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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Nithiin, Tamannaah, Nabha Natesh, and others in the poster for&nbsp;<em>Maestro.</em></p></div>
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'Maestro' Film Review: Nithiin & Tamannaah's 'Andhadhun' Remake Is Worth a Watch

Nithiin and Tamannaah's Maestro is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Updated
Movie Reviews
4 min read

Maestro

'Maestro' Film Review: Nithiin & Tamannaah's 'Andhadhun' Remake Is Worth a Watch

How do you remake a thriller whose central twist has been in the public domain for a few years? And here comes the bigger twist – how do you keep the viewers glued to the screen despite not breaking any new ground? Merlapaka Gandhi’s Maestro answers those two questions satisfactorily, even though he doesn’t run his movie through the metal detector for cliff-hangers. It’s refreshing to see Telugu cinema embrace a black comedy where the anti-hero (played by a woman, that too) sets the ball rolling.

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You do need to keep in mind that this isn’t an original screenplay – that right there would have been a true zinger. But we’re already stretching our legs under the cloud of a pandemic, therefore it’s okay to loosen the strings a bit.

The precarious idea at the core of Sriram Raghavan’s Hindi blockbuster Andhadhun (2018), upon which Maestro is based, states (not literally, however) that a physical disability fuels creativity. The male protagonist pretends to be blind so that he can focus solely on music and the sounds that make up the world he lives in. If there’s sympathy attached to his condition, he won’t mind milking it, either.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Nithiin as Arun, the piano player who pretends to be blind, in&nbsp;<em>Maestro.</em></p></div>

Nithiin as Arun, the piano player who pretends to be blind, in Maestro.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

And in the Telugu version, Arun (Nithiin) does the same thing. He’s a pianist who’s appreciated by one and all. And, as a result, lilting tunes keep flowing through his veins. He regularly gets patted on his back since he brings joy to the listeners. Don’t music and food bring people together? When there’s a good amount of them both, you sometimes tend to forget the mundane miseries that taunt you.

The opening minutes of Maestro introduce him and his job to the home audience and the setup sticks to dishing out basic information without going into the details of how he got there. He lives alone and doesn’t seem to be bombarded with questions about what he does for a living by his nosy relatives. Thankfully, there are no mini voice-overs that explain the tricks he buries in his hat. I can’t even begin to imagine the extent of damage such an exposition would have created in the drama.

Arun, in his journey to become a great artist, comes across Sophie (Nabha Natesh), a mild-mannered restaurateur, with whom he strikes a friendship. But Sophie isn’t the one that we follow throughout the movie because she’s a nice person. She smiles well, speaks softly, and asks the right questions at the right time.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Nabha Natesh as Sophie in a still from&nbsp;<em>Maestro.</em>&nbsp;</p></div>

Nabha Natesh as Sophie in a still from Maestro. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Nothing ever goes wrong with such folks. They may not be completely boring, but, in literature and cinema, they won’t be able to drive the narrative. Hence, you get the dazzling Simran (Tamannaah). Now, Simran is one of a kind. She’s young, full of life, and married to a middle-aged man whose best days are behind him.

The middle-aged man, here, is Mohan (Naresh) – an actor who has a habit of going to YouTube and reminiscing about the 80s. He’s not exactly obsessed with himself; he doesn’t look in the mirror and express his displeasure every once in a while, about how he’s not a leading star anymore. Nevertheless, he re-watches his own movies and makes it a point to show up at parties with a surprisingly large grin. He doesn’t consider his stint in the film industry a thing of the past, as he very much believes that he still has a foot left there.

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Naturally, it’s all fun and games until the first balloon bursts in Maestro and when that happens, you’ll notice a shift in the genre. You won’t be holding your breath really, but you’ll be in for a wild ride all the same. If you’ve watched Andhadhun, the twists may not readily surprise you. You won’t lose your balance at the curve of the same pothole again and again, right? You can apply the same formula to this case.

Although Tamannaah goes above and beyond her usual quirks to grab the soul of a terrifically wicked woman, she doesn’t rise to the standard set by Tabu in the original.

Since she’s much younger than the latter, Gandhi could have employed another line of strategy to tackle the mess that her character gets into. The remake could have then wowed the second-time viewers anew.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Tamannaah as Simran, a role played by Tabu in the original&nbsp;<em>Andhadhun.</em></p></div>

Tamannaah as Simran, a role played by Tabu in the original Andhadhun.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Nithiin, too, doesn’t try to experiment with his bits of shock and dread. His face constantly remains on the verge of a breakdown – a kind of sadness that would have fit the facade of a romantic tragedy. But it fits here, as well. So, no complaints! And apart from the end credits where all the actors come together to shake a leg as if this is a masala movie, Maestro strictly adheres to the fact that it’s a product that doesn’t require extra elements to shine – a comedian in the name of hero’s friend, for starters.

Maestro is a good remake at the end of the day even though some of the actors approach their parts somewhat underwhelmingly.

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