This is the un-Baghban of Hindi films. A film where the story is not stupidly simplistic, the characters are grey and human, and the film has a progressive air rather than a regressive one.
So here, a son pretends he's going abroad so he doesn't have to take care of his mother. Mai (Asha Bhosle) is suffering from Alzheimer's and it's quite a task to take care of her.
The responsibility falls on the daughter, who brings her home.
A successful professional, married and with a teen daughter of her own, Madhu (Padmini Kolhapure) now also has to juggle taking care of her ill mother. The family is not happy with the new addition.
The husband Subhash (Ram Kapoor) is seething with anger and the teen daughter opposes the intrusion in her life. How Madhu deals with the crisis and Mai's deteriorating condition forms the crux of the story.
The film is not without melodrama, but it is quite forgivable here. Note the scene where Mai goes missing and has everyone worried, bringing all the family members together.
There are manipulative portions also - the one where Mai spots her son in a traffic jam and goes running after him, or the one where she has to be hospitalised due to a head injury.
The background score is good but often overpowers the scene. Some of the songs hold appeal, and the others just distract from the story. You also wish the film had more technical sophistication and production values.
Writer-director Mahesh Kodiyal weaves together a nice, simple story, but one that will hold limited appeal due to its lack of visual finesse.
Mai's highlights remain the performances and the effective dialogue. Several lines are full of punch like the husband saying, 'Kab ek beti apni ma ki ma ban jaati hai' (when a daughter becomes her mother's mother). And it helps to have a wonderful cast like this speak the dialogues.
Asha Bhosle makes her acting debut with the film. The acting is not exceptional but she does exude a likeable screen presence.
Padmini Kolhapure is very good, enacting the complex role with intelligence and empathy. She's also such a welcome departure from the over-botoxed actors who want to erase every telltale wrinkle off their faces!
Ram Kapoor plays an interesting character as well, and does complete justice to the role.
Give the film a try if a simple, touching story is what you're looking for this weekend.
Rating: 2.5 stars