Ever since the era of the Hindi web series has started we are witnessing some good web series based on Indian politics. Taandav was one of those series, but as usual, it courted controversy by demeaning Hindus and their beliefs. Still, one would say that Indian OTT platforms lack real political thrillers for sure. Maharani also can’t be termed under the genre of political thrillers but it certainly is a treat for those who understand Indian politics.
A story says that a wife replaces her husband as the Chief Minister of a state and that state is Bihar, then the comparison is bound to happen. Because Bihar has seen this happening in real, a viewer would think before watching Maharani that this series is based on the life of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his Rabri Devi just because the storyline resembles them. But after watching all ten episodes, he may start to think otherwise.
Web Series: Maharani (2021)
Cast: Huma Qureshi (Rani Bharti), Sohum Shah (Bheema Bharti), Amit Sial (Navin Kumar), Pramod Pathak (Satyendranath Mishra), Inaamulhaq (Parvez Alam), Tanu Vidhyarthi (Khyati), Mohammad Aashiq Hussain (Prem Kumar Chaubey), Vineet Kumar (Gauri Shankar Pandey aka Kaala Naag), Kannan Arunachalam (DGP Siddhant Gautam), Kani Kusruti (Kaveri Sridharan), Sushil Pandey (Kunwar Singh), and Atul Tiwari (Governor Goverdhan Das)
Director: Karan Sharma
No of Episodes: Ten (10)
OTT Platform: Sony Liv
Synopsis of Maharani
Bheema Bharti is one of the rare Chief Ministers of Bihar who hails from the lower cast and thus many in Bihar state politics don’t like him and want him to go. But Bheema Bharti is a self-made man and very confident while taking decisions with the help of his political adviser Satyendranath Mishra. Mishra is not only his political advisor but also his right hand who follows his orders blindly. Because the duty of the Chief Minister takes so much of time Bheema Bharti can’t visit his village often where his wife Rani Bharti lives with their three kids.
Once while performing Chhath Puja at his village two shots of bullets were fired on Bheema Bharti in front of his wife Rani Bharti, which leaves Bheema Bharti unconscious. Bheema Bharti then taken to Patna immediately and gets operated upon. The doctors inform Rani Bharti that the left side of Bheema ‘s body has been paralyzed. Taking the opportunity of Bheema’s serious illness his fellow party man and political rival Naveen Kumar or Naveen Babu tries to replace him as the Chief Minister by gathering a majority of MLAs on his side.
But at that time Bheema Bharti who is now back home, bedridden plays his trump card and with the help of the majority of MLAs within the party he makes Rani Bharti the CM of the state. This decision comes as a shock to Rani Bharti, but being faithful wife always she takes up the charge, although reluctantly to start with as she was not at all interested in it.
But her personal secretary Kaveri then enlightens her about the current situation in Bihar, and why it needs a Chief Minister that is working for its benefit. Thus Rani Bharti becomes serious about her job, not only that she also starts to learn writing from Kaveri so that she can at least sign the orders which actually are issued in her name only.
While talking with Parvez Alam, the state finance secretary, Rani Bharti gets the knowledge that the state treasury is completely out of funds and thus the basic works on Electricity, Water and Road can’t proceed. She asks Parvez Alam to conduct an inquiry on why the treasury doesn’t have enough money to spend. After initial inquiry, Parvez Alam finds a huge scam in Ranchi’s animal husbandry department and realizes that if such a huge scam can be done in a single department, it can be done across the departments of the Bihar government.
Parvez Alam informs about this scam to Rani Bharti and Rani asks him to continue to dig further. The outcomes of Parvez Alam’s further inquiry were more than shocking as it not only has affected Bihar financially but also socially as well.
On the other hand, caste-based violence was at large in the state. Groups from upper and lower casts were killing people in big numbers almost daily. Rani needed to do something on this front as well. When she takes help of the DGP Siddhant Gautam to clear this mess she finds that somehow the financial scam is inter-connected to the caste-based violence happening in the state.
Once both Parvez Alam and DGP Siddhant Gautam reach the root cause of both the problems, the moment of truth arrives for Rani Bharti where she either has to save her government in the assembly by hiding the big names behind that financial scam unearthed by Parvez Alam that is also linked with cast violence or she let the truth come out and put those behind bar who are involved in both financial scam and invoking cast violence across the state.
Review of Maharani
Just like any other web series, Maharani too gets interesting during his final three or four episodes. Another similarity between other web series and Maharani is the fluency of abusive words. Being a political drama based on Bihar politics one would forgive Maharani for having abusive words after every few minutes. The only relief is that this series doesn’t have many uncomfortable scenes that are another norm for the Indian web series.
As the title of this blog suggests that this series is a treat for the fans of Indian politics and a big thank you to the writers and director of the series for remaining true to the subject of politics only by not allowing unnecessary love scenes or emotional scenes forcefully into the series. Every person who has the slightest knowledge of Bihar politics of the 1990s and early 2000s can relate the story with actual events that happened at that time, but an afterthought would deny that relation.
But, believe me apart from the animal husbandry scam and the wife of a chief minister taking over, I hardly found any similarities between the true events and the storyline. The casteism in Bihar may still be alive but it was on top gear during those times and that has been shown here perfectly. Apart from that, MLAs changing sides or threatening to change the side often in Indian politics too has been described very well here.
Things happening behind the curtains in Indian politics and how one politician makes plans to destabilize the government has been displayed here with some authority. What impressed me the most are the scenes in Bihar Assembly, which is actually Jammu & Kashmir assembly situated in Jammu. It looks so real and for that, the director and the producer must be congratulated.
From the very beginning, Maharani would draw your attention and then fix it. Although it tells you probably a story that most of us can foresee, the treatment of the story makes the viewer stick to his seat and forces him to watch another episode once the current one is over. The chemistry between Bheema Bharti and Rani Bharti and Rani Bharti and Kaveri are the highlights of the series as per my personal view.
Now let us talk about some performances. Sohum Shah is very impressive to say the least. He has acted as an experienced politician to start with and in the concluding episodes has shown his controlled frustration and anger very well. He does look like a politician for sure. Pramod Pathak who played his right hand Satyendranath Mishra and we better know him as JP Yadav of Mirzapur has shown a totally different color here. His calmness and super loyalty with his boss Bheema Bharti can be felt by each and every one.
Vineet Kumar is my favorite for a very long and I was more than glad to see him back on screen after a long time, as Kaala Naag in Maharani. Being my favorite I certainly say that he has been given less space here and his talent could have been more helpful to give more thrust to the story. Kannan Arunachalam and Kani Kusruti have helped Huma Qureshi to glow more with their helpful performances.
Inaamulhaq has played perhaps the only positive and lovable character in the series. The way he speaks his Hindi in Bengali accents makes his performance look real and commanding. Despite doing one of the most important roles in Maharani, he has underplayed his role, and probably that is why he gains the love and support of the audience.
Amit Sial again is one of my favorite web series actors. I have seen him in many web series in the last six months or so. But I must admit now that he is overdoing it these days. Every third web series you would definitely find Amit Sial in it and that too in an important role and thus he is on the verge of overexposing himself. As it happens to most of the actors when they are overexposed, while acting, Amit Sial too now looks at himself and not the character he is playing. Apart from this, he has done what his fans can expect from him. But he must think about taking a break for at least six months and come back afresh.
Before we discuss the Maharani, Huma Qureshi, we must talk about Atul Tiwari who has played Governor Govardhan Das. While just looking at him we would feel that he is made for this role only. When a character calls him ‘Mahamaheem’ you have no option but to agree that yes he does look like one. His look, the matching clothes he wears all the time, and above all his voice make him a perfect Governor any Indian state could have. He also acts like a seasoned politician which normally Indian governors are. For me, Atul Tiwari is the man of the match if you talk about Maharani.
Now, the turn of Maharani, Huma Qureshi! No one can doubt the talent she possesses and probably that is why Huma Qureshi has left a permanent impression on our minds plus not only on the character of Maharani but also on the entire web series. She speaks her dialogues in Bihari slang but more than that the way she speaks these dialogues in Bihari slang is quite unique. More often than not she speaks by touching her tongue on her teeth and that unique style makes the whole difference. Starting from an uneducated and not-so-smart village woman to learning things in politics from her husband and also from her secretary Kaveri to the end of the series where she is full of self-confidence, Huma Qureshi has performed every shade of her character with ease. Her acting is one of the reasons that the audience will have to wait for the second season.
Agenda in Maharani
As we know most of the web series have their own political agendas and Maharani’s writers and directors have gone with their political agendas as well. Thankfully there is no insult to Hindu gods but no chance has been missed to show Hindus in poor light. For example, all or most of the scammers are Hindus but the officer who unearths the scam is a non-Hindu. The daana scam has been managed from an ashram of a Hindu baba who gives aashirwad by putting his leg on his bhakt’s head and also provides money and ammunition to an upper cast violent group in the name of ‘safai’, this is again an attempt to show Hindus in bad or poor light.
Apart from this, the web series thinks that only upper-caste Hindus are violent and they are always willing and trying to kill lower caste people. While doing this it also tries to glorify the Maoists who have made life miserable for the people of not less than six states of India. I laughed when I heard dialogue from a prominent Maoist leader shown in the series, that his outfit would never kill innocent people, LOL!
Well, the anti-Hindu agenda will always be there until and unless someone from Bollywood or from the Indian entertainment industry doesn’t come with reverse agenda or with a script that shows that Hindus are good people too. Till now we have to watch such anti-Hindu agendas unfolding before our eyes and expose it wherever it is possible.
All in all, Maharani is worth watching if you like Indian politics as mentioned before also. For me, I am already waiting for its second season.
26th June 2021, Saturday