Sridevi, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna
Boney Kapoor, Sunil Manchanda, Naresh Agarwal, Mukesh Talreja, Gautam Jain
MOM has been one of the most eagerly awaited films. For one, all who had loved Gauri Shinde’s ENGLISH VINGLISH, were now looking forward to what more Sridevi can do in this phase of her career. With MO, one thing is established, she is out there to prove there can be no one other than Sridevi who can outshine people onscreen, including the likes of Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
MOM, as the trailers of the film had already hinted at, is about a mother seeking vengeance. A mother protecting her child can be brutal and can take on anyone in the world. Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi) is no different. The film begins at a rather slow pace, while Devki is trying to, in a calm and collected way, get acceptance from her stepdaughter Arya (Sajal Ali). Their regular Delhi family is plunged into the biggest horror of today - their daughter Arya disappears on Valentine’s Day. While the worried mother does what any mother would do, approach the police - she cannot shake away the discomfort of being left to her devices with no idea where her daughter could be. Eventually, the truth comes to be known.
Gangraped and left to die, in their very city - Delhi! It is not the novelty of the script but the cold depiction of Arya’s assault that will leave you shaken as a woman, as a parent for a long time after you leave the theatre. It is seeing Arya fighting for life in the hospital, that the parents start pegging their hope on the righteousness of Indian law only to be jolted rudely to the harsh reality! Seventy of the rape cases get suspended due to lack of circumstantial evidence – Arya’s case meets with the same fate.
Post the interval, you move with the script but the script fails to move you. Without the law on her side, seeing her daughter’s battle – a mother decides to tread the thin line between ‘galat aur bohot galat’, with an awkward looking detective, Daya Shankar Kapoor aka DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) as her accomplice. Devki changes the fate of the ‘acquitted’ goons. It is the brilliance of the first half (despite the staggering narrative) that makes the second half so disappointing.
While MOM does have a beautiful landscape that is visually very memorable, the narrative changes pace too frequently, making the film lose its poignant appeal at times. Ravi Udyawar has too many positives on his side to fail at his first attempt at feature film direction. To begin with is his cast – Sridevi alone manages to make the impact the film needs. To add to that is Sajal, whose innocent face will haunt even the unfeeling. To have Nawazuddin with his receding hair-line, protruding mandible look is half the battle won. But Ravi’s ammo has more, Akshaye Khanna as cop, Mathew Francis is pitch-perfect and then he has A R Rahman for music. With such heavy artillery, Udyawar still misses blowing our minds, or even touching our hearts, because of the second half.
For a film as sensitive as MOM, you don’t want to come out of the theatre saying it looked good. You need to have felt the peace, the grueling vengeance, which would have been brought out in every mother but that’s where Udyawar fails at times. He does have his moments in the film, but he still needs to choose a path as a story-teller and stick to it.