Whenever you talk of fantasy TV shows, the first name that comes to mind is of The Game of Thrones. However, it would be unfair to compare the huge budgets of Yankee TV to desi stuff.
We need to have our own yardsticks, and it is heartening to note that with rising technical expertise, the level and quality of desi fantasy VFX have really gone up by a few notches.
The latest example is Star Bharat’s Mayavi Maling. The makers, Peninsula Pictures (Alind Srivastava and Nissar Parvez), have left no stone unturned to give you visual delights of the kingdom of Malang, where the story of dev vs danav is set.
The main protagonists are the three daughters of Malang King, Shiladitya (Shakti Anand), who battle the evil queen, Madhumali (Aparna Kumar) and Prince Angad (Harshad Arora), of the neighboring state of Mahapuram. Middle sister Eshwarya, essayed by Vani Sood, (Mom), who has got powers, leads the charge against the above evil. Her didi, Pranali (Neha Solanki) is completely smitten by her fiancé, Angad. Youngest sister, Garima, (Gracy Goswami of Balika Vadhu fame), also gets rescued by the good guy Chegu (Ankit Gupta, last seen in Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi), when she was kidnapped by the tribals, led by Mamik of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar fame. The poor guy seems to get only mytho fantasy roles.
Aparna Kumar is doing a good job as the evil queen, but we do feel that her expressions seem repetitive. She needs to add some variety to her evil smirk. Harshad is perfect as the evil son.
No royal story is complete without palace intrigue, so welcome Mandari, played by Ashlesha Sawant. She is the wife of the younger brother of King Shiladitya.
Vani has got the perfect platform to showcase her acting skills, and has started well. She sure has potential. Gracy is also doing a fine job of a young girl trying to make sense of the changing circumstances.
It would be interesting to see how Pranali’s graph moves, in the coming time. We are sure the makers will add layers to her character as well.
Sadly, Ankit seems a tad lost in his character. Maybe the wings, language and costumes give such a notion. He is a good actor, and we are confident that, over time, things will come back to an even keel.
We also hope Shakti Anand has more to do in the coming episodes. Guess this talented actor is finally coming to that age when he is forced to play the normal father, hamstrung by circumstances.
Ditto with the beautiful Monaz Mevawala; this girl, who at one time would play a chirpy daughter or bahu, has to accept the changing tide of time and play a young mother.
Pranali’s, mom, Parinita Seth, who has been around for many years, looks the most fit as the mother queen.
The real hero of the show is the VFX (palace, forest, waterfront etc). You want to tune in, just to see what magic unfolds next on screen. The phenomenal success of the Baahubali franchise has made the genre big again.
We need to wait and watch how the most important ratings unfold. STAR network’s last big-ticket fantasy show, Aaarambh, had failed. Also, Chandrankanta, on Star Bharat’s predecessor, Life OK, again a weekend show, had not done really well. But yes, here the slot is of a week day, so there will be a different audience.
Here, we have to accept that Star Bharat has begun well, offering differentiated content. A fantasy offering on a channel made for Hindi heartland audiences will surely stand out. The able and creative thinkers, Alind and Nissar have a success story to tell, is what we feel.
Interestingly, Mayavi Maling replaced Kaal Bhairav Rahasya, which had a hint of fantasy; so there will be a catchment of audiences that like fantasy.
We would rate it 3 out of 5 stars.