Maharani Web Series Review. After watching Bombay Begums, Chakravyuh and The Las Hour I was beginning to lose hope in Web Series. Maharani is a work of art.
By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 30, 2021
The Essence: A word of mention to the dialogues that stand out, cinematography and the tone of the film that gives it a dated look. After watching Bombay Begums, Chakravyuh and The Las Hour, I was beginning to lose hope in Web Series. Maharani is not just another web series that meanders into no man’s land. It’s a work of art, delicately crafted.
Maharani, the first scene
Two gunshots, out of the blue, keep you rooted to your couch. Let me correct that; while the gunshots slam you out of your reverie, the mood is already set in the first scene itself. The opening scene captures the mood of the political drama carefully crafted by Subhash Kapoor. There’s not a character out of sync, not a file out of place. Every scene is dealt with care. So is the issue of the caste divide.
Very often, there are scenes right upfront that promise a lot, but fail to deliver as the series progresses. Himanshu Mehta strides onto the small screen with aplomb and leaves a lasting impact with a minuscule role. The intensity with which the story unfolds reminds me of Paatal Lok.
The story is set in Bihar in 1990. The Chief Minister has to step down after a failed attempt to eliminate him. While the party looks to a new chief from the bed-ridden CM from within the party, the wife is given the chair. Taking inspiration from the life of former Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi, Subhash Kapoor (of Jolly LLB and Phas gaye Re Obama fame) weaves a story of power, greed, corruption, scams and honesty!
The soft-spoken Chief Minister
Directed by Karan Sharma, the credit states Subhash Kapoor as the creator and his stamp is seen in every scene. Bheema Bharti (Sohum Shah) as the Chief Minister of Bihar is shown as this family man who will do whatever his wife Rani Bharti (Huma Qureshi) tells him. She wants him to leave his post and retire to the village to spend time with her family. He dotes on his family. The respect and love for each other are mutual. He comes across as a soft man not fit for the political arena which requires cunning and greed.
Navin Kumar (Amit Sial) is the leader of the opposition and a one-time friend of the CM. Kumar eyes the chair and wants to be the CM by toppling the current government. His dreams almost come true when Bheema is shot at and resigns. However, at the last minute, eight MLAs join hands with Bheema Bharti (giving him a majority of 60) leaving Navin seething. Then comes the twist in the plot, when Rani is made CM.
Insulted and sneered at on her first day in office, Rani bounces back to prove her detractors wrong. Those who called her uneducated and a zero are left clueless when she pulls the rug from beneath their feet, thinking they were standing on solid ground. Subhash Kapoor brings alive on screen the political game with its machinations. Even the Governor’s role is brought alive to a nicety. Of late, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Governor of Bengal, have been in the news, highlighting their role. Atul Tiwari who essays the role is spot on—mood, mannerism and performance.
A treat by all performers
Speaking of performance, there is not a character that is out of sync. The cast has been carefully chosen and every actor delivers. Inamul Haq as Parvez Alam who unearths the scam within the government is brilliant. Performing within the complexity of his character, he comes out blazing. Ditto Kani Kusruti who plays Kaveri Sridharan, Rani’s secretary. Kani accounts for every scene she is present in, at most times without even having a dialogue. Just her presence means business. She is a lesson in how to act without a line.
Amit Sial as the over-confident Opposition leader who is eager to be a CM portrays his character with the right measure of being ‘green behind the ears’. His impetuous nature and arrogance prove to be his undoing and he characterises these traits in his dialogue delivery and expressions, especially in the last scene with the Governor. Sohum Shah as Bheema Bharti too shines. What is impressive also is how every actor is given a make-over, a complete transformation in look, walk and talk.
Huma Qureshi had long-established her credentials as an actor of repute in Gangs of Wasseypur. However, she never did get roles commensurate to her talent. It’s been a long time in coming, but she has finally gotten a role that measures up to her ability to perform. From start to end, Huma as Rani stands up to her own. Containing herself to the confines of the character, she never once steps out of it. It’s Rani you see. And the final punch she delivers shows everyone that she means business. No one saw it coming, not even her husband.
A word of mention to the dialogues that stand out, the brilliant cinematography and the tone of the film that gives it a dated look. After watching Bombay Begums, Chakravyuh and The Las Hour, I was beginning to lose hope in Web Series. Maharani is not just another web series that meanders into no man’s land—it’s a work of art, delicately crafted.
Producer: Naren Kumar, Dimple Kharbanda
Director: Karan Sharma
Star Cast: Huma Qureshi, Amit Sial, Sohum Shah, Inamul Haq, Kani Kusruti