Movies

Mom.....Lacks thrill

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If it is Delhi, the theme of rape is acceptable. Gangrape, rather. So, the location is a given. Sometimes, the police does its best but is let down by other arms of the law and fails. Looks like in Delhi, the seat of power, various parts of the law work to defeat each other’s purpose, not to complement it.

So, we have an old-fashioned tried-and-tested vigilante story like Charles Bronson’s Death Wish (1974). Death Wish was about a father, Bronson, taking the law into his own hands to avenge the rape and death of his daughter. The film went on to become a successful franchise with more instalments.

Mom is one such story with an Indian touch. Here, a woman, when failed by the law to deliver her justice, turns the avenger.

What takes the privilege away of being a rarity of the subject is the fact that not very long ago, a similar film, Maatr, starring Raveen Tandon, had hit the screens where she ventures out to avenge the rape of her daughter in the same Delhi. She also played a teacher in a school where her own daughter is a pupil.

Mom is about Sridevi in her 300th film since her debut on screen in her childhood. Without going much into what led to what, Sridevi's character is married to the character of Adnan Siddiqui, a widower with an 18-year-old daughter, played by Sajal Ali, from his previous marriage. The couple have another daughter, much younger.

Sajal has not yet accepted Sridevi as her mom. She misses her biological mother, is always curt with Sridevi and calls her madam as she calls her during her school hours. Sridevi is a school teacher and Sajal also happens to be one of her pupils.

She may be too old to be in a school at 18 but the makers don’t care for such detailing. A boy in Sajal’s class has an evil eye on her. His sending dirty video clips to her backfires. Come a Valentine’s Day party at a farmhouse, the boy makes his move but is rebuffed.

The alternative is always a taken in Delhi, it looks like. Assault and rape follow on Sajal. Evil deed done, she is dumped into a nullah as dead. The culprits are identified, tried and acquitted. Sridevi and the family are devastated, frustrated and angry -- all the emotions that a film can use in such a situation.

Sridevi takes it upon herself to settle the score with the four culprits. In the due course, she also engages a jasoos (detective) as he calls himself, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a guy with X-Ray eyes so to say. Also lurking in the background is the character of Akshaye Khanna, a cop who has arrested all the culprits like a super cop but loses out to the judiciary as all the culprits go scot-free. He is left banging his hands on tables.

The rest of the film is about Sridevi’s revenge and getting her stepdaughter to accept her.

Mom is a badly scripted film with glitches all around and contradictions in the script. The director takes a Hollywoodian approach to treat the film but never gets a grip on the proceeds right from the beginning.

In the era of songs sans lip sync, a couple of good tunes also fail to make an impact.The background score is good. Dialogue is good at places, especially Nawazuddin’s which sound extempore rather than penned. Editing needed to be much sharper. Camera work is fairly good.

The film counts totally on Sridevi to carry it through and she does a reasonably good job. Nawazuddin, who has been given a special look for this film, becomes a caricature for no apparent reason. A detective should blend in the crowd not wanting to be spotted then what is the logic of giving Nawazuddin a getup with which he would stand out in a crowd of thousands?

Adnan Siddiqui is sincere but his role has nothing much to offer. Sajal is does well. Akshay Khanna also gets the short end of the bargain with nothing material to do.

Mom is a much hyped film with which it does not live up.

Producers: Boney Kapoor, Sunil Manchanda, Gautam Jain, Naresh Agarwal, Mukesh Talreja.

Director: Ravi Udyawar.

Cast: Sridevi, Akshaye Khanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali.

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