Here’s why you need to stream Huma Qureshi's web series Maharani on SonyLIV

Here’s why you need to stream Huma Qureshi's web series Maharani on SonyLIV

Ahead of its UK launch, we put a spotlight on SonyLIV’s newly-released political drama web series that tells a sweeping tale of a housewife’s rise as a formidable politician

ARTICLE BY : Nupur Sarvaiya


Director Karan Sharma’s Maharani—set in the 90s in Bihar—India, begins with a man from the lower caste being shot dead for refusing to serve his masters. The only respite masses have, amidst the class-based, discrimination-riddled society, is the Chief Minister of the state, Bheema Singh (essayed by Sohum Shah). Having faced untouchability during his formative years, he plunged into politics in the hope to fight off oppression. An unexpected turn of events ensue as Bheema is rendered invalid after an assassination attempt. As other ruling party members strive for the position, he relays it to his wife, Rani Bharti, to save the seat and retain the power closer to home. The drama takes a high tide from then on.

The protagonist
How does an illiterate, traditional housewife with no inclination towards politics rise to the occasion? How does she keep up with the chaos, the uncertainties, the challenges and the intricacies of her new job in a male-dominated government? Huma Qureshi, who headlines as the protagonist Rani, gives all the answers in the 10-part political drama web series on SonyLIV. Watch her transformation as she refutes her child-raising commitments and cattle-rearing chores to hold the reins of the office. Whether she is seen performing Chath puja, owning her long drawn sindoor and bindi look, or simply stealing the screen with her expressions, mannerisms and body language, Qureshi does it with passionate clarity and blazing conviction. Expect being hooked to several fish-out-of-water sequences like Rani’s first cabinet meeting, where she admits she can’t read or write. Then there narratives where she’s commanding attention and orders like a total pro.

The cast
Rani’s portrait is astonishingly rich and nuanced, but it is very much a group portrait that makes the political drama engaging and entertaining. Amit Sial is brilliant as the crass-yet-witty opposition leader Navin Kumar, who’s only ambition in life is to become the Chief Minister of Bihar. Where Pramod Pathak as Mishra Ji essays a sharp, loyal wingman, Inaamulhaq as Parvez Alam spruces the plot as a Bengali official probing the fodder scam. Kani Kusruti plays ally to Rani as her OSD (Officer on Special Duty), Kaveri Sridharan.

The dialogues
Packed with twists and turns, along with fascinating characters, Maharani is a triumph of efficient, emphatic storytelling. And more than that, of course: filmmaker Subhash Kapoor (the name behind Jolly LLB, Madam Chief Minister) beautifully captured Bihar’s DNA with in-your-face as well as subliminal cultural references, local flavour and crude humour. The inclusion of Hindi and some Bhojpuri dialogues further elevates the plot. Most dialogues are penned by Umashankar Singh. Quips like “Bihar is not a state, it’s a state of mind,” and “Mukhiya is not a person, but a dark ideology that grows from the caste system in Bihar” are indelible.

The subplot twists
The web series seamlessly portrays a few throwaway references to real-life incidents that have taken place in the political arena in the last few years. The fodder scam is almost a companion piece. In an unpredictable detour, there’s a ‘baba’ drops in on ones of the episodes. The show is also entrenched in the harsh reality of casteism, which takes the form of a power game, to be played or stopped when required. The last episode sets the stage for a possible sequel.

The UK debut
To ensure fans across the pond can play the political drama on any smart screen near them, Sony Pictures Networks’ popular OTT platform, SonyLIV makes its timely foray in the UK. The content streaming service will be available on iOS and Android devices. Alongside Maharani, SonyLIV is loaded with binge-worthy content like web series including Scam 1992, Gullak, Lost and Found, Power, The Handmaid’s Tale and many more.



Tags : Bollywood  Maharani  Sony  UK  Huma Qureshi 
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