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Maalik Ek

Rating: 2

October 29, 2010

Cast: Jackie Shroff, Divya Dutta, Smriti Irani, Shakti Kapoor

Director: Deepak Balraj Vij

Jackie Shroff slips into the robes of Shirdi’s famed Sai Baba in Maalik Ek, a simplistic but earnest film that celebrates the life and teachings of the fakir-saint with magical healing powers.

A 1977 film titled Shirdi Ke Sai Baba starring Sudhir Dalvi as the revered protagonist remains a favourite among devotees. And much in the same vein as that film, Maalik Ek is not so much a conventional plot-driven movie as it is a series of incidents strung together that highlight the various ways in which Sai Baba touched the lives of his believers. Director Deepak Balraj Vij can’t match the star wattage of Hema Malini, Manoj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha who took cameos in the 1977 film, but he does succeed in assembling a gallery of familiar faces who take bit roles as devotees – Rajeshwari Sachdev, Zarina Wahab, Parikshit Sahni, Ranjeeta and Vidya Sinha.

Jackie Shroff, surprisingly, succeeds in humanizing Sai Baba, a figure who has been mystified mostly until now. He plays him without the lofty dialogue delivery. There is less of a halo and more of an approachable air in the actor’s sincere portrayal.

Yet this doesn’t have the broad appeal of a film like The Passion of the Christ, and is likely to appeal strictly to devotees. I’m going with two out of five for Maalik Ek. Watch it if you’re a believer.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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