Madhuri Dixit, one of the top Hindi film actresses, features in Prime Video’s first India original film, Maja Maa. In this interview, head of India originals at Prime Video Aparna Purohit and the film’s director Anand Tiwari discuss the ideas behind the making of the film, and reveal how they got Dixit onboard for the movie.
Tiwari reveals it was a dream to even think that he could get Dixit for the lead character in his film. “When we wrote the script, we wanted somebody to encapsulate sincerity, serenity, a certain amount of gravitas and agency. At the same time, we wanted her to have a certain amount of vulnerability. It was a daydream to get Madhuri Dixit and that is what happened.”
Purohit adds, “It helped to have phenomenal director, I think he charmed her with his narration. The grace, gravitas and beauty she brought to the character is incredible. I think what really charmed her maybe that she’d get to play a character with so many nuances.”
Insisting that all his characters are inspired by people around him, Tiwari adds, “(It is about) How we put pressure on moms to be all-encompassing – the best mom, the best wife et al – but we do not let them be who they truly feel like to be. Somewhere, we resonated with the fact that we have done the same with out moms. We always burden them with our issues and expect them to understand us.”
“The film also came from a lot of familial inspirations. Indian families are ‘thalis’ (Indian-style meal made up of a selection of various dishes which are served on a platters. Various regions and states in the country have different meals) we get around India – the spices, salt and sweets are presented together. That is what makes us interesting, quintessential Indian families. On the surface, everything is perfect but scratch the surface and then cracks come open. Festivals or functions bring out the tension and the underlying issues that are mostly swept under the carpet.”
Maja Maa aims high with the story of closeted woman who has been in the set-up of a happy Indian family for more than two decades and is comes out after an unexpected turn of events. While NRIs in the film flaunt the worst accents, most of the characters are bound in stereotypes and the movie views the entire issue with a lens that has little touch with reality. You may wish to watch the film for Madhuri’s charm or a few bright moments that involve remarkable spark from Sheeba Chaddha and Simone Singh.