rating 5/10 maska
Maska feels like any other awkward, formulaic coming-of-age movie, just repackaged in Parsi clothes. It centers around Rumi Irani (Prit Kamani), a young Parsi boy whose family owns Cafe Rustom, a 100 year old Iranian cafe, but who actually dreams of being an actor. His overbearing mother Diana (Manisha Koirala), is a total traditionalist who wants him to take on the shop so that she can rest (yes, this is really as cliche as it sounds). He meets Mallika (Nikita Dutta), a fiery and fiercely independent divorcee who he gets into a relationship with and encourages him to follow his dreams. Rumi thinks the only way to do this is to sell the cafe. Then it launches into an age old battle between preserving tradition and legacy and following one’s dreams, with Mallika on one side, Diana and another Parsi girl in his compound Persis (Shirley Setia) on the other and Rumi stuck in the middle. Oh, then there's his random ghost dad (Javed Jaffrey) who appears every so often. Even without watching the movie, I think you can guess what happens. Rumi, with his motivational podcasts and posters and mediocre talent, is the epitome of the word ‘cringey.’ However, Kamani’s childlike innocence somehow makes him not completely unlikeable (although it’s hard to understand how both Persis and Mallika are in love with him as he basically lacks a personality). All the female characters in this, although more interesting than Rumi, are basically Bollywood tropes. Mallika is the vilified career-obsessed modern woman, Persis is the sweet, puritanical traditionalist and Diana is the overbearing Indian mother who can’t stay mad at her child for more than a few hours and transforms him into a meek mama’s boy. The movie would’ve been much better off if they had spent less time on Rumi and more time developing these characters, especially Mallika, who’s the most unidimensional of them all (justice for Nikita Dutta). The pacing of the film is insanely slow (you only see the plot about an hour through), despite which none of the relationships are given a strong foundation. The music and many of the lines (‘Johny Johny… feeling horny?’ Like seriously??) are unbearably annoying. However, there are some very sweet parts, like the stories of the different people who frequent Cafe Rustom. Watch this movie if you need something insanely light and fluffy to clear your head. Also, there’s an amazing food porn scene that puts the Food Network to shame. If you’re looking for some quarantine baking inspo, watch it for that.