TL;DR – A nice story that does tread some well-worn ground
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
So to set the scene, we open in on Rumi Irani (Prit Kamani) who is living in his late father’s shadow. Like all things, he is fated to take over the family business which in this case is the Café Rustom an Irani café in Mumbai. His mother Diana (Manisha Koirala) cannot wait till he can take over the café and breathe new life into it. However, one night Rumi won the Mr Firozsha Baag and in it, he discovered his dream, he wants to become an actor. Of course, it does not hurt when he discovers that at his acting lessons not only is this his passion but one of his classmates Mallika Chopra (Nikita Dutta) might be his soul mate.
One of the things I like about Maska is how is it is about breaking out of the bubbles of our life. I once heard that tradition is just peer pressure from dead people and in this film that is both a metaphorical point and also a literal one as he sees an apparition of his father Rustom (Javed Jaffrey). It is about balancing the expectations of your past with the realities of the future.
A lot of the film is played for laughs, which you would kind of expect in a film like this, but as it goes on it does become more and more serious even if the musical score keeps the light tone. The tonal shifts here could have completely imploded the story but they make it all work and that is a credit to the filmmakers. There are a lot of interesting little touches in the film that help elevate it. Sometimes it is the framing to show how Diana and Mallika are not that dissimilar. There are also a lot of match cuts that bring things into the story, like one unfortunate moment when we go from Rumi’s first audition to him chopping up a cucumber. Also, this is a film that knows its food and how to make it look amazing.
Where this film does not play as well is in its overarching story because from pretty early on, you can see the chart of where the film is going to go from the moment they are offered the chance to star in the film if Rumi finances it. From that point onwards the character of Rumi becomes more and more unlikeable as he plays everyone off against each other. When his mother calls him “A sneaky fucker” I was like yep, that’s right, and you don’t feel any sympathy for him from then on.
In the end, do we recommend Masha? Well, it never quite gets to the heights it is reaching for. It is still a really well-constructed film and just because the story was quite straightforward does not mean it still was effective in places. Overall, I did still have a good time, and who does like ending on a song. If you liked Maska, you may also enjoy Yeh Ballet.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Maska
Directed by – Neeraj Udhwani
Written by – Ishita Moitra & Neeraj Udhwani
Music by – Akshay Raheja, Mikey McCleary & Ketan Sodha
Cinematography by – Eeshit Narain
Edited by – Farooq Hundekar
Production/Distribution Companies – Netflix
Starring – Manisha Koirala, Prit Kamani, Nikita Dutta, Shirley Setia, Boman Irani & Jaavied Jaaferi
Rating – Australia: M