February 1, 2013 05:36:17 PM IST By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
Her singing is legendary; that we all know. Her acting is stupendous; this we know now. One look at MAI and no one will say that this is Asha Bhosle's debut performance. To me, it looked like her hundredth!
With her portrayal of MAI, Asha Bhosale has set herself up for the Best Actress Award and the Best Debut Award next year. Unless of course Vidya Balan, Vidya Balan and Vidya Balan pips her to the post!
MAI is about how parents are left at the mercy of the whims and fancies of their children in their old age. With families becoming nuclear and stress levels rising, children forget how they were cared for by their parents when they were young, little realizing that their parents too experienced stress whilst raising them up. But now old age homes have become fashionable. But more importantly, it is playing football with old parents among siblings that is becoming the order of the day. ''She is you mother, too,'' seems to be the refrain of the sibling who takes care to the one who, it appears, does not care.
This is not a new topic but first-time director Mahesh Kodiyal gives it a different treatment from say an AVTAAR or BAGHBAN. Kodiyal addresses it with a medical issue. In the end, you also wonder why MAI had to deteriorate as fast as she did with Alzheimers. For that, one has to pay close attention to the dialogues she utters between her bouts of forgetfulness. It reminds us how our actions, so seemingly innocent (yet profoundly selfish), makes a dent in the mind of the receiver. But parents being parents, absorb the blows of humiliation, sometimes taking it to their graves!
MAI is about a son-in-law Subhash (Ram Kapoor) whose wife Madhu (Padmini Kolhapure) takes it on herself to take care of her Mai when she learns that her younger brother has plans to keep her in an Old Age home because he has to move to the US for three years. Unable to bear the thought of seeing her mother's plight, and understanding that her sisters are in no position to offer help, Madhu takes charge of the situation, much to the dislike of her husband and daughter.
Once MAI enters her son-in-law's house, their lives goes on a spin, with Madhu even resigning from her job. She decides she has to give time to her Mai whose failing memory is not helping matters at home.
Kodiyal had a touching subject and an opportunity to take this film several notches higher. Unfortunately, he slackens the pace of the narrative giving the screenplay a theatre element, instead of motion picture. For example, the scene where the grandchild expresses her distress to her friends or even the flashback scenes of a young Mai. It does not impact as the director would have loved it to because you can only make Asha Bhosle look that much younger!
Though the other actors all fit into their roles, Asha Bhosle overshadows them all with her natural brilliance.
MAI is definitely worth a watch; especially as a family!