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Maestro

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The Times Of India
17th September, 2021 00:00 IST

Maestro Story: A blind pianist’s carefully constructed life unravels when he takes up a private gig at the house of an ageing actor. Having dug his own grave, will he find a way to claw out of it?

Maestro Review: Merlapaka Gandhi attempts to take on the award-winning black comedy Andhadhun and tweak it a little bit for Maestro. While the basic beats of the film remain familiar and it’s almost a frame to frame remake, there are hearts tugged by sentiment and key plot points spoon-fed while it was left to imagination in the original. By the time the scene where a lead knocks a soda can out of their way rolls around, you’re left with mixed feelings.

Arun ( Nithiin ) is a blind pianist in Goa, living in the handicapped quarters with only his cat Rani for company. He plays his music at local restaurants to make ends meet and save enough money to head abroad. Sophie ( Nabha Natesh ) and her father Pedro (Balakrishna) allow him to play at their struggling restaurant. Elsewhere there’s an ageing superstar called Mohan (Naresh) who loves re-watching his old films to remember lost glory. He’s been married to a much-younger Simran ( Tamannaah Bhatia ) since two years and she harbours the dream of being an actress. Maestro also sees Jisshu Sengupta as a CI called Bobby, Sreemukhi as his wife Lucky and Harshavardhan as a doctor looking to make a quick buck. An illicit affair leaves murders in its wake, a key witness must find a way to save themselves and a rabbit escapes a cabbage farm right on time.

Maestro stays true to the original Hindi film for the most part though fans of Andhadhun might find the additions to the script unnecessary. The script’s strength lies in the fact that no one, except for maybe Sophie, Mohan and his daughter Pavithra (Ananya Nagalla) are as harmless as they seem. Every single one of these characters are willing to cross a line when it comes down to it, some more harmful than the others. So, to have them act out of nothing but self-preservation takes away from the nuttiness of the way they’re fleshed out. Given the gist of the film, it seems like the tweaks try to redeem a character even as the ending brings them back to square one. The dark humour also seems missing in the way the film progresses.

Nithiin seems to enjoy playing someone who doesn’t exactly have the moral high-ground even if most of the people he meets seem to be worse than him. He fits right into the skin of the character, be it when he’s pretending to be something he’s not or when he does end up living a nightmare. Nabha’s character has the carpet pulled out from under and she holds her own in a film where she is always the last one to know anything. Tamannaah is good as the young wife who finds herself toeing a line and crossing it in no time, she fits well for the most part. Her Telugu diction however is distracting and takes away from the intensity of certain scenes. Rest of the actors too play their parts well. Mahati Swara Sagar’s haunting Vennello Aadapilla leaves an impression while rest of the songs and BGM are okay.

That said; Maestro might not be the classic Ilairayaaja number it set out to be but it still remains as catchy as the latest peppy number. That makes it worth a watch.

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