Mai Review: A sombre thriller that drives home quietly

The most unique aspect of ‘Mai’ is how calmly the entire storyline unfolds. ‘Mai’ is the story of a mother and her relentless pursuit to find her daughter’s killer. The six-episode Netflix series has a comfortable pace and the reveals light up the alleys of the story quite brilliantly.

By Dheeraj Rayalu  Published on  16 April 2022 11:30 AM GMT
Mai Review: A sombre thriller that drives home quietly

Hyderabad: The most unique aspect of 'Mai' is how calmly the entire storyline unfolds. 'Mai' is the story of a mother and her relentless pursuit to find her daughter's killer. The six-episode Netflix series has a comfortable pace and the reveals light up the alleys of the story quite brilliantly.

Sheel (Sakshi) is a doctor at an old age home and is no different from any regular working mother in a middle-class family. Her reality is shattered when she loses her daughter in an accident right in front of her and this forms the directive of the storyline that branches out into a plot. Sheel is at the centre of the plot and defines the nature of the series with a calm tone that is well supported by the colour palette and the background score. The depth of the character and the journey immerses the viewer in the experience at a commendable level of empathy.

The first two episodes are elegantly utilized to place all the components of the drama in play and are presented with a substantial backstory to mark their respective importance without hindering the continuity or the pace of the storytelling. While the story is seemingly focused on the pursuit of vengeance, the plotline tropes in several sociological aspects –homosexuality (between two central characters), domestic violence (in the life of a character at the old age home), and the body of a female infant in a medical waste plant – while not raising any deviational discussions on the same. These off-shoot presentations do not disturb the central story but add to the character development in light of their reaction to the events and help us bond with the characters and gain their perspectives.

Sakshi steals the show and handles all the complexities of the character well, right from the grieving mother to a vigilante pursuing answers. The spectrum of elements ranging from timidness, grief, and understanding among other things make her the most rewarding presence on the screen. The rest of the cast also fit in perfectly and bring to the screen everything that is required of them. One of the key working points of the series is the well-planned layout of the episodes where the past is shown during the title credits, followed by progression into the present, and ends with more questions to explore in the upcoming episode.

The story does move slowly after the first two episodes where the plot works on connecting the different points and barring one incident, the plotlines are quite predictable. It is mostly the commendable acting that pulls through. While the ending does suggest the possibility of an upcoming season in the future, the scaffold looks too weak to explore any further in this existing story space and might even spoil the effect of the admirable performances.

'Mai' is a reasonable thriller marked by good performances and the uniqueness of how calmly the entire story unfolds.

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