Film: Bucket List
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Sumeet Raghavan, Shubha Khote, Renuka Shahane, Sumedh Mudgalkar, and Ranbir Kapoor In A Cameo
Director: Tejas Vijay Deoskar
Rating: * * *
Just when we thought women-centric films were becoming rare, comes this enlivening cinematic adventure featuring Madhuri Dixit in her first Marathi film role as a largely servile 40-year-old housewife Madhura Sane, who has successfully undergone a heart transplant, gaining a new life from a 20-year-old’s gift.
Though a no-brainer of sorts, this is an unabashed family entertainer. The opening sequence itself tells us where this story is headed. Madhura, while on the operating table jerks up to request the Doctor for an audience with her husband. She wants to remind him of four largely unimportant chores he should not forget to do for the next day. The Doctor was understandably flabbergasted and so were we. We did not have to wonder for long though. The minute she gets home Madhura, the housewife gathers steam and is back on track and pondering on more ponderous issues…like who was her donor and what was her life like. Her family doesn’t support that adventurism though.
Madhura meets the donor, Sai’s grieving family, Anjali and Prakash (parents played by Renuka Shahane and Milind Pathak), her surviving, antagonistic twin, Salil (Sumedh Mudgalkar) and her besties. Slowly a bond develops and Madhura is prompted by her inner conscience to undertake the challenge of accomplishing Sai’s bucket list, as a sincere effort to help the family gain closure.
But not every choice is as sincere as we hoped for. The interesting ones like a visit to Leh/Ladakh and adopting a pet, are ticked off as already explored while wearing a 32-D sized bra might not have been much of a challenge I guess. The ones that the director/scriptwriter thought were worth presenting though, are obviously intended to push the right buttons of the (smartly targeted) family audience. The narrative is largely light and frothy. Madhura’s cluelessness about the young adult world is charming to begin with but after a point begins to get tiresome. A mother of a pre-teen herself, it’s a little difficult to understand how she could stay so muddle-headed.
After every attempt, the situation at home gets dicier and Salil, even angrier. It’s not a very convincing set-up though. Madhura’s attempt to appropriate Sai’s bucket list doesn’t quite ring true – because ideally, it should have been Sai’s twin who should have done it, if at all. For someone who has just undergone a heart transplant, Madhuri’s Madhura comes across as a little too energetic and over-eager. To the extent that she is even willing to risk her family life towards a largely meaningless and thankless pursuit.
Contrivances, clichés, melodrama and an all-too-convenient attempt at fudging the timeline for tapping into sentiment, are par for the course here. While Madhuri’s luminous presence combined with the stirring talents of stalwarts like Shubha Khote, Dilip Prabhawalkar, Ila Bhate, Sumeet Raghavan, Renuka Shahane, Vandana Gupte, Pradeep Velankar, Resham Tipnis and that of the young artists (Sumedh Mudgalgar especially) shore up the flagging narrative, there’s not enough intelligence or smarts to keep you invested.
None of the characters has believable arcs. While the humour is redolent, it doesn’t come off as effortless or easy. The narrative is more interested in presenting the diva in sparkling form than in telling a plausible story. So it’s entirely Madhuri’s show, so-to-speak!