Be it the posters or trailer, MOM starring Sridevi promised to be an edge of the seat thriller. The film directed by Ravi Udyawar, brought together a stellar star cast that upped my hopes further. Sridevi has done her mom act earlier in English Vinglish (2012) and had me in awe of her, like always. Add to it Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a detective’s role, the return of Akshaye Khanna on the big screen; a badass role by the very strong performer Abhimanyu Singh – all this was good enough for me.
What made the film further rise up a few spots on my ‘unmissable’ list for the year was the coming together of two of my favourite Pakistani actors Sajal Ali and Adnan Siddiqui as the daughter and father (Sridevi’s husband, Anand) in the film. Did MOM finally manage to impress and stir a strong emotion like I had expected it to? Find out below…
What’s it About?
The story revolves around a biology teacher Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi) and her beautiful family. She leads a perfect life in Delhi with her two daughters and a doting husband (Adnan Siddiqui). However, her elder daughter Arya (Sajal Ali) has never been able to come to terms with the fact that Devki is not her real mom and therefore you see constant tensions between the two. However, Arya’s coldness towards her doesn’t put Devki off. She continues to be a caring, loving and protective mother. Just like any mother, she can go to any lengths for her children and you see her break all limits when Arya is raped by one of her classmates Mohit (and Devki’s student) and his gang.
Devki takes the law in her hand to bring the criminals to justice after the country’s law fails to get justice for Arya. Private detective Dayashankar Kapoor DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) steps in to help Devki in her mission. But cop Mathew Francis (Akshaye Khanna), who hates it ‘when the guilty are freed by the court’ and who is further irked when ‘someone else tries to do his job for him’ has his hawk eyes on DK and Devki! Will he be able to stop Devki from going her way and doing what needs to be doen? Will Devki finally be able to get justice for her daughter? Will Arya finally stop calling Devki Ma’am to accept and regard her as her MOM? All this pretty much forms the crux of the story.
Sridevi delivers one of her most powerful performances in her 300th film. As a mother – she takes you through a roller coaster of emotions. You can feel her restlessness, helplessness, anger, pain and desperation to seek revenge. Her quivering voice – most of the film – gives away her grief and the underlying grit to do what is needed. ALSO READ: Mom Quick Movie Review: Sridevi Delivers The Mother Of All Performances
There are some scenes that need special mention here… while there is more to the film, MOM deserves to be watched for these moments of sheer brilliance
1) Sridevi at the police station, trying to keep her calm and ward off thoughts of the worse and simultaneously struggling to convince the cop of the seriousness of the issue when she goes to report that her 18-year-old daughter has not returned home from the Valentine’s Day party.
2) Sridevi breaking down at the hospital on seeing Arya for the first time post the rape.
3) Her moment of helplessness when the culprits walk free out of the court.
4) The climax scene when she confronts her daughter’s rapist and lets loose her pain and anger that she’s been holding up all this while!
Devki and detective DK have a few scenes together that will simply dazzle you! The two are great actors and they have been given some beautiful, strong lines that continuously highlight the significance of a film that deals with a case of rape. For instance, there’s a line when Devki asks for DK’s support and when he is in two minds, she asks him to choose between wrong and very wrong.
Nawaz has been given some pertinent, and bang on one-liners and he delivers them with an effortless perfection. His detective DK is far removed from the jasoos’ we have seen in Hindi cinema so far. He is neither clichéd nor caricaturish and thank god for that!
Askhaye Khanna in his cop role does a decent job and he looks nothing like his recent public outings. He is in top form and his intense performance will make you want to see more of him on screen.
Abhimanyu Singh as one of the rapists will make you loathe him from his very first scene in the film.
Sajal Ali as Arya – the daughter who cannot come to love her step-mom in the first few moments into the film and then as a rape survivor is flawless. But no surprises there for those who have seen the actress in Pakistani TV shows and telly films. In fact, she has starred in Nanhi where she played a 15-year-old rape survivor. ALSO READ: This is what Sridevi’s daughters had to tell her after the wrap up of MOM!
Talking about Adnan Siddiqui, from what I have seen of him in Pakistani shows, he is one of the most successful actors, known and loved for his versatility. In case you want to see more of him, do look for shows like Maat and Merey Qatil Meray Dildar. He also had a small role in A Mighty Heart (2007). In MOM, he is natural as a doting dad, loving husband and plays his moments of devastation post his daughter’s rape quite convincingly.
The story is gripping and some of the most devastating scenes have been shot with such sensitivity and creativity that they will move something inside you… and not for good! The rape scene in MOM is like no other you have seen before! You won’t get to see the gruesome act or hear the heart-wrenching cries for help and yet, you’d feel the pain, the angst, the helplessness and the ghastly and appalling REALITY of India where around 848 women get harassed, raped and killed everyday (as per a report in Huffington Post -2014. These are just the cases that are reported, the real numbers would beyond our imagination.)
MOM’s storytelling will move you and make you feel the pain of not just Arya but all the Nirbhayas that have been and will be. The way MOM Devki brings the baddies to justice is also a commentary on India’s legal system and how it deals with rape cases and rapists.
The film seemed a bit stretched towards the second half. A tighter editing could have helped that cause.
What to do?
It is one of the best films of 2017. Go watch it for a gripping, and emotionally moving story and some brilliant performances.
India.com rating: 4 stars