Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Gajraj Rao, Simone Singh, Ritwik Bhowmik, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajit Kapoor, Shrishti Shrivastava, Barkha Singh
Director: Anand Tiwari
A film centred around the striking and talented Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit comes with a certain feminine expectation and this new Amazon Prime release does live up to that vibe.
Pallavi Patel (Dixit) is an adored matriarch and the reigning garba queen in her hometown in Gujarat. Not only do her husband Manohar Patel (Rao) and children – daughter Tara (Shrivastava) and son Tejas (Bhowmik) – depend upon her for just about everything, but so do all the women of the neighbourhood. From garba moves and community event preparations to fashion advice and cooking the best Gujarati delicacies, Pallavi is clearly a superwoman to them all.
MORE LIKE THIS…
When US-based Tejas clears a particularly daunting lie detector test imposed by his millionaire Punjabi non-resident Indian (NRI) parents-in-law to be – Bob and Pam Hansraj (Kapoor and Chaddha) – he is excited about introducing his fiancée Esha (Barkha Singh) to his family and humble abode in Gujarat. But will a cheeky home video shot by his little niece purportedly revealing Pallavi’s sexual orientation as a lesbian prove one revelation too far for his conservative in-laws?
As a film trying to break barriers and address contentious issues, ‘Maja Ma’ fails to rise to the desired level of finesse that would have lifted this mediocre offering to a more impressive plane. It feels like the entire film is left on the shoulders of Dixit and Rao, both of whom give very credible performances.
MORE LIKE THIS…
However, what is missing is some depth to the very serious social stigma and taboo issues that the film set out to address. Simone Singh, another amazing acting talent, feels wasted in her poorly fleshed out character and overall the script is left flapping about like the many melodious garba moves. The over-exaggerated American accents and other elements intended to inject laughter in this misplaced comedy only add to the script losing its way even further.
While there is enough in here for Madhuri Dixit fans and anyone keen to travel through the sumptuous locales of Gujarat from a distance, that is about all the fun ‘Maja Ma’ is able to offer audiences.