The drama behind Bihar politics is “fascinating”, wrote academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta for The Indian Express after Nitish Kumar dumped BJP earlier this month, and went back to Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Well, not just now, Bihar politics has been fascinating since forever and has inspired the scripts of many filmmakers. However, the writers of SonyLIV’s web series Maharani Season 2, Subhash Kapoor, Nandan Singh and Umashankar Singh, are among those few who have got the tone and the mood of Bihar politics right.
No matter how much those involved in the making of the show refuse (viewers can definitely make an educated guess), Maharani draws heavily from significant events in the history of Bihar, including Rabri Devi becoming Chief Minister, the Rajeev Goswami self-immolation incident amidst drama around reservation bill, Shilpi-Gautam murder case and the demand for a separate state. But these incidents are just the source material that the writers have skillfully turned into a gripping and engaging drama.
In Maharani Season 1, Rani Bharti (Huma Qureshi), who was forced to become Bihar’s Chief Minister after her husband Bheema Bharti (Sohum Shah) was bed-ridden, got her husband arrested in the fodder scam.
Now, in her attempt to be righteous and free Bihar from ‘jungle raaj’, she has made many foes, including her husband Bheema and political rival Naveen Singh (Amit Sial). But she is not bogged down by hatred or competition. She has become a lot more confident, commanding deference from everyone, whether they are eager to dole it out or not. She has no trouble expressing anger and frustration when incompetent ministers do not do their job or are involved in criminal activities.
Meanwhile, she has also not lost touch with her human and emotional side as she showcases affection towards her kids and sorrow and shame when a model is raped, and a mother loses her son.
Though the focus of this 10-episode series remains ‘gawaaran’ Rani Bharti and how she grows from a homemaker to a sensible, poised and whip-smart politician, the creators also tackle topics like reservation, caste and religion. It takes a couple of episodes to warm up to Rani’s world, but once you are in it, it’s difficult to look away.
Writers Subhash Kapoor, Nandan Singh and Umashankar Singh along with director Ravindra Gautam make their fictional world look real as they provide a behind-the-scenes look at how politicians design their election campaigns and how policies are made while keeping the public good in hindsight and personal agendas at the fore.
But, despite using the tropes of a political thriller, the makers have created a show that keeps you invested throughout. It is a worthy addition to the political thriller genre as its makers seem to be aware of the world in which they have set their show.
Besides a gripping script and entertaining dialogues, another reason why Maharani 2 is a notch above other web shows of today, is the terrific cast. Huma Qureshi has gotten into the skin of Rani Bharti so well that you would find it difficult to find actor Huma in the show.
Sohum Shah, too, aces his character of a scheming Bheema Bharti. The talented Amit Sial once again proves his mettle. And, the entire bunch of actors who are constantly jockeying for ministerial positions fit their part. Kudos to the casting director.
Overall, the second season of Maharani is an engaging affair, which showcases what people do to stay in power.