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Mai explores the theme of old age, illness and family ties without the melodrama that one normally sees associated with movies on this topic. A movie like BAghbaan was a total tear jerker, making out the kids to be ungrateful wretches and covering the parents in a halo. Mai steers clear of such extremes and paints a realistic picture of a situation where everybody is a victim to a certain extent and yet the calls of duty and love have to be answered.
A family realizes their mother has Alzheimer's disease. She needs full time care since she gets lost, misplaces things, accuses people of stealing and even forgets the names of her own family. The son with whom she has been staying announces that he has got a transfer to the US and will leave the mother in an old age home.
The eldest daughter decides to get the mother to stay with her family though her husband and daughter are against the idea. The husband sneers at the brother's abdication of duty and the teenage daughter cribs about her lack of privacy and freedom. The story goes on from there about how everyone comes to terms with the illness and the mother's presence in their home and how as a family they deal with the crises.
Asha Bhonsale is a legend and at this age she tries her hand at acting and comes through with ease. Sure, there are amateur moments but such is the force of her personality and charm that you forgive her those lapses. I wonder whether a more accomplished actress such as say Sulabha Deshpande would have added to the impact but I guess you need a large personality to give the mother's role the gravitas it deserves. Padmini Kolhapure is sensitive in her portrayal of the anguished daughter and again reminds us of how fine an actress she has always been. I am beginning to like Ram Kapoor more and more. He needs to do more movies with some strong author backed roles. The rest of of the cast is also very competent.
MAi is a short and sweet film. It sends out a strong message without going over the top. There is no need for a packet of tissues. A lump in the throat is all you it gives you and something to ponder about your own mortality and moral choices. I highly recommend this one for everyone.