BOTTOM LINE: Poor Filmmaking Drowns a Promising Story
Skin and Swear: No Instances of Strong Language and On-Screen Intimacy
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Drama|
What Is the Story About?
Sakina, a middle-aged woman, mother to a teenager daughter Maryam and wife to a modest tailor Salim, passes away after a prolonged illness. Moving on from the setback, Salim realises his daughter’s interest to learn Bharatanatyam and gets her to join a nearby dance school, against the wishes of his conservative family. There comes a point where his community threatens to disown him for sending his daughter to learn Bharatanatyam. Yet Salim stands up for his daughter’s passion. Maryam, making quick progress in the dance form, also has to tolerate an influential person from another community who ill-treats people on the basis of religion. Will art triumph all barriers?
There’s only so much that an actor can do when they’re stuck in an insipid script. Danish Hussain, after a series of reasonably memorable appearances, tries to put the best foot forward as a father who could go to any length to protect his daughter and her dream. Naseeruddin Shah is painfully bland in the avatar of a religious headman in a film that doesn’t his mettle at all.
Shraddha Kaul looks like a woman in a hurry to finish her lines, she doesn’t give herself enough to absorb the eccentricities of her part. Rakesh Chaturvedi Om as the conservative cultural organisers dons the same expression of disgust through the film as if he were paid only for that and has nothing else to offer. Aditi Subedi is hardly the expressive dancer that the film needed; the role too doesn’t portray her journey with the art form with any authenticity. Everything looks hushed up for the film to deliver its supposed ‘message’.
If good intentions were the sole criteria to make a good film, the Baba Azmi directorial Mee Raqsam would have been labelled a classic. The 95-minute long film is a typical case of a filmmaker not knowing what to make of a real-life story that’s begging to be made into a movie. Mee Raqsam has a great story but is a poorly made film. The story of a Muslim girl from Azamgarh battling all odds to find her feet in Bharatanatyam would’ve been so right for the times (it still is) where we’re battling religious polarisation across the country. Yet it’s disappointing that the story couldn’t go into the hands of a more capable filmmaker.
The premise serves as a perfect foil for a solid father-daughter drama. How would a father make up for the sudden loss of a mother to his teenage daughter? What’s the price he has to pay to stand up for his child and her ambitions? Is religion so fragile that it wouldn’t let a girl pursue an art form of her choice? These are only a few of the many potent questions that Mee Raqsam asks, but the answers it offers are too simplistic for one’s liking. Everything in the film is conveniently one dimensional – religious dogma is the cause of every possible struggle and art is the panacea to all such problems.
This seems like a world where there are only two colours. There are only good or bad people in the film’s universe; everyone in it is either irritatingly generous or woefully conservative/evil-minded. The Hindu-dance teacher is a good person, but the sponsor for Bharatnatyam events is evil. The Muslim father is extremely open-minded, but the pious religious head is so shallow. There’s no middle ground at all. The girl’s tryst with Bharatanatyam hardly seems authentic. It doesn’t even take a year for her to display great potential, become a dancing superstar and come up with impromptu Bharatanatyam moves set to a Sufi number (in a dance competition, where she expectedly wins the first prize). One wishes learning an art form was as simple.
The film only bothers about the protagonist’s journey but doesn’t care to address religious conservatism with any depth. It’s as if people belonging to two religions have no work but to quarrel against each other; this is an exaggeration that can set a dangerous precedent. Mee Raqsam has zilch emotional impact and the director chooses amateurish ways to make the viewer feel as if the protagonist was born to dance. The Bharatnatyam teacher goes ahead and even says, ‘the art form has chosen you and not the other way round’. These are tall statements and the detailing in the dance-related backdrop remains extremely hazy and contrived. Despite the minimal length, there’s neither any nuance in the storytelling nor credible performances to write home about.
Music and Other Departments?
The film keeps using the same track to highlight the girl’s interest in dance; it’s not only uninspiring but shows how the filmmaker hasn’t put in serious effort to portray the dancer’s journey. Ripul Sharma’s few tracks impress but the film doesn’t have great situational value. Mohsin Khan Pathan’s cinematography remains ordinary. On a writing level, the conflicts in the story are watered down with no impact at all.
Danish Hussain’s performance
Zilch emotional impact
No authenticity in the storytelling
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Mee Raqsam Review by Binged Bureau
We Are Hiring - If you love binge-watching and follow everything related to the various OTT platforms and their
content, here is your chance to turn the passion into a profession. Below positions are open:
1. Content Writer
Get in touch with us at [email protected] with sample articles.