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Maharathi - Movie Review

By Nikhil Kumar
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 19:30 IST

Maharathi Good performances alone do not a film make. You need equally deft direction to transform a good script into a cinematic experience worth spending time and money on.

Maharathi , alas, turns out to be yet another case of missed opportunity. The film, based on a long-running Gujarati play, is a situational thriller with many a twist in its winding trajectory. It has a plot which is essentially suited to the theatre format, and to adapt it to celluloid was always going to be a daunting task for the screenplay writer and director.

The movie tells the story of a petty crook Subhash ( Paresh Rawal ) who saves the life of a rich man Adenwala ( Naseeruddin Shah ) and gets the job as his driver. An ex filmmaker who's drinking himself to death, Adenwala is married to a young pretty but fiery wife Mallika ( Neha Dhupia ) who's favorite pastime seem to be squandering her alcoholic husband's wealth.




Tired of his messed up life, Adenwala commits suicide and leaves behind a whopping insurance sum which the surviving players -- his wife, driver, lawyer ( Boman Irani ) and caretaker ( Tara Sharma ) - want to get their hands on. But there's one problem. They would have to turn the suicide into murder. And somebody has to be the fall guy.

Also in the fray is a sharp-witted cop ( Om Puri ).

On paper - and even on stage - the story sounds quite riveting. But on the big screen, the film turns out to be a ho-hum affair. Even though the performances are brilliant, the build-up in the plot is disjointed and, to some extent, erratic. The trouble lies in director Shivam Nair's telling. Since the story is adapted from a play, long single shots might have been used better to lend intensity and gravity to the unfolding drama.

The actors don't disappoint. Paresh Rawal is the pivotal player flanked by an improved Neha Dhupia (only when she's not yelling her lungs out) and a convincing Tara Sharma. Naseer, expectedly, towers over all, while Om Puri has a briefer role.

Despite such a talented ensemble, director Shivam Nair botches up 'Maharathi' with his shoddy direction, giving you only a few edge-of-the-seat moments in this thanda thriller.

Nothing great about this 'Maharathi'.

Rating: **



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