Fans have been looking forward to seeing Madhuri Dixit Nene’s Marathi debut. She is, after all, a Maharashtrian and it seems a shame that she had to wait until the roles dried up in Hindi to make the move.
Bucket List seemed like a good opportunity to make up for lost time. Sadly this well-intended but excessively sweetened film about a housewife living out a list of daring (by her conservative standards) fantasies is a bit of a letdown.
For one, Bucket List seems more about Dixit Nene than her character Madhura’s bucket list.
Pulling off a role that the late Sridevi excelled at was always a secret yearning that Dixit Nene nursed. Well, ladies and gentlemen, here you have it. Madhuri Dixit Nene does a Sridevi, akin to her in English Vinglish.
In both films, the female hero plays a Marathi housewife who at some point decides she wants to explore experiences outside marriage, children and home. In both films, the husband is a shadowy figure played with confident persuasion by actors who know how to flesh out their sketchily written roles.
Adil Hussain and Sumeet Raghavan are interchangeable in English Vinglish and Bucket List. And they are both equally replaceable with Vinod Mehra if this film had been made in the 1970s, which it easily could have been.
The focus is on Dixit Nene as she tucks her sari into her still-slim waist and takes off on adventures. Both Madhuri/Madhura and the film’s benign-hearted writer-director seem to be inflicted by the yearning to keep the proceedings sweet and dignified to the point of being disarmingly dull.
Bucket List seems to have been conceived only to flatter its leading lady. In the process, talented actors such as Renuka Shahane, Shubha Khote, Dilip Prabhalkar and Sumedh Mudgalkar (giving a heartfelt performance as the heart donor’s twin brother) barely get a chance to come out of the shadows.
When they do, we get an inkling of what this film could have been if it had its heart in the right place. Or maybe too much heart and very little mind is the problem.
If you want to see a solidly performed powerfully written film on a middleclass housewife’s middle aged rebellion try Tabu in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Astitva or Smita Patil in Jabbar Patel’s Subah.
Or better still, watch English Vinglish again.
Check it out!
Bucket List is out now in the UAE