Sridevi made a stunning return to the Hindi Film Industry with her comeback venture ‘English Vinglish’. That movie earned her a lot of plaudits but it also increased the pressure on her to choose another taut screenplay to take up next. She’s back after almost half a decade again with Mom. The trailers have promised a thrilling suspense movie. Will it be the perfect venture for Sridevi’s 50 years in the film industry celebration?
Story: Arya (Sajal Ali) doesn’t get along well with her step mom Devki (Sridevi) because she blames her for taking her father away. Also, Devki being her Biology teacher in school doesn’t help. One day while Arya is out partying she gets kidnapped by her ‘friend’ and some other guys. They then rape her in a moving car and leave her in a ditch to die. But she lives. In comes cop Matthew Francis (Akshaye Khanna) who is entrusted with the task of cracking the case. He quickly finds the 4 men and chargesheets them but eventually all of them go scot free. Devki decides to take matters into her own hands afterwards with the help of a private sleuth Daya Shankar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Does she get her revenge? That forms the rest of the story.
Screenplay and Direction: Debutante director Ravi Udyawar and writer Girish Kohli weave a tale that follows the theme and journey of two other Bollywood films this year (Kaabil and Maatr) but it has a sense of awareness about it which wasn’t always there in those two aforementioned films. It is a slightly egoistical and idealistic revenge thriller but that’s what movies are for right? To make us see a world which might not be possible otherwise. There is a depth about Mom thanks to the detailing put in by the director. By making Delhi a character, they go deep into the underbelly of the lives of characters who live in our capital. The treatment of Mom gives it the feel of a neo noir slash psychological drama but the audience already knows what to expect from the climax. Mom should have been shorter because it gets a bit too lengthy towards the end.
Mom feels as authentic and as tense as it does because everything works in tandem. The production design is top notch taking us into the heart of Delhi. The costume design is perfect and gives it an earthy feel. The editing works well for the most part and gives the scenes a thrilling edge but the editor could have cut short the film towards the end. The background score is ballsy and makes Mom very tense throughout. A.R. Rahman creates the sound of Mom, and makes it one of the most integral parts of the film.
Acting: Mom is more or a less a tool to showcase Sridevi’s acting skills. In amateurish hands, it could have come across as lofty but Sridevi shows why she has survived in the industry for half a century. She is masterful throughout. Her expressions have a quiet rebellion about them but there’s also a solemn hope. She is the perfect foil to the other characters around her. Sajal Ali keeps up with Sridevi toe for toe. She doesn’t miss a beat but unfortunately we don’t get to see much of her after the ghastly incident takes place. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is at his usual brilliant self but the getup of his character accentuates his performance to a degree. Akshaye Khanna is poised in his role but eventually doesn’t have much to do. We wish however that we get to see more of him in Bollywood from now on.
Conclusion: Mom fulfils the promise it lays out in its trailers of being a taut, psychological drama/thriller. It is a tense movie which deals with a very difficult subject material. It has tremendous performances from almost all of the cast members, it has been shot with a lot of care to lend a moody treacherous vibe to the film. Yes, it is idealistic and the solution it provides may not be realistic but it gets a lot of things right. Mom definitely deserves to be seen. Sridevi’s renaissance is in full swing.
- Sridevi’s brilliant performance
- Great performances from the rest of the cast
- Moody background score
- The cinematography and production design
- Idealistic nature of solution provided
- Could have been shorter in length