Mom is briliant

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Jul 2017 10:52:24

 By Aasawari Shenolikar

Two wrongs do not make a right - we all have been taught that. But, to make a wrong right, when it comes to ‘galat aur bahut galat mein aap kisse chunenge?’ , then it’s obvious that it's a very thin line and a very difficult choice. The revenge saga, Mom, directed by Ravi Udaywar, is based on this premise, wherein he looks at the galat angle from a Mom’s point of view, a mother who is completely shattered at the way the judiciary and the police machinery work.

Set in, where else, but Delhi, infamously known as the ‘rape capital’, Udaywar takes us into the home of Sabharwals, where Devki (Sridevi), a school teacher with a heart of gold, has a tumultuous relationship with her daughter Arya (Sajal Ali). Arya has major issues with Devki, who happens to be her stepmother. The ‘O’ in Mom is replaced by an ‘A’ and to Arya, she is nothing more than a teacher in her school. All conversations at home between the Mom-daughter are directed through Anand (Adnan Siddiqui), who dotes on his daughters. At a party, when Arya spurns a couple of guys, one, who happens to be her classmate, they pay her back by raping her. They throw the girl in a ditch, presuming her to be dead. Unfortunately, for them, she is alive and able to pinpoint the culprits . However, when a fast track hearing goes in favour of the perpetrators - ‘evidence is insufficient’ the Judge states, the Sabharwals are devastated.

Watching her traumatised daughter deal with the humiliation, ‘saza toh Arya ko mili hai. How will she live through this ordeal?’ Devki asks her husband. She loses sleep over the image of the four of them, with the tag of baizzat bari, walking away, smirking smugly. The sentence that they taunted Arya with while raping her repeatedly, ‘Jaa ab apni maa ko bula,’ keeps haunting the mother, and she comes to a decision. Along with DK (Nawaz Siddiqui), a private detective, she sets out to destroy those who had wrecked her daughter’s dignity. The mom turns into a slayer of the sinners.

Story wise there’s nothing new - we’ve seen such revenge saga - the most recent one being Raveena Tandon’s Maatr. What is different and makes Mom a compelling, gripping watch is the outstanding performances by everyone - all a powerhouse of talent. Sri stands tall amongst them. Complementing her and lending credibility to the whole exercise on the canvas is the strong ensemble cast - Akshaye Khanna as the CBI Inspector handling the gangrape case, Nawaz as the private detective - simply brilliant in his cameo, endearing and enchanting, Sajal Ali, the traumatised teenager and Adnan Siddiqui, a dishy actor, who unfortunately doesn’t get enough scope to show us what he has up his sleeve. Nonetheless, all of them together weave a potent story, a ‘settling of scores saga’ that is gritty and able to bring on the goosebumps more than once.

Watching Sridevi, in a completely different avatar than her last outing in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish, speaks volumes about her talent and her ‘chameleonic’ ability to get into the skin of the character. In Mom, we see Sri as a Mom, indulgent, caring, anxious and paranoid (about parties and late nights). (Which Mom isn’t?) What takes a tad away from a hundred percent powerhouse act is her strong accent and not so powerful dialogue delivery. Her performance in the hospital, when she breaks down on seeing her daughter tattered and fighting for her life, is simply mind blowing. Not a word is uttered, but her wailing is enough to leave the audience shaken. This is when one realises the enormity of the crime that has happened. While the hospital scene agitates you emotionally, the way the gangrape has been shot - without dramatising it unnecessarily - makes you cringe at what is happening. Shot from the top, the camera pans the black SUV moving on the empty roads, the stark headlights making two giant pools on the dark strip, then it stops in the middle of the road, the drivers change and the mutilation of the girl and her self-esteem continues. The background score in this scene stands out and send shivers down the spine. Truly mortifying!

Cinematography gets a thumbs up - it is in sync with the mood of the film and the interplay of shadows and lights convey the feelings without a word being uttered. News of the first perpetrator dying makes the traumatised girl get up and draw the curtains back, letting in a little light in her world that had turned dark and somber. Brilliant detailing - of instances and sequences, sharp editing helps to keep the audience engaged with what is going on the screen.

While the plot, post interval might appear implausible, I mean a Biology teacher, suddenly turning revengeful with murder on her mind and single handedly accomplishing what she had set her mind on - is a tad too difficult to digest. But what the heck?!! It was sheer joy watching the bobbitisation of the first perpetrator. An eye for eye! Brilliant.

One wonders why Akshaye Khanna is so reticent when it comes to accepting roles? This talented actor is a treat to watch. After watching the film, one only wishes there were more such police officers. A job well done!
The characters are believable and a strong emotional thread that tugs at your heart runs throughout the script . But for all out there, Moms or not, it’s going to be a demanding task to sit through a film that is as riveting as it is traumatising.

The Hitavada Rating: O O O

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