Stutee Ghosh review Mee Raqsam, streaming on ZEE5.

Review: ‘Mee Raqsam’ is Sincere, Not Falling Prey to Preachiness

The film is directed by Baba Azmi.

Movie Reviews
3 min read

Mee Raqsam

Review: ‘Mee Raqsam’ is Sincere, Not Falling Prey to Preachiness

Dance like no one’s watching, they say. And that is what Maryam wants to do too. Her feet sway automatically to the rhythm of the beats coming from the neighbourhood Bharatanatyam school. Dancing also makes her feel closer to her mom, who instilled in her a love for the art in the first place. But the watchful eyes of the custodians of religion and culture never let go of an opportunity to trip her.

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Directed by Baba Azmi and presented by Shabana Azmi, Mee Raqsam is a tribute to their late father Kaifi Azmi’s humanism and advocacy for India’s composite culture.

Set in Azmi's native village Mijwan, this simple heartwarming story of Maryam is not just about a girl wanting to learn dance but how society prefixes her religion before her dream. Maryam is a Muslim girl from Mijwan (Azamgarh), whose desire to learn Bharatanatyam is frowned upon by hardliners on both sides . While some label her act “Gair mazhabi“ others wonder how a Muslim girl is allowed to learn an Indian dance form. “Mohameddan Indian nahi hote kya ?“ asks a character in response.

Safdar Mir and Husain Mir’s script flows sincerely without being subsumed by the overarching melodrama and preachiness.

At the core of Mee Raqsam is a father-daughter relationship bookended by religious fundamentalism on both sides that they try and push way. The appeal lies in how Salim, played by a terrific Danish Hussain, and Maryam (performed by the astonishingly gifted Aditi Subedi) steadfastly hold their own unaware of the reservoir of strength they have in them. They set out not to make a grand statement but just to protect a harmless dream of a young girl fighting to give wings to her dreams.

Naseeruddin Shah in a still from Mee Raqsam.
Naseeruddin Shah in a still from Mee Raqsam.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

In one particular instance Maryam, on the verge of giving up her passion, tells her father how she never thought that they would have to pay such a huge price for just learning to dance. To which the father replies that the price is not for aspiring to become a dancer but trying to simply lead their lives with dignity. Naseeruddin Shah seethes with menace as the community leader trying to bully the father and daughter into submission . A fanatic businessman, played by Rakesh Chaturvedi Om, tries to demean Salim and Maryam in his own way by playing the religion card.

The ensemble cast, which includes Sharddha Kaul and Farrukh Jaffer, as usual exercise tremendous command over the characters .

Simplistic as it may sound, even fairytale like, but Mee Raqsam doesn’t abandon its tonality, which has a surprising amount of grace and beautiful, silent moments.

The reassuring presence of the dance teacher Uma (Sudeepta Singh) or the sympathetic cousin, played by Juhaina Ahsan, add to the charm.

Mee Raqsam makes a strong case against fundamentalism and it’s hollowness. While some portions of the film might seem too simplistic it evocatively and sincerely dances its way into our hearts .

Our rating: 3.5 Quints out of 5

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