Sridevi-starrer 'MOM', directed by Ravi Udyawar, has hit the screens. Here is our review of the thriller.
Devaki (Sridevi) is an unwanted stepmother to Arya (Sajal Ali). While the 18-year-old daughter finds it difficult to accept her dad's second wife as a mother, Devaki has loads of love towards her.
On a fateful V-Day night, Arya is brutally raped by her own classmate, his brother and two others.
Devaki breaks down, loses hope, but what pains her in addition is the fact Arya continues to reject her.
When justice eludes the victim of the indescribable horror, it's up to the mother to teach the villains a lesson.
She has a bumbling, charmingly harmless private detective named DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) alone to help her in the bloodshed.
If by thriller is meant a suspenseful flick with twists and turns, 'MOM' hardly qualifies to be one. It's rather a revenge drama, complete with familiar South Indian elements (by the way, Kona Venkat has co-written this movie of the legendary Sridevi).
The trailer was enticing enough to make you root for Sridevi and Siddiqui's character. As far as these two characters are concerned, this Ravi Udyawar directorial doesn't disappoint at all.
Sridevi as this rejected stepmother gets her expressions brilliantly right. Watch her expressions when Arya addresses her as 'Ma'am' and not 'Mom'. Watch her ask her students, like a pucca school teacher, 'Where is Arya?' at the pub. Watch her wail like a devastated soul in the hospital, pressing into her stomach, when told about her daughter's rape.
She continues to strike into the second half, complemented by the seasoned actor Nawazuddin. The scene where she speaks of Mahabharatham as the first revenge story in the detective's presence blows you away. The director's Midas Touch comes to the fore here. It's an art gallery, and AR Rahman's BGM seems to celebrate the idea of revenge.
Nawazuddin's character doesn't have to speak much to convey that he is, at the end of the day, a middle-class father for whom his daughter means life.
The court proceedings are not elaborate, but the arguments involving the lawyers and the judge are authentic. The rape episode is utterly mind-numbing that anyone who watches it will know rapists deserve harshest punishment.
Akshay Khanna as the investigator Matthew Francis delays the onset of a strong villain (Abhimanyu Singh), but the final act couldn't have been complete without him.
There comes a point when you realize that 'MOM' is just a more intelligent, sensitive and layered version of Shankar's 'I'. The cyanide episode is good in its detailing. However, Sridevi's metamorphosis into a revenge machine should have been narrated well.
Comparisons with Raveena Tandon's 'Maatr' (Hindi) have been made, validly so.
A technically first-rate movie this. ARR's trendy, imaginative BGM aside, Anay Goswami's cinematography uses the right mix of colours and scenic beauty.
A predictable revenge drama that was advertised as a thriller, 'MOM' is in the similar space of two films: 'Maatr' and 'I'. Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are its soul. A promising debut by director Ravi Udyawar.