MAHARAJ makes an important comment. The protests and legal issues will further increase its viewership Movie Review: MAHARAJ makes an important comment

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Maharaj Review {3.5/5} & Review Rating

Star Cast: Junaid Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shalini Pandey, Sharvari

maharaj makes an important comment the protests and legal issues will further increase its viewership movie review maharaj makes an important comment

Director: Siddharth P Malhotra

Maharaj Movie Synopsis:
MAHARAJ is the story of a reformer’s fight against a priest. The year is 1861. Karsandas Mulji (Junaid Khan) resides in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) with his father Mulji Bhai (Sandeep Mehta), mama and widowed masi (Sneha Desai). Karsandas is a reformer who works with progressive men like Dadabhai Naoroji. He’s a religious man but doesn’t believe in blind faith. He’s engaged to Kishori (Shalini Pandey) and they are all set to marry. Kishori is a devout follower of Jadunathji (Jaideep Ahlawat), the priest of the biggest ‘haveli’ (temple) in Bombay. Jadunathji selects Kishori for a ceremony called ‘charan sparsh’, which involves the priest sleeping with an unmarried woman. Karsandas sees Kishori in a compromising position with the Maharaj and he disowns her. He also questions this practice which he feels exploits women. He decides to raise his voice and as a result, he is disowned by his father. He tries to educate society, but the people of his community don’t see any wrong in letting the Maharaj sleep with the women in their family. On top of that, the Maharaj uses his influence to crush him. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Maharaj Movie Story Review:
MAHARAJ is based on the book of the same name by Saurabh Shah. Vipul Mehta’s adapted story is powerful and progressive. Vipul Mehta’s screenplay (additional screenplay by Sneha Desai) is engaging and is peppered with dramatic moments. Sneha Desai’s dialogues are appropriate for the period in which it is set and are sharp.

Siddharth P Malhotra’s direction is simple. He doesn’t waste time and the story begins from the first scene itself. He also understands the sensitivity of the plot and takes care of it. The film raises several questions but doesn’t attack any religion. Through the protagonist’s talks, it is clear that he’s targeting exploitation in the garb of religion. He also doesn’t go overboard and yet, packs a punch. The scene where Karsandas sees his fiancé with the Maharaj is disturbing but is not titillating. A few other scenes that stand out are Karsandas being ousted from his house, Karsandas’ monologue after the temple is shut and Karsandas challenging the Maharaj. The finale is clapworthy.

On the flipside, after a strong first half, the film loses steam in between. The romantic track is lovely, but it slows down the film in the second half. Also, the defamation case track begins late, and it’s not riddled with tension. In fact, it’s predictable. Lastly, the film gives a déjà vu of similar films and shows in this zone like OMG OH MY GOD, PK, AASHARAM etc.

Maharaj Movie Performances:
Junaid Khan doesn’t have the conventional hero looks and he makes up for it with his acting talent. He’s a bit raw but for a debutant, it’s a fine performance, nevertheless. Jaideep Ahlawat leaves a tremendous mark, as expected. The most amazing thing about his act is how his character is compelled to smile and can’t vent his anger. The way he manages to put it forward is praiseworthy. Shalini Pandey is adorable and shines in an emotional scene. Sharvari has a crucial role, though she’s credited under ‘Special Appearance’. She adds to the film’s laughter quotient and gets into the skin of her character as a lady with a strong Gujarati accent. Jay Upadhyay (Giridhar Khawas) lends able support and suits the part. Sanjay Goradia (Nanubhai) is adorable. Sneha Desai (Bhabhu) is memorable. Sandeep Mehta, Kamlesh Oza (Shaam ji), Priyal Gor (Leelavati), Sunil Gupta (Dadabhai Naoroji), Utkarsh Mazumdar (Lalvanji Maharaj), Jamie Alter (defence lawyer), Mark Bennington (prosecutor), Edward Sonnenblick (Judge Sausse) and Vaibhav Tatwawadi (Dr Bhau Daji Lad) are fair.

Maharaj music and other technical aspects:
Sohail Sen’s music is lovely. ‘Holi Ke Rang Maa’ is foot-tapping, vibrant and can become a rage on the Festival of Colours. ‘Haan Ke Haan’ is sweet, but it also lengthens the film. ‘Achutam Keshavam’, sung by Sonu Nigam, is soulful. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara’s background score has a cinematic feel.

Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography is satisfactory. Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray’s production design is researched. Maxima Basu’s costumes are straight out of the bygone era and also have a glamorous appeal. Hive FX’s VFX is fine but could have been better in certain scenes. Shweta Venkat’s editing is neat.

Maharaj Movie Conclusion:
On the whole, MAHARAJ picks up a controversial topic but also makes an important comment. The protests and the legal issues faced by the film have created tremendous curiosity and will further increase its viewership.

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