Mumbai, 25 May 2018 9:04 IST
Director Tejas Vijay Deoskar renders a warm family film that is delightful despite a few flaws.
Madhuri Dixit Nene returns to the big screen after a four-year hiatus (her last release was Gulab Gang in 2014) with a film that puts her right at the centre of a story about self-discovery with great potential to do justice to her range and experience as an actress.
Bucket List opens with Madhura Sane (Dixit Nene) who is about to undergo a heart transplant. Though her life is at risk, all she is worried about is relaying an important message to husband Mohan Sane (Sumeet Raghvan). The message relates to her domestic responsibilities, like buying a half litre less of milk the next day, no sleepovers for her daughter, and other household chores. Setting up the fact that Madhura is so consumed by the needs of her family that she has lost herself.
Her life takes a big turn when she discovers the diary of her heart donor, 20-year-old Sai, who has an unfulfilled bucket list. The list includes biking, dancing before a big crowd, getting drunk, going viral, getting arrested, kissing her boyfriend, and so on.
The idea of a 41-year-old homemaker attempting to fulfil a somewhat wild bucket list of a 20-year-old gives rise to some really fun moments. Madhura tries to conquer her own inhibitions and fights her conservative family to fulfil a list that also becomes a freeing process for her own soul.
Her husband is busy climbing the corporate ladder, and while he thinks he is supportive of his wife, his expectations from her are rather patriarchal (and so are the entire family's, for that matter). He does come to realize in the end that he needs to respect his wife's freedom and individuality, but Madhura's last dialogue to her husband, 'you are not on my bucket list, you are my bucket', diminishes the importance of the message the film is attempting to convey.
While Bucket List is about Madhura fulfilling the wishlist of a 20-year-old, it is in essense about her self-discovery, and the realization that she must first learn to love herself and not lose her individuality by getting engulfed in her duties and chores as a mother, wife and daughter-in-law.
In a sense, the core of the film is quite like that of English Vinglish (2012) and even Queen (2014), to an extent.
Dixit Nene is making her Marathi film debut, but she fits right in and merges beautifully in a family full of brilliant actors. She is older and coming back from a break, but Dixit Nene's dazzling smile, her commanding screen presence and evolution, it is all there!
Watch her at her comic best in a scene where she gets drunk and creates quite a ruckus inside a club's kitchen, and catch her warmth as she gets moist-eyed looking at the pictures of her donor.
The film is also a joy to watch for its multiple characters played by some experienced artistes who are at the top of their game — Renuka Shahane as the grieving mother, Resham Tipnis as the free-spirited friend (albeit slightly over-the-top), Sumit Raghvan as the amiable husband coming to terms with the change in his wife, her teenage daughter who is addicted to her mobile phone and calls her 'bro' and 'duh', Vandana Gupte as a domineering mother-in-law, among others.
One of the biggest delights though is Shubha Khote, back in form delivering comic punches, as the naughty great-grandmother and Madhura's confidante, egging her on to fulfil the list. In one scene, she even feeds Madhura curd for good luck as she prepares to go out and get drunk at a party. Her one-liners leave you in splits every time she is on screen.
There are tons of laugh-out-loud moments, written by Deoskar quite cleverly, and enough emotional content to touch a nerve. But the proceedings often get sappy and predictable. Deoskar also spells out almost everything instead of leaving some of the thrill of discovery to the audience.
That said, Bucket List is a delightful watch and it is a treat to see the dazzling Madhuri Dixit Nene deliver a very real and warm performance in her mother tongue.
Watch the trailer here:
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