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Sakshi Tanwar In Web Series Mai Has Shades Of Sridevi’s Film Mom, But With Many More Layers

I am in absolute awe of the way Sakshi Tanwar's Sheel maintains a fine balance between her family, her work, and her mission to unveil the truth behind her daughter's murder.

Mai as the name of the series indicates revolves around a grieving mother Sheel who loses her hearing and speech impaired daughter Supriya in a dubious accident.

While everyone around her, including her impassive husband believes it to be just an accident, Sheel delves deep to the solve the mystery of her daughter’s accident that she considers to be a murder, and finds herself engulfed in a murky world of mobsters.

The narrative of a mother avenging upon the wrongdoers of her daughter has been previously witnessed in films such as Mom starring Sridevi. However Mai stands out to be different because here a mother’s transformation from a meek housewife to an iron lady who can go to any extent to punish the perpetrators of her daughter, even if it included killing them, is depicted throughout the six episodes of the series.

A class act by Sakshi Tanwar

Sheel’s appearance as a typical housewife dressed in a saree and also a nurse who looked after the inhabitants of an old age home Geeta Bhavan is beautifully juxtaposed with her other appearance of an agonized mother who in her hunger to seek revenge for her daughter tactfully handles the hard-core criminals and cops with the exhibition of her wit and fiery spirit.

I am in absolute awe of the way Sakshi Tanwar’s Sheel maintains a fine balance between her family, her work, and her mission to unveil the truth behind her daughter’s murder. Wearing a saree and bearing a placid face, Sheel used her appearance, and the helplessness of a bereaved mother to deceive the opponents who were physically stronger than her, thereby defeating them with her intelligence.

An unsupportive husband

However I feel if her husband had been more vocal and active, then Sheel wouldn’t have to undertake so much trouble and risks to ensure justice for her late daughter.

Her husband who is a chemist and a part time mechanic is shown living under the shadow of his big brother, ‘Bhaishaab’ and his wife, ‘Bhabhi’ who were dominant enough to take away their younger child, their son Archit since they were childless to raise him as theirs. Our heart cries for Sheel in a certain scene when she has an emotionally outburst, telling her husband that she wasn’t even asked about her opinion while her own son was snatched away from her and given to someone else.

Sheel’s suffering here is two-fold – one is of the loss of her daughter, and the other is of the loss of her son who despite staying near her could never be hers and who addressed her as “Chachi”, not as “Mai”.  In various scenes after the loss of her daughter we see Sheel trying to enlighten Archit about the identity of his real parents, but with her every attempt she turned into a villain in the eyes of her own family members. This makes us sympathize with Sheel, as none of her near and dear ones tried to understand her and her situation.

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Lucknow, seen from a very different perspective

Lucknow, a city famous for its architecture, rich culture and food is portrayed in a different light, replete with dirty scams of money laundering, treacherous businessmen, disillusioned cops, and heinous criminals all of them single handedly bamboozled and defeated by Sheel’s shrewdness. Sheel redeems herself from the cocoon of the typical ‘griha-lakshmi’ in her quest to search for the truth of her daughter’s death, steeped in darkness.

Throughout the six episodes of the series Sheel confronts many malefactors, and through her numerous confrontations Sheel, in a way rediscovers herself, her indomitable self, who can triumph over any hurdle set on her path. Does Sheel manage to catch the culprit who ordered the truck to run over her daughter? Find out.

A narrative of steely strength

Mai thus narrates the tale of a mother and the obstacles she endures with unflinching courage for the sake of her motherhood.

Yet there’s this one scene in the series which shook me to the core.

When Sheel finds a child’s hand while rummaging through a garbage bag, searching for a lost object that she expects to trade off for a clue about her daughter’s accident, one of her accomplices comments, “Ladki hogi, yaha bahut milenge aise” (Must have been a girl child; you’ll find many like this here). Like Sheel we are shaken by this reference to gender discrimination and female infanticide still prevalent in 21st century Indian society.

However this entire scene also depicts the fragility of a female child, which ironically can be linked with death of Supriya. Maybe if she wasn’t a woman, she would haven’t been so easily suppressed, and wouldn’t have been subjected to the same consequences that she faced. Yet this incident gets immediately counterbalanced by the fury exhibited by Supriya’s Mai, in a mix of revenge and defence.

Sakshi Tanwar’s Mai – Sheel – shall be imprinted in our minds for her resilience and dauntless bravery.

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About the Author

Srilekha Mitra

A full time overthinker and a part time writer. Words are my antidote on bad days. I prefer to bask in fictional world of cinema than reality. Food and music are my refuge on gloomy read more...

14 Posts | 11,725 Views

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