Looking for something light-hearted to watch during these grim times? “Maska” might just be what you need in life right now, a sweet Indian movie complete with all the aspects of a typical Bollywood film – song, dance, drama, and comedy.
A Parsi boy holds the reins to a century-old café, which has been passed down the generations and was first opened by his great-grandfather who moved to India from Iran. Young, good looking and bright-eyed, Rumi Irani (Prit Kamani) aspires to become a Bollywood hero. He pursues acting classes where he meets the “love-of-his-life” (or so he thinks) and in the process, loses interest in his family business.
“Maska” is the story of how a mama’s boy goes astray to follow his dream and ends up making a selfish decision not in the best interest of his family, the business or its customers. Will Rumi continue to chase his dream or will he find his way back to his pre-determined destiny?
The story is mostly predictable and doesn’t have anything exciting to offer. Moreover, while the movie revolves around Rumi’s personal life and struggles, it would have been nice to see more on the Irani cafés and their rich history in Mumbai.
Along with the new (and young) faces in the movie, it was nostalgic to see familiar faces of yesteryear – Manisha Koirala, Javed Jaffrey, Boman Irani – and how gracefully they have aged. Koirala, who plays Rumi’s mom Diana Irani, is classy as ever, even as a middle-aged woman with a thick Parsi accent who is constantly swearing at anyone who ticks her off. Boman Irani plays himself and makes a couple of short appearances in the movie.
My favorite, by far, was Javed Jaffrey, who plays Rumi’s father, Rustom “Rusi” Irani. Sharing a name with the family café, Rusi tries to explain to his son that the café is more than just a business, it’s their legacy, and that selling the café would hurt a lot of people including customers who have been frequenting it for years. The calm and poise with which Jaffrey plays the father of a 21-year-old is a refreshing contrast to what he’s been known for in the past. (Who remembers Boogie Woogie?)
The movie ends with a song and a dance party. A father-son dance off would have been more exciting to watch, given Jaffrey is one of the best-known break dancers of his time. All-in-all, the movie does a decent job in keeping you entertained for two hours, which is something to be grateful for while we all seek creative ways to keep ourselves busy at home.