(Clockwise from left)
Madhuri Dixit, and
Gajraj Rao in Maja Ma
Maja Ma | Director: Anand Tiwari |Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Gajraj Rao | Language: Hindi | Amazon Prime Video
She is a simple woman who has made theplas and rotlis all her life. She is why her husband gets elected society president. She is Pallavi, the quiet support of her daughter, who gave up her CA studies for a PhD in gender studies, and the woman her son worships as one who can do no wrong. When it comes to an alliance between her son and his NRI girlfriend, she is the epitome of tradition, which impresses her NRI in-laws-to-be. And she is played by Madhuri Dixit in her renewed phase as streaming siren, as a middle-class homemaker, a domestic goddess. “So authentic, so exotic,” gushes Bob Hansraj played by Rajit Kapoor. “The perfect clean virgin family,” boasts Pallavi’s husband, played by a wilfully oblivious Gajraj Rao. Pallavi is a Bharatiya Naari who has raised the perfect sanskari boy, perfect for Bob’s daughter Esha. Enter more drama. Turns out the picture perfect Indian family is not so perfect. The mother is, shock, horror, a lesbian, and the NRI family is disgusted. Will she stay in the closet or come out as her activist daughter wants? This is an attempt by Dixit to steer a path different from her heyday. We don’t need borrowed outrage, say her gay friends to Pallavi’s daughter. We do need big stars like Dixit to showcase the idea that Indian families can be happily dysfunctional too.
Why watch it: Madhuri Dixit delivers many a punch in a different role
“It’s the men who fight the wars but it’s the queens who win it.” Karm Yuddh is the kind of show where lines like this are mouthed by actors who revel in the melodramatic. The heart of the show is a business family where an accident sparks a feud for control between relatives. Now where have we seen this before? Oh, right, in every second Delhi/Mumbai business family. Add to the drama a news editor played by Chandan Roy Sanyal who utters things like, ‘the winds of change are blowing,’ an older brother who won’t give up control easily (Satish Kaushik) and a power-broker played by Ashutosh Rana, and you have one of those series where every tribal is a Naxal and all deaths happen in twos. Paoli Dam is the kind of actor who hasn’t had too many chances to show off her talent on the national stage, but here, as Indrani Roy, the woman seemingly behind the business machinations, she digs into the role like a starved lioness. A mysterious factory fire, a water contamination case, a CBI investigation, a corrupt news channel, and the woman who may or may not be behind it all.
Why watch it: For the unexpected twists that seem all too familiar