In 1975, Gulzar made a political film called Aandhi, in which Suchitra Sen’s character was said to be based on Indira Gandhi. From there till now, we have seen films like The Accidental Prime Minister based on the tenure of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi, a biopic based on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Although many successful films based on politics have been produced in Punjab and South India, apart from films with political backgrounds such as youth, politics, Gulal or Maachis, such experiments have been reduced in Hindi films. Ever since the OTT platforms have come, there has been a lot of content based on politics. Be it the story of a political family like the famous web series Tandav or Mirzapur or City of Limits, some of the content was very good, some was very rubbish. Those watching ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix in English might find the Hindi content weak. Amidst all this, a new web series has knocked on Sony Liv – Maharani.
This is the story of Bihar politics of 80s and 90s. If seen thick, the story seems to be influenced by the stories that happened in the life of famous mass leader Lalu Yadav and his religious wife Rabri Devi. Caste based politics, Forward-backward, Upper caste, Lower caste, Untouchability, Naxalism raising its head at the behest of the government, Unprecedented corruption, Empty safes of the government, Politics of defection, In the midst of massacres in villages, the police and its police are considered ineffective. There is a lovely story in the midst of politics, the Queen.
Chief Minister Bhima Bharti (Soham Shah) is the husband of Rani Bharti (Huma Qureshi), who is shot by two unidentified assailants during Chhath Puja. There is an earthquake in the politics of Bihar and many hyenas and vultures start hovering in the hope of the corpse. These include, Health Minister Naveen Kumar (Amit Sial), Party President Gauri Shankar Pandey (Vineet Kumar), Governor Goverdhan Das (Atul Tiwari). The injured Chief Minister plays a trick and gets his illiterate wife Rani to be the Chief Minister. The story follows how Rani, brought up as a pawn on the political chessboard, confronts rivals bigger than herself and, with the help of her Officer on Special Duty Kaveri (Kani Kushruti), makes decisions based on personal experiences. and runs the state smoothly.
Huma Qureshi’s acting is fine. He has acting ability but such places in the role were few. Huma had the scope to do a lot in emotional scenes. On the first day in the Secretariat as Chief Minister, he said that all men are giving flowers to a married woman, it does not look good. By not seeing women in their party meeting, they think that there are no women in it… Apart from this, there were many scenes like serving her injured husband, handling the children after the husband was attacked, presenting her side in front of the husband, watching the children go away from the hands where Huma could have done more good work, but alas, She was a little behind there. An illiterate woman who counts 5 less 50 to count 45, she starts speaking 985 crores in a big way in 4 months… this thing is a little less digestible. The scene of an illiterate homeless housewife being forcibly made chief minister could have turned out well, but it is shot in such a superficial manner that the contradiction is lost somewhere. In this episode, when Huma, without caring about her opponents, gives speeches without stopping in the house… This radical change that comes in her character comes suddenly… It knocks the audience .
Sohum Shah is a tough actor. He has also proved his mettle in this web series. In only two places, he is not happy with the decisions of his wife and expresses his opinion and his frustration is visible. He is seen accepting the queen’s move forward. Amit Sial impressed everyone with his strong acting in Pagle Kathmandu Connection for a few days, now even in Maharani, Kayan dominates the screen as a politician. Amit has a lot of potential but he is becoming a bit typecast. Rest of the characters are also good and due to the seasoned cast, their roles also leave a proper impression.
There are some drawbacks in this series, which sting. There is no novelty in the story at all. Trick on trick, defection, cheating, changing party at the last minute or turning your defeat into victory by playing tricks like a trump card, similar stories are seen in this series. Since the 90s have been shown in the series, in those days mobile phones were probably not being used so easily in Bihar. A number of Babajis have also been kept under Typical Mal Masala, whose ashram is visited by illegal people. While there are glimpses of Brahminism, there is also police corruption in which Bihar DGP Siddhartha Gautam (Kannan Arunachalam) is confused that he is a Dalit, or has been posted in Bihar for 35 years and he is an IPS called from South India.
The Queen’s problem is that all the political maneuvers that take place in this story have been seen by the audience in some web series or film, so the audience is not surprised when any leader changes color, rather it had to happen. Like react. No one is surprised or regretted by changing sides of any character, but when a move is made on the chess of politics, then no one sympathizes with the queen. If she takes oath, then it seems dramatic that her getting stuck again and again and trying to pronounce difficult words of Hindi. The possibilities in the queen were endless. It could have taken the form of a great satire. Could have worked to completely expose the politics of Bihar. The work that Shruti Seth did in Prakash Jha’s film Rajneeti, a similar character keeps roaming with the dream of becoming a cabinet minister.
Nandan Singh and Uma Shankar Singh have written this series. Jolly LLB’s Subhash Kapoor has composed this series and directed by Karan Sharma. Except Subhash Kapoor, no one’s name has reached the general audience. Karan has driven the story in a straight line in one lane. Flashback is rarely used. All the plots are negligible and because of this there is a lack of weight in political activities. This was the first time for Karan to direct such a big web series and because of this he did not want to take any risk. His work is satisfactory, producer’s money has been used properly. Cinematography, editing and music are also good but unable to make extra impact.
There are few abuses in Maharani which is very less as compared to any serial, web series or film from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar background. There is a big interference of Bahubali and criminals in the politics of Bihar, they are less visible in this series. By turning the fodder scam into a food scam, the manufacturers must be feeling themselves safe. It should generally be avoided as there is no novelty in this kind of series, but still it will be some fun to know who the characters are based on in real life. Looks like its next season can be made.
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