Mom


‘Mom’ is an emotional thriller starring Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Abhimanyu Singh, Pitobash Tripathy, and marks the Bollywood debut of Pakistani actors Sajal Aly and Adnan Siddiqui. The movie has been directed by debutant Ravi Udyawar, who has previously directed ad films.

The film’s template is quite similar to the Raveena Tandon starrer film ‘Maatr’ which also revolved around a mother avenging the rape of her daughter after the system fails to deliver justice. Only that ‘Mom’ has been made on a bigger budget with an ensemble of better actors and has been widely promoted, being the 300th film of Sridevi.

Devki Sabharwal (Sridevi) is a biology teacher at a Delhi school where her step-daughter Arya (Sajal), a teenager, also studies. But the relationship between the mother-daughter duo is strained as Arya hasn’t accepted Devki as her mother and still addresses her as ‘ma’am’. But Devaki deals with her patiently. One fateful night at a Valentine’s Day party at a farmhouse, Arya’s class fellow, who was once punished for sending her lewd video clip, decides to get even with her. He and his aides kidnap Arya and gang-rape her inside a car through the night. The rape scene isn’t gory, but is chilling as it shows an aerial shot of the car stopping at cross-roads at night, the doors open and the men swap their places from front to rear seat. Accompanied by an unnerving background score, one can imagine what the teenager is going through inside the vehicle. At daybreak, Arya is thrown out by a roadside drain at daybreak, and thereafter, in a series of court sessions, the ‘powerful’ perpetrators are set free as Arya’s medical report shows high content of alcohol and fail to prove the crime. The tragic incident further distances Devki from Arya who reveals that the attackers kept mocking her to call her mother for help. Devaki decides to prove her worth before her daughter’s eyes and seeks out the criminals with the help of a street detective Dayashankar Kapoor aka DK (Nawazuddin). As Devaki embarks on her mission bring down the culprits one by one, a top police officer Mathew Francis (Akshaye Khanna) gets highly suspicious of her movements and tries to prevent her.

‘Mom’ is a hard-hitting film with a taut script and well-crafted sequences. Be it the mother-daughter relationship, the brutal attack, post-traumatic agony – everything is sensitively handled. In such a wrong scenario, nothing can be right. Just as Sridevi’s dialogue suggests, what should one choose between the wrong and very wrong! The movie deals with the grave and topical subject of rape and is bound to find resonance among audience, but at some points it gives a sense of déjà vu, but the interesting twists and turns, coupled with the top-notch performance by the actors, keep the audience invested. Rahman's music and background score goes well with the film.

Sridevi carries the film solely on her shoulders and takes the audience through a gamut of emotions ranging from happiness, helplessness, anguish, anxiety, determination and vengeance. The hospital scene where Sridevi breaks down after seeing her daughter’s condition is heart-wrenching. Her measured performance is unmatchable. Supporting and matching her well is Nawazuddin with his quirky, but meaningful one liners. He never fails to impress. Salaj is also impressive in her role and it feels like there should have been a little more of her. Adnan Siddiqui in the role of Devki’s husband and Arya’s father also puts up a nice act. Akshaye Khanna with his inimitable swag is in full form. It’s a pity that he does so few films.

‘Mom’ is a socially relevant film and instantly brings to mind the infamous Nirbhaya case of December 2012. It is still fresh in everyone’s memory. ‘Mom’ should be a must watch for everyone.