Starring: Sridevi, Akshaye Khanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Director: Ravi Udyawar
Music: A.R. Rahman.
Because God couldn't be everywhere, He created Mother. A line from the movie, it could very well sum up the movie for you. Sridevi couldn't have chosen a better subject for her 300th film. I haven't been a diehard Sridevi fan, but her last film, English Vinglish, changed my opinion of her and that's the reason I simply wanted to see MOM, right on the day it released.
MOM is emotional; MOM is electrifying; MOM is hard-hitting; MOM is riveting, right till the end. In short, MOM is Sridevi. This could very well be the review in a nutshell, but there's more I would love to talk about.
Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi) is a school teacher, the kind one can never mess with, whoever you may be. However, at home, she struggles to bond with her 18 year old step-daughter, Arya (Sajal Ali). The quiet acceptance and the sensitivity with which she accepts the cold vibes she receives from Arya tug at our heartstrings. But, that's how families are, isn't it - dysfunctional? Such is life in the Sabarwal family, until terror strikes in the form of rape of the 18 year old, Arya. How Sridevi tries to come to terms with the horror her daughter has been through and how she rises to fight back is what the film is all about.
It really isn't a fresh, new subject, to begin with. We have a mother who takes the form of Ma Durga to fight the wrong-doers - a plot that may have been used in many a film. However, what is different here is the handling of the subject and its presentation, its portrayal that makes it an edge-of-the-seat entertainer. The sexual assault scenes are hard-hitting, rather disturbing, in fact, as such scenes always are. But, that's one risk every filmmaker takes when dealing with this subject.
The film revolves around how Sridevi fights for justice for a daughter who battles for her life in the hospital bed, and, who just cannot accept her step-mother, despite every effort her step-mother puts in. A scene when Sridevi speaks into the phone to convey the news of the tragedy to her husband and breaks down at every word stands out as one of the best scenes by Sridevi, according to me. I had goosebumps as I sat there, watching this great performer deliver yet another memorable performance.
The film also has our very elusive Akshaye Khanna playing the role of a cop with such finesse, it makes you wonder why the man doesn't work oftener! However, it's Nawazuddin Siddiqui who manages to shine despite the great actors around him. His entry in the film reminded me of his two second role in the old movie, Sarfarosh, and how far he has come from there. He isn't the kind of 'loud' character actors who strive to stand out for their performance. His simplicity, his sharpness, his knowledge about the character he portrays added with his own contribution to the character makes him one of the most versatile and talented actors of today.
Adnan Siddiqui, who plays Sridevi's husband, Sajal Ali, who plays Arya, and Abhimanyu Singh, the bad guy, get full marks for their performances, too. A.R. Rahman gives us the kind of musical score that helps in making the movie complete. The end was rather predictable, though. Not that I am an authority on cinema, but they could have tried something different. But, it really didn't matter so much because the audience sat still for quite some time even after the movie had ended. And that, I guess, speaks a lot about the film's impact, doesn't it?
Sridevi proves how a woman can carry just about anything on her shoulders. She not only proves her mettle in the acting department, but also gives her co-actors the space and the respect that any matured and seasoned actor like her would do.
It's been a long time since a movie didn't put me to sleep mid-way. I did enter the theatre with a lot of trepidation, worried as I was of dozing off like I always do. However, the fact that I not just did not doze off, but was on the edge of my seat throughout and stayed put even after the credit rolls, proves that the film is worth a watch, and value for money, too!