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Mom review: All about the mother

Photo: Special Arrangement  

Three months ago, we saw Raveena Tandon trudge the same course in Maatr. The shadow of that film hangs too heavy on Mom. Not only are the titles similar, the films themselves seem like identical twins, with Mom turning out to be the relatively better made of the two. But, only slightly so.

 

Devki (Sridevi) Sabharwal takes the law in her own hands when her daughter Arya’s (Sajal Ali) rapists are acquitted by the court for the lack of enough incriminating evidence. In much the same fashion as Tandon did in Maatr. In fact, in both the films the ladies go about planning and executing the emasculation of men with unbelievable ease — with absolutely no-one looking, suspecting or stopping them and their collaborators in crime. Both the films, despite their contemporary spit and polish, can actually trace their antecedents back to the avenging angel dramas of the ‘80s where the woman is badly battered and bruised by the goons but literally rises from the ashes to teach her wrongdoers a lesson. The aim is to offer some sort of an emotional catharsis to the audience than making it ponder, reflect and think deep.

There are some small mercies here. The act of rape itself is kept out of the frame. The men are not as uniformally sinister as they were in Tandon’s Maatr. Mom is also better-paced, is quick to cut to the chase in the first half (though it huffs and puffs its way in the second) and the emotions, though as high-pitched, are more finely calibrated. What’s more the mother-daughter relationship gets an interesting twist with the fact that she is not her biological child. But what all does the step-mother have to do to win the girl over, to have her call her mom instead of ma’am!

Mom
  • Director: Ravi Udayawar
  • Starring: Sridevi, Akshaye Khanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali
  • Storyline: When the legal system fails her family, a mother avenges her daughter’s rape her own unique way

Sridevi, with her easy give and take with a child star, takes you back for a moment to Mr India. She has a great grip on emotions and becomes the Everymom bringing alive the vulnerabilities, fears, worries and helplessness of any and every mother. But the filmmaker takes the weepy mode way too far, wallows in her tears and almost becomes uncomfortably exhibitionistic with them.

It’s the father-daughter duo of Anand Sabharwal and Arya (Pakistani actors Adnan Siddiqui and Sajal Ali) that is more measured in comparison. Then there is a whole bunch of oddball characters — from the eccentric crime branch cop (Akshaye Khanna) to Daryaganj detective DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) — who are inserted to add the comic and thriller touch to the melodrama.

More than anything else it’s the attitude towards rape that still sticks out as traditionalist despite the sheen of progressiveness and sophistication. Why should it be pitched as a lifelong suffering as Devki does in a scene? Why is “living with the incident” spoken of as a permanent punishment?

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Printable version | May 1, 2021 8:32:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mom-movie-review/article19230147.ece

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