Sometimes you decide to watch a film or series for a certain actor, sometimes because you’re a fan of the director’s work and sometimes it’s the production house which develops your interest and Netflix’s latest, “Mai”, belongs to that exact lot. I have been a huge admirer of Clean Slates Filmz for the quality content they have delivered in such a short span of time right from their very first release “NH10”. Helmed by Anshai Lal and Atul Mongia, “Mai” is their latest offering which is a crime thriller set against the backdrop of to what extent a mother can go for her child.
“Mai” is a story about Sheel Chaudhary (played by Sakshi Tanwar) a typical middle class woman who works as a nurse at an old age home in Lucknow. Her world shatters when her impaired daughter Supriya (played by Wamiqa Gabbi) dies in front of her eyes in a mysterious accident. To everyone what seemed like a normal accident initially wasn’t one and Sheel realized it quickly and decided to go into its depth to discover the truth.
Sakshi Tanwar, whom we have grown up watching playing the typical sanskari bahu on television, gives a phenomenal performance as Sheel Chaudhary. With her versatile acting skills she manages to impress everyone and proved it once again that she can pull off any role with much ease. Her straight-from-the heart performance as a vulnerable mother made her pain look so believable that at some point it made all of us teary eyes. But as an audience we would have absolutely loved it if the writers would have explored Sheel and Supriya’s bond more deeply rather than keeping it superficial.
Was Supriya’s death a murder or accident? Will Sheel succeed in avenging her daughter’s death? And if so, how? The answers to these questions form the crux of this series that stretches for six long episodes spanning around 50-55 minutes each.
As the show proceeds ahead a lot of twists and characters are introduced adding layers to the story, making us realise it’s much more than just a murder mystery. But as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. The editing by Manas Mittal could definitely have been a little better as some of the scenes feel so unecessarily dragged and they keep testing the audience’s patience whereas some of the parts could have been explored a little more- for instance, Seema Pathwa’s character.
Nevertheless, “Mai” surely has its moments which will stay with you for some time. Take for example, in one of the scenes we see Sheel searching clues for her daughter’s death in a garbage bag and she finds a child’s hand in it, to which someone says, “Ladki hogi, yahan bahut milenge aise.” The line puts another harsh truth of the society on screen, where killing girl children has been absolutely normalised. And in that one moment as a girl you feel nothing but privileged for something that is your basic right.
On the performance front, Sakshi Tanwar is the heart and soul of “Mai”. She carries the show on her shoulder right from the beginning. Raima Sen as Neelam, a female gangster did a neat job. The two ladies are the biggest plus points of the show.
Then there’s Vivek Mushram who is convincing as Yash, Sheel’s husband who runs a chemist store and lives in the shadow of his elder brother and his wife. Ankur Ratan is refreshing in the role of cop as Farooque Siddiqui who’s on a mission to expose the medical scam. On a whole, a decent star cast with decent performance. Despite being set against the backdrop of crime thriller “Mai” manages to maintain the violence part aptly without getting over the top.
To sum up, if you’re someone who has already seen the Sridevi starrer “Mom” or Raveena Tandon’s “Maatr”, you’re going to find the series a little repetitive with its already dragged runtime it might fail to keep you enthralled, except in a few parts. But to the new audiences, it’s going to be entertaining and engaging; a near perfect suspense thriller.
“Mai” is now streaming on Netflix.