Digital Review: ‘Maska’

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With most of the world currently quarantined inside their homes, it seems the world of film-making is still generating new things to watch via online streaming sites. The most recent release to start streaming on everyone’s Netflix accounts is Neeraj Udhwani’s ‘Maska’; a fun-loving film promising a few laughs and a tear or two. The question is, does this film live up to the expectations of many online films currently making their mark with the audiences?

Rumi (Prit Kamani) dreams of becoming an actor. Listening to positive vibe podcasts and reading about the law of attraction, his dreams know no boundaries. His mother, Dina Irani (Manisha Koirala) however dreams of her only son finishing his studies and taking over her late husband Rustam Irani’s (Javed Jaaferi) cafe, which is also their family legacy. Stuck between his mother’s dreams and that of his own, Rumi moves in with his girlfriend Mallika Chopra (Nikita Dutta) who quickly gets her break in the showbiz world. When things don’t seem to go anywhere for Rumi, he eventually comes across an opportunity of a lifetime, however, it comes at a cost which stands as an ultimate test for him. Will he jeopardise his mother’s dreams or will he carry on the family legacy that brings the Parsi community together?

Koirala has always been a joy to watch on screen and this film is no different. Giving a heartfelt performance, she is passionate, enticing and has a brilliant way of keeping her audience engaged. Out of everyone, Koirala is the one who gives her viewers the most laughs and the most cries, and she lights up every scene she’s in. Fairly new to the film world, Kamani plays his role as the lead as honestly as he can. However, there seems to be a general spark missing in his performance and it feels he has simply gone with what Udhwani has told him to do. His chemistry with Dutta is almost believable, however, completely lost when it comes to interacting with Shirley Setia who plays another love interest in the film. Their pairing seems more comfortable in the friendship zone rather than as lovers. Only being his third on-screen role, this is a good attempt from Kamani and he does show some potential. Known for his comedy, Jaaferi is also a great addition to the cast. Playing the ghost of Rumi’s dad, his anecdotes and typical dad jokes also brings in some chuckles. Dutta is also placed perfectly in her role as the humble yet glamorous girlfriend, who is able to differentiate between her life and Rumi’s. Bringing her best to the screen, Dutta shows she is definitely one to look out for. Setia is the hardest performance to place and one that is confusing for the audience to understand as to what her actual role is. Though her character’s main role is to be the narrator of what the cafe means to the community, it seems Udhwani developed her character to have an interest in Rumi for the sake of it, and that times their scenes become a little too cringy. 

Much known for his short films and series dramas, ‘Maska’ is a good attempt by Udhwani to cater his film-making to a younger audience. He’s made a good, light-hearted film telling a humble story that though becomes predictable, can be forgiven due to its simplicity. Udhwani has used the film’s music as background songs for different scenes, which works well in moving the story forward. It’s fair to say there is room for the story to have developed a little faster, and a little more dramatic at points, but it is still decent viewing. 

Overall, ‘Maska’ is a good watch and one that could be put on if you wanted to watch something that isn’t too much to think about. However, if you’re looking for a heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping, inching-to-the-edge-of-your-seat watch, then you may want to give this one a miss. It has the fun factor, with a little suspense, which ends on a happy note. Most performances are carried out well, but Koirala’s is the only one that stands out as the best. The music also gives it a slight edge, but there’s not much else that gives the film a lot to think about. Standing as a good introduction for the emerging actors it involves, it just doesn’t stand out as much as some of the other films that have recently been released.

 

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