MOM doesn't strictly fall into the category of a conventional rape-and-revenge drama. It breaks free from the genre constraints on the back of a clearly defined moral and emotional context. It is an intriguing story of a woman who plays all her roles perfectly, yet somehow the happiness of her perfect family vanishes!!
A black car speeds its way through a deserted Delhi road on a pitch dark night and sometime before daybreak, its occupants throw a teenage girl into a roadside drain. It is not about the legal fights between the victim and culprit. Rather about a woman who could turn things upside down for the sake of her children; it is about a mother who decides to avenge the rape of her daughter because the law couldn’t get her the justice she deserves.
Sridevi playing the role of Devaki –a biology teacher is similar to an average parent who wants to keep tabs on the social life and friends of her teenage daughter Arya (Sajal Ali). The relationship between Devaki and Arya is strained, as Devaki is Arya’s step-mother. Though Devaki has made relentless efforts from her side, yet Arya hasn’t accepted her. Though Mom seems similar to Maatr, unlike the latter Mom is relevant and riveting!!!
Mom would have remained an average Bollywood drama without its cast. MOM might be Sridevi’s 300th film, but that doesn’t dissuade her from being as excited and curious as a debutante. Sajal Ali, in the role of the troubled daughter, matches the veteran of 300 films. Nawazuddin, with his quirks and one-liners, turns in a class act. The real scene stealer was Akshaye Khanna. His "cool cop" turn made me wonder why he takes such long matinee breaks step for step. Though watching Sri Devi on silver screen is always a treat, I believe its Nawazuddin Siddiqui who scores here. He knows exactly when to switch gears and how to look timid despite being in the spotlight.
Direction, Screenplay, Cinematography
MOM has other assets, too, not the least of which is the outstanding quality of the performances that first-time director Ravi Udyawar extracts from his cast. The film connects with the viewer emotionally, which is where Ravi Udyawar scores as a director. There are no intricacies that unfold step by step but Girish Kohli’s screenplay ensures an entertaining drama. Add to that cinematographer Anay Goswamy's adroit lensing and lighting, A.R Rahman’s background score and you have a film that is consistently compelling.
A mother taking revenge against the rapists of her step daughter — now that's a meaty plot if we were in 2005. Frankly, there's very little in this film that you haven't already seen before--the night, the rape, the parents, and the law. What makes the movie stand out in the crowd is the stellar performance by its cast. The ambivalence at the core of the film places MOM a cut above the average Bollywood retribution drama.
All I can say is, we need more moms like Devaki in India!!!