Thursday, July 4, 2024


"Maharaj" (2024) recalls a court case going back to 1862 under British rule in Bombay.  Two lawyers conversing noted that the British were able to rule such a big country, because India had so many religions that divided the country. 

The story revolves around Kursan who loved a girl name Kishori.  After they got engaged many of their talks revolved around religion between a sceptic and a strong believer focused on a local religious leader who exploited young women by raising an emotional fervor.   Kaurson watched as Kishori was chosen for a special ceremony and rightly supposed it was a pretext for a sexual encounter.  He was very self righteous and broke off their engagement.  She is devastated and also comes to realize the ceremony was really rape.  She commits suicide, but left a note for Karsun.

Karsun decides to expose the fraudulent guru using his journalist connections.  The guru at first is very self confident that nothing would deter his devotees.  In some cases they were very devout and in other cases they had been intimidated.  

The film seems like a battle between reason and religion.   It is historical so you could look it up, but it would be easier to check it out on Netflix which carries it in several languages including English. 

 This is a mammoth effort that holds attention.  For that here are some people who are responsible.

 Malhotra P. Siddharth was the director.  He has 4 credits as director, 20 as a writer and and as a producer has 30 credits including "We are Family" (2010) and "Hitchki" (2012)

 Vipul Mehta adapted the story  He started his film career in the Gujarati theatre (the original story has Gujarati roots) and then moved to Marathi and Hindi films.  He has 21 credits as a writer, 2 as a producer and 7 as a director.

Aditya Chopra was a producer.  Aditya Chopra is a name attached to many enjoyable Bollywood movies, often as a director or writer.  At age 23 his first directing and writing effort was the longest running movie "Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge."  He comes by it honestly as his father, Yash Chopra was the well established.  Aditya also got my attention as he married Rani Mukerji,   Aditya is the highest grossing Indian producer to date.  He has continued to write and direct. but is now more involved in producing where in a sense he is even more creative.   He has 66 producing crdits, 22 as a writer and 4 as director including "Mohabbatein" (2000),  "Veer-Zaara" (2006) "Fanaa" (2006), "Rab Ne Bana  Di Jodi"  (2008), "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (2012)"Sultan" (2016), "Fan" (2016) and "The Railway Men" (2023).  See

Sohail Sen provided the music. He has 24 composing credits, 12 for the music department and 2 for acting including ""Ek Tha Tiger" (2012) and "Baazaar" (2018).

Rajeev Ravi was the cinematographer.  He has 41 credits for cinematography, 5 as director and 2 as a writer including "No Smoking" (2007), "Gulaal" (2009), "Dev D"(2009), "Gangs of Wasseypur" (2012), "Bombay Talkies" (2013) and "Virus" (2019).

 Shweta Venkat was the editor.  She has 33 editor credis and 3 for the editorial department including "Gangs of Wasseypur" (2012), "Hasee Toh Phasee" (2014) and "Newton" (2017).

Jaideep Ahlawat played the arrogant, evil Maharaja very frightenly.  He has 33 acting credits including "Aakrosh" (2010), "Gangs of Wasseypur" (2012), "Raes" (2017), "Razzi" (2018), "Three of Us" (2023) and "Jaane Jaan" (2023).  See

 Junaid Khan play Karson.  As the son of Aamir Khan he had some unusual opportunities.  He was on the second unit  assistant director for "PK" (2014).  This was his first lead in a feature film.     See

Shalini Pandey played Krishori.  She started in Telegu cinema and has since done Tamil and Hindi films.  She has 14 acting credits including the lead in "Arjun Reddy" (2017).   See

 Edward Sonnenblick played a lawyer in the court room scenes.  He grew up in California earning a degree in botany.  He was a natural food chef in northern Californian for 15 years.  He learned Hindi, likely after marrying his wife.   He has 33 acting credits including "Badmash Company" (2010), "Game" (2011), "Neerja" (2015), "Kapoor and Sons" (2015) and "RRR" (2022).

 There was some confusion as apparently two films covering the same historical events with a similar name came out in 2023, this one "Maharaj" and another "Maharaja".  I understand one of them, has been held up for a censor board concerned about religious sensitivities.  It could have been this one, but somehow it did make it through the censor to Netflix.  If the second version becomes available I will be very interested.  It does have a higher IMDB rating.

As usual I have bolded the first time mention of films I have seen.

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