Review: ‘Maska’ (a Netflix Original)

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If you are down in the dumps and want to disconnect from the morbid reality that is plaguing the world right now, switch over to your Netflix account and tune into ‘Maska’, a film that promises to bring to you much of the warm and fuzzy feeling that life before COVID-19 could afford.

A little about the star cast:

Manisha Koirala has played the character of a passionate but slightly eccentric Parsi aunty to a T.

Javed Jaffrey, on the other hand, plays her dead husband, who considering his comic caliber, ought to have been given more screen time than a few conversation snippets with his young son.

Prit Kamani who plays the son and the main protagonist has a lot of potential (he reminded me a lot of Kartik Aryan at the start of his career). Nikita Dutta too has played her part rather well.

However, ‘Perses’ does not quite fit the bill. Although Shirley Setia has a fresh and innocent face that goes in her favour, her dialogue delivery and acting are pretty sub-average.

A little about the story:

Coming to the plot, the story is a Bildungsroman drama that revolves around Rumi, a young and aspiring actor, and his emotional and over-protective mother. While Rumi’s heart is set on making a career in Bollywood, his mother wishes he manage Rustom’s Irani cafe, a family legacy that has played an unforgettable role in the lives of so many others.

Maska thus rolls out as a journey of several discoveries…from fantasy to ikigai,  from sexual chemistry to compatibility, from the stubborness of what you want to the realisation of what is meant for you.

The crux of the journey lies in the one poignant dialogue spouted by Javed Jaffrey.

“When you are going through confusion,” he tells his son, “keep going,”

What I didn’t like, however:

1) The movie, although in parts makes you feel has passed the ‘Bechdel test’, ultimately makes you realise it hasn’t. But you just ‘keep going’.

2) Too many stereotypes. The Ludhiana girl and the Parsi boy cannot emphasise enough that they come from different worlds.

3) Prejudice towards Non Parsi’s and divorcees is rather evident, although it can be taken as character projection.

Overall, ‘Maska’ is an entertaining film,  predictable but fun. Snarky but sensitive. And if not for anything else, do watch it for the glimpses of the mouthwatering  Irani dishes.

I still don’t understand why they named it Maska though. I mean, I do get the whole great-grandfather-and-his-recipes story et al, but ‘Laganu custard’ would have sounded more delectable, no?

Perhaps I am a little biased towards Parsis. Having known a few, I find them to be simple, emotional, and straight forward people. And maybe ‘Maska’ is just that.

I will rate it:

3.5 out of 5 for the story.

5 on 5 for Manisha’s performance.

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