In the recent past, Bollywood has made movies that represent the stories of characters belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, Badhaai Do, etc., were some of the recent films that presented their romance in that vibrant ambiance. While those movies tried to penetrate the romantic comedy genre, Anand Tiwari is trying his luck with the family drama space through Maja Ma. But the insipid placement of the central conflict and theatrical character reactions reduces the life in the story and becomes yet another preachy film about acceptance.
Pallavi Patel is married to Manohar Patel, and her son Tejas Patel works in the USA. Tejas was in a relationship with an NRI Indian girl Esha. Her parents, Bob and Pam, wanted to come to India and visit Tejas’ family. But while they were paying the visit, a video got leaked on the internet, revealing the reality of Pallavi Patel. With her son’s engagement on the brink of collapse, how Pallavi deals with this situation in an orthodox society is what we see in Maja Ma.
Taboo topics with superstars doing the lead roles are definitely something you feel happy about, as it indicates how an art form is doing its job in a democratic society. But the thing with Maja Ma is that it almost ignores the craft aspect. The loudness of the drama in this movie is such that you might feel that they are trying to educate an audience who might see this movie in a B and C center. But the topic is so niched that it is being premiered on an OTT platform. This mismatch really bothers you as you expect the movie to rise above the genre cliches.
In terms of the visual texture, Anand Tiwari pretty much follows the last web series he did for Amazon Prime Video, Bandish Bandits. While it was a hefty theme, here he is trying to make things light-hearted about a pertinent topic. And Maja Ma can’t really crack that middle ground to make this at least a relatable dysfunctional family drama. To show how the media is ignorant about the whole issue, they have included a scene where a journalist misunderstands LGBTQIA+ protest for LPG price rise protest. The activist sister of Tejas, Tara, has deliberately been made this loud character to make it a dysfunctional family. If Tara had been taught how to be a little more democratic in a conversation, half the confusion in this movie would have got resolved. To make it a Badhaai Ho-like package, they have performance-enhancement jokes featuring the poster boy of the old-life crisis, Gajraj Rao.
For her caliber, Madhuri Dixit might not have found it an extremely challenging character. But Pallavi Patel was a character that demanded someone of her potential and stardom. From being that vibrant and supportive mother to someone who has been hiding her identity, Madhuri has performed really well in Maja Ma. Ritwik Bowmik, in his second outing with Anand Tiwari, was fine as Tejas. Gajraj Rao gets a character who looks like the identical brother of his Badhaai Ho character. Srishti Shrivastava, as Tara, gets an important character that was written poorly. The accent of the characters played by Rajit Kapoor, Sheeba Chaddha, and Barkha Singh somewhere feels very odd. The decision to make Kapoor and Chaddha’s characters somewhat caricatured also feels problematic. Simone Singh as Kanchan was memorable.
If your parent is an extremely orthodox person who has conservative thoughts about the LGBTQIA+ community and is also an ardent fan of Madhuri Dixit, there is a remote possibility that Maja Ma might make them learn more about this topic. Other than that, this lie detector test-driven family drama feels far too basic and generic to move you.
The insipid placement of the central conflict and theatrical character reactions reduces the life in the story and becomes yet another preachy film about acceptance.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended