Banner: Shri Ashtavinayak Cine Visions
Producer: Dhilin Mehta
Director: Shivam Nair
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Neha Dhupia, Naseeruddin Shah, Boman Irani, Tara Sharma, Om Puri, and Vivek Shauq
It is being said that Maharathi is the adaptation of a Gujarati play. Having not seen the play, one really can’t comment on how well it has been adapted. But as a film, Maharathi does not thrill as much as you’d probably like. While in a play there is a sense of watching events unfold in the same space as you are, in films you’re reduced to being a mere spectator.
Giving due credit, Maharathi does have an interesting plot. The film shifts the power ball from one character to another, giving them each room to perform and making the plot interesting. It’s a different thing that a few of the actors don’t care much about what they are doing in the film.
After saving Adenwalla (Naseeruddin Shah) from a car crash, Subhash (Paresh Rawal) is asked by a grateful and always drunk Adenwalla to work for him. But his entry into the Adenwalla household is faced with resistance from Mallika (Neha Dhupia), Shah’s haughty and arrogant wife.
With tiffs galore and a gunshot, Shah is dead leaving an insurance policy of Rs 24 crores and a secret will. Hatching a plan to split it in half, Mallika and Subhash go the extra mile to ensure everything is taken care of. In this process they bring in Swati (Tara Sharma), an unsuspecting girl to take care of the already dead Shah.
Meanwhile, also butting in is family friend and lawyer AD Merchant (Boman Irani) who is busy trying to solve the case for himself and then there is ACP Gokhale (Om Puri) who is solving it as his duty. With deceit, money and loads of twists and turns, Maharathi unfolds.
As you would have already figured, Maharathi is filled with characters with each one sharing similar screen space. An interesting premise is treated with the right kind of lines and moments. In a film such as this, the place and the minor details take supreme importance; and kudos to Nair for ensuring that it is done so.
However, the film, despite the interesting plot and well-thought structure, is time consuming and extended. You end up sitting through tiffs, murder, deceit and a whole lot more; things that are inconsequential to you or the film. For example, the film pays exceeding amounts of importance to the marital life between Shah and Dhupia, but fails to deliver a single valid reason as to why Shah would want to kill himself. A further inconsequential flashback into Shah’s life just doesn’t make any sense nor does the fact that Subhash was a small time crook. Even if one assumes that these were done to give the character depth, nothing is achieved.
While the film’s treatment is commendable, the editing is a different story. The slickness that is required in a thriller such as this is missing. Neither is the music spectacular nor has it been used as an important element in the film. The film gives each character importance, but then some of the actors just fail to put up a convincing act which spoils the entire fare.
As to the performances by the actors, none of the other actors shine, except Rawal. Shah comes, does his bit, and is soon seen dead. Puri looks bored playing the ACP as does Irani playing a lawyer. Dhupia and Sharma are terrible. Neither of them is convincing and since both of their characters are crucial, the film falls flat in their parts.
Maharathi certainly has a wonderful premise and a brilliant performance by Rawal. But besides that, the film has nothing novel to offer. So think twice before wanting to watch this fare.