Star cast: Jackie Shroff, Smriti Irani, Divya Dutta, Rajeshwari Sachdeva, Govind Namdeo, Shakti Kapoor.
Plot: Sai Baba of Shirdi performs miracles and cures people of illnesses. But he has his detractors who are out to prove him a fraud.
What’s Good: Absolutely nothing!
What’s Bad: Everything!
Verdict: Even a miracle can’t save Maalik Ek.
Loo break: Plenty!
Om The Mantra Productions’ Maalik Ek is a devotional film about the life and miracles of Sai Baba of Shirdi. It is narrated in flashbacks that form part of the conversation between Dwarka Mai (Smriti Irani) and Laxmi (Divya Dutta). Sai Baba (Jackie Shroff) is a beggar who begs for a living and is loved by the people of Shirdi because he is benevolent. He also performs miracles. However, there are some people in the village, who hate Sai Baba and never acknowledge his miracles. This group of people is led by Kulkarni (Shakti Kapoor). There is also Sahukar (Govind Namdeo) who exploits farmers and grabs their land. Shree (Varun Deepak Balraaj Vij), the son of one such farmer, goes to Bombay to study law so that he can fight the case of the farmers and help them protect their plots of land. His sister, Saraswati (Rajeshwari Sachdeva), commits suicide as she is fed up of the atrocities perpetrated on the family by Sahukar.
The film’s story (Shirish Latkar) relies mostly on incidents in Sai Baba’s life, based on mythology. The screenplay (Deepak Balraaj Vij and Shirish Latkar) is in a docu-drama fashion so that it never really impresses or involves the audience. Even the scenes showing miracles fail to evoke the excitement they should, among the audience. In short, the script is shoddy, disjointed and far from interesting. What’s more, the very flavour of a mythological is missing. Dialogues (Vij and Latkar) are dull.
Jackie Shroff plays Sai Baba, at times ably, but at other times, like a tapori! He looks the character, though. His dance is embarrassing to watch. Shakti Kapoor is so-so. Govind Namdeo is effective. Rajeshwari Sachdeva leaves a mark. Varun Deepak Balraaj Vij makes an average debut; he has a good physique. Parikshat Sahni does a fine job. Ranjeeta Kaur has hardly anything to do. Rakesh Pandey is alright as the collector. Smriti Irani and Divya Dutta are efficient. Zarina Wahab acts with aplomb. Rana Jung Bahadur, Vikram Gokhale, master Bobby Vij, Vidya Sinha and Naresh Suri provide good support. Anup Jalota, Kishori Shahane-Vij, Gargi Patel, Sahila Chaddha, Alex O’Neil, Sudesh Berry, Ramesh Bhatkar, Anand Balraj, Siddharth Ray, Rajesh Vivek and the rest lend fair support.
Deepak Balraaj Vij’s direction is as weak as the script. The film’s making is tacky. Also, some confrontation scenes between Jackie Shroff and others are taken with the two parties separately and edited in a way as to make them look like they’ve been shot together, but, of course, it shows! A devotional film like this needed the support of hit music but the songs (music: Anup Jalota) are just about functional. Even the lyrics (Anup Jalota, Amit Khanna, Manoj Kumar, Sameer and Ranjan Johri) are far from inspiring. Choreography (Madhav Kishan and Deepak Blaraaj Vij) is poor. Camerawork (Manish Bhatt) is poor. Action (Akbar Sharif) is dull and dated. Other technical aspects are dull. Sets (Madhu Kamble) and production values are not even ordinary.
On the whole, Maalik Ek is so weak that even a miracle can’t save it or see it sail through.