Music and acting are the forte of the film
Last Updated: 09.00 AM, Jan 14, 2023
Story: Soumitra Lahiri (Indrasish Roy) attempts to make a biopic on Maayakumari – yesteryear’s superstar. His friend and lead actor Ahir Chatterjee (Abir Chatterjee) suggests upcoming model Runi (Arunima Ghosh) play the lead. Ahir, meanwhile, plays the character of his grandfather Kanan Kumar, yesteryear’s superstar, and Maayakumari’s love interest. Through his film, Soumitra tries to explore why Maayakumari left the glamour world unceremoniously and the film turns into a tale of betrayal and revenge.
Review: Maayakumari is a complex tale of love and betrayal. However, conceiving and executing too many ideas at once, in fact, blunted the edges of a potentially multidimensional movie. It is a film inside a film dotted with references to other films. It remains more captivating in the first half and gets diverted now and then in the second half.
The strength of the film is its music and acting. It is not every day we get a good album out of a Bengali film. Billed as a musical, Maayakumari presents a fascinating soundscape with retro-style numbers. Madhubanti Bagchi’s Madhu Mashe, Ujjaini Mukherjee and Haimanti Shukla’s Ami Ke, Iman Chakraborty’s Bhalobeshe Eto Jjala, and Manomoy Bhattacharya’s Sarata Din Por are some of the most delectable songs in recent times. They are melodious and take us back in time. Bickram Ghosh has done a very interesting job for sure.
We have some brilliance in the acting department also. Sauraseni Maitra shines bright as Nandini. She has an effortless swag that has worked in favour of the character. With every film that he does, Ambarish Bhattacharya proves to be one of the most natural actors in our generation. Maayakumari is no exception. Indrashish Roy also delivers a convincing performance. Maayakumari will definitely be one of the defining markers in Arunima Ghosh’s career. She is awesome as Runi and Maayakumari in the film. We see Rajatava Dutta under prosthetic makeup most of the time as the elderly Sheetal Bhattacharya. But he does an amazing job with his voice which makes him a credible elderly man. Abir brings out the charm of his usual self. And finally, Ritruparna proves why she is the numero uno in the industry. She romances Abir exquisitely, expresses dependence on Rajatava convincingly, and looks fabulous on screen all at the same time. However, her archaic diction sounds off the place, especially while she talks to Arunima.
The film falters on various occasions, especially in dialogues. A set of period dialogues does not need to be unsmart. The conversations could have been tighter. Rituparna’s dialogues, especially, are the weakest links in the film.
Another problem is its shoddy makeup. The makeup of Abir as young Kanan Kumar and of Rajatava as elderly Sheetal Bhattacharya is convincing. However, the makeup of Rituparna as elderly Maayakumari and Abir as elderly Kanan Kumar is shoddy. The heavy prosthetic makeup can be baggage that a film gets to carry on its shoulder.
The other problem is the storyline of the film. It has a loose inspiration from Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone’s Om Shanti Om – a film that paid homage to the ‘golden era of Bollywood’. However, on several occasions, Maayakumari follows a simplistic storyline – sometimes too good to be true. For example, coincidentally selecting Maayakumari’s resident for the shooting house is too simplistic and unexplained. On the other hand, Ahir’s character is too straightforward that lacks basic human nuances. He has his share of heartbreaks and letdowns and those are not captured in the film.
Verdict: Maayakumari has its limitations. Despite that, it is a nice film to watch. It has its cinematic moments to entertain and keep you hooked to the screen. Also, Maayakumari is a film that is best enjoyed on the big screen.