Updated: August 21, 2020 17:14 IST
Rating : 4/5
Set in the village of Mijwan, Mee Raqsam follows the tale of a young Muslim girl on her journey to learn Bharatanatyam while jumping through the obstacles brought about by the barriers of class, religion, and gender with the support of her father.
In the aftermath of her mother’s death, young Maryam (Aditi Subedi) tries to find solace in the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. It so happens that her mother too was a passionate dancer whose talents went unnoticed. Thus, for Maryam, Bharatanatyam is more than an assertion of her artistic freedom; Bharatanatyam is also a way to remember and celebrate her late mother. The news of a young Muslim girl learning Bharatanatyam, a dance form that is perceived to be of the Hindu fold spreads like wildfire. Oppositions arise from both communities. She faces backlash from community elder Hashim Seth (Naseeruddin Shah) who points out that Bharatanatyam is a dance form that has its roots in the temples and also promotes idolatry which Islam opposes. Maryam is also on the receiving end of hostility from Jayaprakash (Rakesh Chaturvedi Om), a patron of the dance academy run by Uma (Sudeepta Singh) that Maryam attends. Apart from the general dismay from both communities, Maryam also faces opposition from her own family members like her aunt and her grandmother. Amid all this chaos, her father Salim (Danish Hussain) stands as a pillar of support. Even when Maryam is on the verge of giving it all up owing to the pressures of social norms, Salim stands by his daughter's passion for the dance form.
The subtle dance drama explores facets of religion, culture, and the father-daughter bond effortlessly. The stunning performance by the leading cast such as Danish Hussain, Naseeruddin Shah, and Aditi Subedi is a definite plus point of the film. The supporting cast does a great job of holding the storyline intact as well. Mee Raqsam's brilliance script pushes the audiences to play an active role in tackling questions rather than being silent recipients. Mee Raqsam's style of storytelling sheds light on the lived experiences of the characters. The film does not seem to have an ounce of preachiness. While the performance of the actors stands as a backbone to its storytelling, the film's cinematography and detailing champion its cause. The film clearly deals with several facets such as religion, class, and gender. Such a film could have easily lost sight of the main plotline of Salim and Maryam's battle. However, the brilliant script champions their cause throughout the film and makes sure that the title of the film is never forgotten. Mee Raqsam which loosely translates to "I Dance" remains vividly visible to the audience through the father-daughter duo's battle against all odds.
All in all Baba Azmi's directorial debut is a must-watch. If you're looking for a heart-warming tale that pushes you to question the norms of our society, Mee Raqsam is the film for you.