‘Mauli’ review: Spiked with faith and fervour

A still from the movie ‘Mauli’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For the uninitiated the opening scene of Mauli sets up Rohit Shetty-esque expectations — slow-mo fights, flying bodies, gnashed teeth, oozing blood, loud background score, punchlines for dialogue. There’s more: a timely, righteous lesson to the young girls, that they should be their own bodyguards.

Mauli (Marathi)
  • Director: Aditya Sarpotdar
  • Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Saiyami Kher, Jeetendra Joshi
  • Storyline: Lai Bhaari’s popular character Mauli in a brand new outing. Cop Sarjerao Deshmukh takes charge of Kapurgaon and ends up locking horns with the local goon Nana
  • Run time: 136.32 minutes

Also significant is the nod to Riteish Deshmukh’s Marathi debut, ‘Lai Bhaari’. Aditya Sarpotdar’s film is the new outing for 2014 blockbuster’s popular character Mauli. In a new story, situation and set-up you have cop Mauli Sarjerao Deshmukh (Deshmukh) taking charge of Kapurgaon and locking horns with local goon Nana (Jeetendra Joshi). The village is entirely Nana’s fiefdom with the cops acting more like watch dogs of the bad man. Some elements of the former film — like the red bricks as weaponry and empowering agent, the twirled-up moustache, the beloved Lord Vithoba, backstories within the larger plot and arc and a significant twist in the tale — continue here too. What’s more there’s even a rousing Holi dance with producer and wife Genelia D’Souza Deshmukh for company, in continuation with a similar cameo by her in the previous film.

What sets Mauli apart from the Shetty brand of action thrillers is the overwhelming presence of religious motifs — the tulsi plants, Vithoba statues, the many shades of saffron, panoramic shots of Pandharpur pilgrimage with mesmerising chants in the background and Ajay Atul’s fabulous Vitthal bhajan ‘Majhi Pandharichi Maay’; it’s a hypnotic (albeit problematic) evocation of the fervour of faith. Divine intervention is also what sets things right for our hero, in the larger scheme of things, but takes too long in coming and feels too convenient.

Call it wishful thinking, but what could have been an interesting look at the suffocating ideals of machismo expectedly becomes a celebration of it. So the tame, helpless hero will get humiliated and emasculated, and will have to drum up the power and strength within himself to rise up to the ideals of masculinity. It couldn’t have been otherwise in the typical masala entertainer that Mauli is.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 1:08:42 AM |

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