Maharaja Review: A Film That Engages Despite Its Faults

Maharaja Movie Review

In this Nithilan Swaminathan directorial, a man named Maharaja (Vijay Sethupathi) files a police complaint because the ‘Lakshmi’ in his house goes missing. When he arrives at the police station, he encounters a thief in custody named Police. “Maharaja,” the film, is filled with such droll contradictions.

The narrative revolves around the lives of two fathers. Vijay Sethupathi’s character loses his wife (Divya Bharathi) while their daughter Jothi is still a toddler. In contrast, Anurag Kashyap’s character lives happily with his wife (Abhirami) and daughter. The storytelling transforms what could have been a straightforward plot into an engaging film despite some disjointed moments. Credit is due to maintaining anticipation and keeping the audience invested throughout.

However, some scenes feel contrived, particularly a comic moment where Maharaja explains how Lakshmi went missing. The humor in this situation is evident, but the exaggerated reactions to his story feel overdone.

The film’s violent undertones are clear from the outset, but it starts unexpectedly with a light-hearted game of Antakshari. Vijay Sethupathi’s character is not initially presented as a traditional hero. Instead, we first see him in mundane situations, such as working in a saloon and shopping for toys.

A significant point of contention is the portrayal of violence, particularly against women. In “Maharaja,” violence is used as a tool to depict the antagonists’ cruelty. This approach feels insensitive and overused, as there are other ways to portray negative characters without resorting to such measures.

The antagonists’ characterisation falls short, including Anurag Kashyap’s. Despite having a notable actor, the role lacks depth and fails to resonate. The film effectively maintains its momentum while focusing on Maharaja and the police investigation, but it falters when shifting focus to the antagonists.

Vijay Sethupathi shines in his 50th film, with a well-crafted character and impactful dialogues. However, the same care isn’t extended to the other characters. Abhirami, Mamta Mohandas, Bharathirajaa, and Divyabharathi seem to be included for their star power rather than their contribution to the plot.

“Maharaja” manages to be an engaging film with its unique storytelling and strong lead performance, though it stumbles with its supporting characters and portrayal of violence.

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