Maharani

This true blue political drama, set in Bihar milieu, offers a potent concoction of politics, corruption, casteism, patriarchy and a fascinating woman lead. 

Director – Karan Sharma

Writer – Subhash Kapoor

Plot

When popular Bihar CM Bhima Bharti is shot by unknown assailants, his wife Rani is forced into a city and field she extremely despises. She is an uneducated, unpolished village simpleton who cares for naught but her chulha, chauka, chaara and most precious live herd.

All hell breaks lose when this woman from the roots finally finds her roots in the arena ruled by men.

Analysis

There’s something very attractive about story settings with an authentic social setting and lingo.

And when such a story is based around politics and has woman as a protagonist, that makes it all the more fascinating. Add to that, a fabulous cast and all this could make for a heady cocktail.

How heady the cocktail could be would actually depend what your expectations are and to what extent your knit picking could badger your mind.

The Highs

The story is very engaging through out and becomes almost riveting once it picks up pace somewhere around midway. The twists and turns keep you hooked.

The nexus of politics, corruption, religion, casteism, oppression and patriarchy has been amplified in a simplified manner. The casteist oppression depicted is harsh and shocking. Sadly and ironically, the patriarchic and misogynist attitude depicted does not surprise.

The detailing of costumes and get up (specially Huma Qureshi) is noteworthy. Dialogues and lingo add to the overall effect.

The most impressive thing that the series boasts of, is its star cast and their performances which shine and impress. It was a pleasure to see some of the lesser known and new faces churning out impressive performances.

The Lows

I personally feel that the writing had scope of being better. 

Unearthing of the scam and the departmental operations of the ministries was over simplified and looked amateur at places. In an attempt to bring in dramatic humour and sketch Rani’s character, they went a little overboard and irritatingly unreal at times. I also felt sags and loopholes at some points. 

But the good aspect is that the stellar cast holds fort even when the writing sags.

Performances

Huma Qureshi’s (Rani) get the lions share of attention and applause. She shoulders the show with aplomb.

I was personally most impressed with Amit Sial (Naveen) and his nuanced performance. His body language, minor gestures and expressions were noteworthy.

Sohum Shah( Bhima) had a complex character and gets a chance to showcase his finesse towards the later half with his distinctive style and tone.

There were others that were a pleasant surprise like Ajay Pal as the grey SP (The famous or rather infamous Nandu to whom Akshay explains the importance sanitary pads), Aashiq Hussain as Prem Kumar, Vineet Kumar as Gaurishankar Pandey, Atul Tiwari as Governor (the minister VIP from the famed 3 idiots college function), Kani Kusruti as OSD to CM, Pramod Pathak as the secretary and advisor to Sohum Shah, Kannan Arunachalam as DGP. I quite liked Sushil Pandey ( Kunwar Singh) and Harish Khanna( Shankar Mohanty) for their understated portrayals.

For me, all these actors were as much a reason that I liked the show, as the three main leads. That always reminds me what a boon OTTs are, to be showcasing talent like this to the pleasure of the audience.

Overall it was an interesting watch and worth looking forward to the second season which hopefully should come out brighter and tighter.

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