Maharathi has a fabulous star cast consisting of the Naseerudin Shah, Om Puri, Paresh Rawal, Neha Dhupia, Boman Irani and Tara Sharma. The movie is an adaptation of a Gujarati play, which was quite a rage with the locals causing director Shivam Nair to make this murder mystery into a full fledged film. Post Ahista Ahista, which received positive feedback, this is Nair’s second venture. Read on to see if he managed to live up to the hype that the theatrical play created.
Maharathi tells the story of Jai Adenwalla (Naseeruddin Shah) who is saved by a wannabe actor cum crook by the name of Subash Sharma (Paresh Rawal) when he is involved in a car accident. Greedy Sharma then accompanies the injured ex filmmaker Adenwalla back to this home where he meets Adenwalla’s much younger wife Mallika (Neha Dhupia). Sharma expresses his need for work, and is quickly hired on to be a driver for the Adenwalla household. Fed up with his wife’s constant taunting and spend thrift ways, Adenwalla decides to commit suicide challenging his wife to obtain the insurance money once he is dead. To Mallika’s surprise, insurance is not paid for suicide and thus, she takes the help of Subash to manipulate her husband’s death into a murder. The set up includes the hiring of a fake housekeeper (Tara Sharma) and an even more fake lawyer Mr. Merchant (Boman Irani). However, all comes crumbling down, when the official assigned to their case is the firm and suspicious Gokhale (Om Puri). This begins a rollercoaster ride of whodunits et al.
The major problem with the script is the amount of loopholes and flaws that are left wide open. As a member of the audience, we question the reason behind Adenwalla’s suicide. Additionally, why did he trust Sharma so quickly? The movie tries to build up momentum, which ultimately never actually comes. Even the climax is weak and half-baked.
The cast makes the movie worth watching. Naseeruddin Shah is in his element as usual even in his small role. Neha Dhupia is improving with every film and this is no different. Tara Sharma is apt. We would have liked to have seen more of Om Puri. Boman Irani is his wacky self. The movie belongs to the fabulous Paresh Rawal. He pulls off this character of Subash Sharma with complete ease, making him look the most believable from the rest of the players. He is definitely one actor who proves time an time again, that he can take a role, make it his own and score big time.
The script is very interesting however it seems like it would do wonders on stage but does not do as well on screen. Shivam’s execution and effort is visible throughout and he deserves credit for that. Most of the movie is shot within the confinements of a house, and yet, he manages to keep the audience engaged in watching the movie albeit the weak script.
It is hard to define this movie into a genre as it fits into a multitude; with shades of being a dark comedy, a possible drama and definitely a murder mystery it makes for quite an interesting watch. Maharathi is watchable but don’t go in expecting any edge riveting moments. Take my advice: catch this one on DVD or not at all.