Maska comes with its own highs and lows. Since it’s a slow-paced movie, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. In the beginning, it’s a well-weaved, well-presented story, but later, when the focus shifts from a Parsi, homely boy’s personal life to his career and love life, the story goes a little off-track, gets filmy, and a tad bit boring.
Irani cafes, Parsis, their lifestyle, culture, homeliness, and their overall way of living – it’s always a pleasure to watch or even read about. Even stories about Parsis are all about warmth, love, kindness, joy, and happiness. The same reflects in Maska but not as much as it should have.
The story is clearly what is being shown in the trailer. There is nothing in the movie that you did not expect or could guess from the trailer and was surprised by it in the film. It’s a story of a Parsi Mamma’s boy whose mother wants him to carry forward the legacy of a family business, the famous Irani cafe. The duo’s goody goody life gets disturbed when Rumi decides to become an actor just because an aunty suggests that he can become one after he wins the Firozsha Baag Colony’s Mr Firozsha Baag 2017 title. He then starts attending acting workshops and auditioning for roles where he meets Mallika. They fall in love and he moves in with her leaving his mother behind. The mother though wants him to take over the cafe and kick-start the business with vigour, she supports his dream of becoming an actor by letting him leave the house, move in with a girl she doesn’t approve of, and pursue the career of his choice. During a party thrown by his girlfriend, he meets a Director of one of her projects who is looking for a financier for his feature film. During the conversation, he tells Rumi that he is so frustrated now that he can even cast the person who finances his project as the main lead. This is when Rumi decides to sell cafe Rustom and finance the project in order to grab the opportunity.
Rumi then comes home, pretends that pursuing acting was his mistake and that he now wants to run cafe Rustom. So, he learns the secret recipes from his grandfather’s days and reintroduces them in the cafe. These are the recipes that Rustom cafe was famous for, loved for but his Mother had stopped serving after Rumi’s father’s death, as she found it difficult to manage the cafe and the kid single-handedly.
Though slow-paced, the story seemed good and convincing till it was a fight between a Mother and Son over which and whose dream matters the most. But then it took a filmy turn. His falling in love with Persis, the customers and their memories attached to the cafe, the dying man who wants to have his last bun maska at Rustom cafe, Rumi’s realization at the end that he is not meant for acting, but to cook and run the family business, all of a sudden is not-so-convincing.
There was no problem with the story. The direction is weak. It doesn’t demand any emotional involvement from its viewers which ideally such stories should, unregretfully demand. Speaking of Manisha Koirala’s performance, her efforts were praise-worthy but the story’s requirement was an old Parsi woman. Though the efforts are appreciated, she couldn’t bring genuineness to the character. This is a compliment for her – she did not look as old as her character, Diana Irani was. An old, Parsi actor could have made it all the more fun. The cute banter between mother and son would have effortlessly made the audience smile. The real characters would have definitely allowed the audience to develop an emotional connection with Diana and Rumi. Nonetheless, Maska is still watchable.
Where to Watch? Netflix