Maatr,’ ‘Neerja,’ ‘Akira,’ ‘Begum Jaan,’ ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’; quite a few female-centric stories in the past year have embraced the audiences. Along with the Indian filmmakers who’re willing to tell such tales, the audience also seems to be willing to accept such heroic tales of women. ‘Mom’ is definitely one such.
Director Ravi Udyawar’s debut film, ‘Mom,’ is an eye-opener of sorts in today’s misogynistic society where preconceived notions about how women should carry themselves still exist. Starring Sridevi, this film primarily revolves around the menacing issue of gang rape, set rightly in the heart of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Indian states that is most notorious for abuse against women.
Devki (Sridevi), a school teacher, resides in Delhi with her husband Anand and two young daughters. The elder daughter Arya is Anand’s real daughter and was raised by Devki after her mother passes away. Devki’s life changes upside down when a bunch of local ruffians attack Arya in a party. Abhimanyu Singh, a rich spoilt lad along with his goon gang rape Arya and leave her unconscious in the middle of an isolate road.
Mathew Francis (Akshaye Khanna), a tough cop, makes an entry to solve the mystery but fails to prove Abhimanyu and his gang guilty. Soon after, Devki decides to seek revenge from the criminals. She seeks help of a popular detective Dayashankar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). How Devki emerges a winner is what ‘Mom’ is all about.
Ravi Udyawar’s directorial debut tracks the journey of a mother seeking revenge for her daughter’s gang rape. The movie is perhaps a reflection of the society and the upbringing of a huge male population who still looks down upon women and treat them as mere sexual objects. Ravi has done a brilliant job. He sensitively handles the grievous subject without compromising on the ghastly truth behind these acts of pure evil. The interesting part of the film is that the plot of the film is not extraordinary, but the great performances and gripping subject line make ‘Mom’ watchable.
If you thought you have seen it all from Sridevi, think again. She pumps in so much life into the film that it is her performance that steals the show. Her screen presence, her personality, the way she projects her character, her facial expressions are top-notch. Turning your eyes elsewhere will be criminal when she is on screen in the film.
Kudos to Abhimanyu Singh, the main antagonist, who makes you feel disgusted throughout, that’s the beauty of his villainous character. Not undermining the efforts of other talents who make the film, as a whole, a very gratifying watch. Akshaye Khanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali and Pitobash Tripathy were too good in their respective roles. They deliver a power-packed performance in crucial scenes of the film.
The biggest hiccup of the film is that it is exactly the replica of Raveena Tandon’s last release Maatr. From Sridevi’s profession to the execution of the plot, the film is picked up from Maatr. Mom will surely face the battle of plagiarism. First half deals with rape of the daughter and second half with the revenge saga, the only difference in this one is that Nawaz and Akshaye’s characters were prominent enough to make Mom stand out. The pace of the film is slow too. First half is dragged in a lot of aspects, the pain of seeing her miserable daughter is stretched a bit too much.
Although the production of the film makes it look grand and fancy, the climax is too dramatic for such an intense film. But the one to save this old wine in a new bottle is Sridevi’s stellar performance. You may put the film on your to-do list this weekend.
CAST: Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Abhimanyu Singh, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali and Pitobash Tripathy
DIRECTION: Ravi Udyawar
DURATION: 2 hours 27 minutes