the NRI  PTMIC(Punjabi turned mod  in confusion) is messcast, and I do mean mess-cast . She is way  too over-the-top to register  as  anything but caricatural.

On the  other hand,some of the other performances blend fluently with the ebullient mood. Gajraj Rao  (as  Madhuri’s  supportive   husband)  , Ninad Kamat ,Simone Singh and  Shristi Shrivastava lend solid  support to Madhuri Dixit’s quietly effective performance.This is a  film where  the  flaws are  easily overlooked in  favour of  the larger picture .

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