Sridevi's Mom has released. With great buzz around the film and Sridevi's presence in the movie it is bound to get audience to the theatres. Her last Bollywood release, a sweet and refreshing English Vinglish was a treat for all movie-goers. That's how a comeback for a prolific actress like her should have been. The actress took almost over two years to sign a Hindi film. The actress was in the meantime considered for SS Rajamouli's magnum opus Baahubali, but went on to feature in southern film Puli. Mom has a lot of expectations riding on it but does it live up to it? Let's find out.
What's it about:
A mother's love for her children is unparalleled. In a patriarchal society, the male figure is often hero-worshiped and given the task of protecting his family. In Ravi Udyawar's disturbing thriller, the mother becomes the hero, the face of destruction for those who damaged her daughter. Sridevi plays Devaki, a soft-spoken wife whose job is mostly packing lunches for her husband and filling water bottles in the kitchen. Her stepdaughter, Arya (Sajal Ali), refers to Devaki as Ma'am, refusing to give her the dignity of motherhood. The film sets the tone with the tense equation between Devaki and Arya. But one night changes everything when Arya attends a party where she's brutally gang-raped and thrown in a gutter, left to die. What follows is Devaki's fight to deliver justice and punish the offenders in her own style. Akshaye Khanna plays a fence-sitter cop, while Nawazuddin is a comical detective, whose idiosyncrasies lend ample humour to an otherwise serious plot.
Sridevi is Mom. In the true sense she carries the entire weight of the film on her nimble shoulders. Her body language, especially the use of her eyes, that gaze, the way she breaks down and howls - all of this is par excellence. There needs to be no acting remarks for this actress, who has competed five rock solid decades in the industry. Her performance has the right balance of empathy and anger and her first breakdown scene on seeing her daughter in the ICU will bring you to tears. Mom is a performance-heavy film and Akshaye and Nawaz both support Sridevi beautifully in totally different ways. Sajal Ali, who plays her daughter, deserves a special nod for holding her own in front of such a stalwart. AR Rahman's score has ample drama and the cinematography, in the second half, is stunning. The scenes between Nawaz and Sridevi are major highlights and it's a treat to watch their jugal-bandi on screen.
Mom suffers from a few OTT moments. Especially when it comes to Devaki's nervous breakdowns and her anger. I wish it was better scripted and the narrative had a stronger cohesiveness to it. Also being a revenge film, I wonder why Devaki doesn't go all out to destroy the offenders, why does she resort to gimmicks when she has the choice of ending their lives once and for all. As a mother seeking blood of her enemies, her actions don't justify the rage completely. The solitary song that pops up in the second half, slackens the pace that was built up in the beginning. The script of Mom has several loopholes that go unnoticed. Also, we wish Akshaye had more screen time and a more evolved role. The writers underplayed his role way too much.
What to do
Mom is a must watch because of the powerhouse performer that is Sridevi. Despite the shortcomings, the film keeps you on the edge solely because of her stellar act.
3.5 out of 5
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