Maska, Netflix’s latest movie from India — written and directed by function debutante Neeraj Udhwani, finest identified for guiding over 100 episodes of the anthology sequence, Yeh Hai Aashiqui — is fascinated with the Irani café bread-and-butter staple it is named after: bun maska. It exhibits up in a number of musical montages, which push the film into meals porn territory. It is the final want of a dying character. And it is shared by the lead couple on the very finish. Unusually then, it has no larger relevance. It is merely a prop. There isn’t any purpose that bun maska is a part of Maska aside from the truth that Udhwani clearly loves it. (We questioned if it will sort out the opposite use of the time period maska, which suggests to butter somebody up, however that does not occur both.)
Look, it may need been nice if Maska would have been referred to as one thing else. But when the title of your film has no thematic underpinnings to it, it would not bode properly. On high of that, it is not even near the Netflix movie’s greatest fault. Maska follows a particularly privileged male teen (Prit Kamani, from Hum Chaar) who’s fully unaware of mentioned privilege. It is okay for the character to be that, nevertheless it’s not okay for the movie to by no means name it out. To make issues worse, all its feminine characters — performed by Manisha Koirala (Dil Se..), singer Shirley Setia, and Nikita Dutta (Ek Duje Ke Vaaste) — exist solely as equipment to the journey of the male lead, with the youthful ones throwing themselves at males. In doing the latter, it not solely defies their characterisations, however looks like wish-fulfilment.
Maska opens on the nineteenth birthday of the aforementioned privileged teen Rumi Irani (Kamani), who is presented his dad Rustom’s (Jaaved Jaaferi, from Dhamaal) hand-me-downs by his mom Diana (Koirala). The Irani household — which lives in an upscale south Mumbai neighbourhood — owns an Irani café referred to as Cafe Rustom. Diana needs Rumi to comply with in his father’s footsteps and take over operations, however these plans are waylaid after the performing bug bites him. Rumi actually daydreams of successful an award, repeatedly practising his acceptance speech in entrance of a mirror with a deodorant bottle or one thing else in hand. On the insistence of his performing faculty fellow and small-town divorcée Mallika Chopra (Dutta), the mama’s boy leaves house and ventures out.
As somebody who’s additionally had the whole lot come simple to him — the Netflix film intentionally performs into that to construct that notion — Rumi is just not prepared for rejection-heavy Bollywood. Extra so given he has hassle letting go of his mom, makes the whole lot about him, and would not see the significance of real-life tales. The final of these happens in a dialog with Persis Mistry (Setia), a blogger who lives in the identical upscale SoBo neighbourhood as Rumi and runs Bombay Individuals Mission, primarily a fictional model of People of Bombay. Sorry for not introducing Persis earlier, nevertheless it’s not just like the Netflix movie cares about her both, given she’s introduced in and forgotten as and when Maska pleases. Although she’s the feminine lead, Persis is nowhere within the film for an hour.
Extra importantly, neither Mallika nor Persis have any company or arcs of their very own. Each are merely vessels for the recommendation Udhwani needs to espouse to individuals like Rumi. At one level out of the blue, certainly one of them claims she’s not a prude, however Maska is. Its visuals cannot decide to its characters’ phrases. It throws out logic in an try to be poetic and as a substitute finally ends up wanting ludicrous. The Netflix movie can be a terrific instance of a writer-director failing to heed the tenet of “present, not inform”. Maska expects the viewers to consider one thing as a result of it mentioned it, not as a result of it is given us any proof of it. (At instances, it even says issues we are able to observe for ourselves.) That leads to its themes and revelations abruptly spat out in dialogue, fairly than be woven in.
Elsewhere, fairly than counting on the actors and the modifying, Maska lets the background rating dictate the tempo of scenes. This additionally results in tonal imbalance on the Netflix movie, with the rating unable to hold or justify characters switching between two reverse feelings within the span of some seconds. Its heavy use of background music additionally drives its love of montages, whose frequency in the end reads like laziness, in lieu of writing meaty scenes that will deepen the characters and storytelling. However going by what’s on provide, which may be a job past Udhwani’s capabilities. Scenes are so loosely written and put up that it nearly feels just like the makers could not wait to be carried out with it. Maska is a frivolous and farcical joke of a film, and with Netflix making a behavior of this, the joke is on those that hit play.
Maska is out Friday, March 27 on Netflix worldwide.