Maharaj Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Junaid Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shalini Pandey, Sharvari

Director: Siddharth P Malhotra

Maharaj Movie Review
Maharaj Movie Review(Photo Credit –Instagram)

What’s Good: The intention of telling such a critical story/case

What’s Bad: The uneven first half

Loo Break: It’s an OTT release, so you can decide

Watch or Not?: Yes

Language: Hindi

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 162 Minutes

User Rating:

The Netflix film Maharaj begins with the birth of Karsandas Mulji in Gujarat, narrated to show his extreme curiosity. As a child, Karsan often questioned societal norms, such as why women must cover their faces with a ghungat or why widows cannot remarry. Growing up, he relocates to Bombay and becomes a journalist. Upon discovering the wrongful practices of the Maharaj, also known as JJ, and experiencing a personal loss, Karsandas becomes determined to expose the religious leader who manipulates his power to exploit followers, particularly young girls and women, under the guise of ‘Charanseva’.

Maharaj Review Netflix
Maharaj Movie Still (Credit: Netflix)

Maharaj Movie Review: Script Analysis

Maharaj tackles a significant issue from the 1860s, focusing on the leaders of the Pushitmarg sect. However, the world-building in the first hour is slow, with excessive dialogue that tests your patience as you wait for the inevitable clash. The second hour delivers the intense courtroom drama we’ve been anticipating, featuring powerful performances and statements by Junaid Khan as Karsandas Mulji.

Addressing such a sensitive topic on the big screen is no easy accomplishment. The controversies and release delays proved the risks involved. However, writers Sneha Desai, Vipul Mehta, and Bernard Williams have succeeded in conveying the message to some extent. While the narrative includes unnecessary distractions, the last 30 minutes are impactful, highlighting the core issues and leaving a lasting impression. The relevance of the themes to modern times becomes evident.

Netflix's Maharaj Review
Maharaj Still (Credit – Netflix)

Despite being set in the 1860s, the set design, costumes, and visuals have a distinct YRF touch. At times, I felt like I was watching a contemporary story rather than one from the 19th century.

Maharaj Movie Review: Star Performance

Junaid Khan’s choice of such a critical subject for his debut is bold. Initially, it takes time for his portrayal of Karsandas to captivate you, but as the story delves deeper, his character becomes intriguing. Especially during the court scenes, Junaid delivers remarkable lines with conviction. Jaideep Ahlawat, as JJ, is a man of few words and a constant smile, embodying the saying “actions speak louder than words.” His portrayal makes you feel disgusted and irked, showcasing his stellar acting. Kudos to Jaideep for convincingly playing such an unlikeable character.

Maharaj Movie Review
Maharaj Movie Still (Credit: Netflix)

Sharvari brings vibrancy to the movie just when the screenplay starts to dip. Her character is funny, fierce, and straightforward, providing significant support to Karsandas’ mission. Shalini Pandey has a crucial role in the first half, who brings a much-needed push to the story. The actress delivers a good performance.

Maharaj Movie Review: Direction, Music

Director Siddharth P Malhotra, after ‘Hichki’, has chosen a complex subject to present to the audience. His vision for Karsandas Mulji and the Maharaj is well-executed on screen, though he couldn’t completely shed the YRF filmmaking style. While I enjoy YRF movies, in this Netflix film, that style sometimes diminishes the feeling of watching a social drama. Nonetheless, the climax is delivered with such intensity and impact that it fully engrosses you. The courtroom drama differs from typical Hindi movies, with Junaid Khan’s monologue on Hindu religion, wrongful religious practices, blind faith, and sex crimes being quite commendable.

Maharaj Movie Review: The Last Word

Overall, Maharaj is a bold and impactful film that addresses critical issues from the 1860s, with performances that grow on you and a climax that stays with you. Despite a shaky narrative, the film successfully conveys its message, making it relevant even today.

Three stars!

Maharaj is now streaming on Netflix.

Share with us your experience of watching Maharaj.

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