Maximum is an unusual take within the Mumbai crime genre. It's a conflict within the police system, with the cops replacing the goons. But the violence, bloodshed, and politics remain unchanged. It traces the rise and fall of a high profile encounter cop played by Sonu Sood, his life also being a reflection of the turbulence and politics that dominated the city in that period.
The biggest problem with Maximum is lack of a clear conflict. If it's a cop v/s cop story between Naseerudin Shah and Sonu Sood, then it's underplayed to the point that the rivalry, though implied and shown, never quite reaches a dramatic high. Shah's cop is an unsubstantiated character. Patches of conversation indicate he was once Sood's mentor, only to be overlooked for promotion and be left behind in the clichd Bollywood promotion race. But while you're given the full treatment on Sood's family, flaws, trials and tribulations, you only get a few smart alecky lines for Shah and no other character setup. The result is a rivalry between unequal characters, and makes for a flat and uninvolving affair.
Kaushik makes a sincere attempt to construct a film that's not necessarily in your face, where the intent of where it's going isn't shoved blatantly down your throat. But even such scenes and events that are not glaring markers for the next sequence eventually need to mean something in the larger context of the film, in either form or content, else they're a waste of time and effort. This is something Maximum suffers from as well. There are a few scenes where characters sprout seemingly irrelevant dialogue, almost like there is a deeper meaning pertaining to the film. Sood and the reporter played by a very likeable Amit Sadh have two meetings in a cafe, each opposite from the other with respect to where the two mean are in their professional lives. The up and down context is obvious, so the conversation they have becomes meaningless and a bit of a put on, especially with tightly framed close-ups adding to the pretense. Likewise for the Shakespeare mouthing father, who's pearls of wisdom end up in similar irrelevance. There are a few more, and end up dragging the film down with no other payoff to offer.
The final twist in the tale comes across as a contrivance, almost like a last ditch effort to make an impact. The final shootout it results in then, feels like there was a lacuna of ideas for how the film should be finished. You've anyway seen a bullet ridden Sood in the first frame of the film, and the ending holds no surprises at all.
Given the nature RGV production line of Mumbai cop and crime films we're used to, Kaushik's Maximum treads a more conversational and less action filled route. If you heard this at the beginning of the film, it would hold your interest. At the end of it all, you're so bored you'd rather have mindless violence. Clearly, we are not spoiled for choices here.