Jungle Raj Inverted: ‘Maharani’ Gets Caste Better Than Many Others

However, Maharani does have its share of problematic takes, most notably the conclusion.

Perhaps the message that the makers were trying to send is that the Upper Caste hegemony is such that an oppressed caste leader can succeed only if he becomes a crony of dominant castes but that’s not coming out as clearly as they may have hoped.

Instead, Maharani‘s main conclusion seems to be that corruption and not casteism is the biggest evil. Eventually, even the rise of the Upper Caste militia massacring Dalits across Bihar is attributed to an embezzlement racket within the ruling class.

And the final victory of ‘good over evil’ is shown mainly as “jailing of the corrupt” and even a leader who gave ‘voice to the oppressed’ is shown as being “as bad as upper caste leaders”.

The conclusion becomes surprising when compared to the first three episodes which lay the context of upper caste hegemony reasonably effectively.

Another problem is that barring the DGP Siddhant Gautam (Kannan Arunachalam), there aren’t enough Dalit characters. From Rani and Bheema Bharati, to the naxal chief Shankar Mahto, much of the pushback against casteism is shown to be coming from OBCs.

However, there is no denying that Maharani is a step forward in terms of caste representation. Finally, the audience is made to see that the tussle in the Hindi heartland isn’t just between Akhandanand Tripathis, Guddu Pandits and other similar Shuklas, Pandeys and Mishras. There are numerous Rani and Bheema Bharatis too and they won’t be silenced and invisiblised anymore.

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