Raveena Tandon, Madhur Mittal, Divya Jagdale, Shailender Goyal, Anurag Arora, Saheem Khan, Rushad Rana.
Rape and revenge – the summary of Raveena Tandon’s big ticket film MAATR!
A lot of actresses want to comeback into Bollywood with a film that puts them back on the chart, with something unforgettable and applause worthy. MAATR, written by Michael Pellico, was touted to be a film for global audience, etched from headlines from all over that have wretched hearts of people. It is a winner alright on script stage. But did Ashtar Sayed deliver?
Vidya Chauhan (Raveena Tandon) is an ordinary Indian woman who has completely submitted herself to her fate. She knows things won’t ever be hearts and roses with her husband and that’s alright, for she has the love of her daughter. An insipid teacher, though idealistic, she isn’t anyone who catches your eye (or that’s what the brief read -- Raveena looks ravishing without an effort) and yet, one accident turns her ordinary life into a nightmare.
While Vidya and her daughter are recovering from a car crash, in the streets of Delhi, a group of inebriated men accost them. You guessed it, in the lieu of helping the accident victims, they gangrape the mother and daughter! The second you mention Delhi, women automatically turn victims in today’s cinema. The predictability of the storyline doesn’t stop you from feeling the anguish of the mother seeing her daughter ripped body and soul. Hell hath seen no fury as a woman scorned, but that’s nothing as compared to a mother’s wrath for hurting her baby. Though never once does Raveena’s face looks anything but ravishing, she does manage to fill your hearts with her pain simply with her eyes. The dialogues of the film are pretty redundant, because the script isn’t as tight. Somewhere between anguish and helplessness, the story of the ordinary lady of the house turns into a revenge saga. Unfortunately, Raveena’s vendetta is man-handled by the director and killed by a loose script. We know why she is doing it, we sympathized with her situation but her ploys are not as smart as DRISHYAM, her grief is not that poignantly emphasized as it was in a BANDIT QUEEN, for example.
While the nightmare of rape was real, the misogynist comments from the political head honchos are more irritating rather than disparaging. Somewhere through the course of the film, the empathy dies out and you just wait for the predictable conclusion. It was an attempt that should have been worthy of the efforts Raveena put in through the promotions and the propagation of the film. The men failed her!
While the film has some decent performances, director Ashtar doesn’t really play on the emotions of his audience as effectively. He gets us and loses us somewhere in the course of the film, which is solely on his shoulders, because each of his actors from the inspector to the rapists, to Divya Jagdale (Vidya’s friend in the film) to Raveena herself have given him fabulous performances! MAATR is a classic example of a story which sound remarkable as a five minute narration and completely uninspiring as a two hour film.