There’s something deeply satisfying and visceral about watching rapists suffer. Throw in a castration as a violent method of retribution and the cheerleader in you is nudged awake. Sridevi’s thriller Mom, about a parent who avenges the brutal gang-rape of her teenage daughter in a moving vehicle, is designed to evoke those feelings in you.
But her form of vigilante justice isn’t particularly gory as is the norm in rape-revenge dramas, but it’s still mighty effective.
Sridevi is compelling as Devki, the tormented mother of a rape survivor. Her angst-ridden step daughter Arya, played by Pakistani actress Sajal Ali, is equally in control of her role. She brings her troubled dynamic with her step mom, who’s eager to win over her affections, without much drama and fuss. Their uneasy equation is refreshing in a Hindi film that often glosses over teenage and mother-daughter rebellion and showcases saccharine equations.
Watch: Review of #Bollywood thriller #Mom starring #sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna.
The scene is set quickly in director Ravi Udyawar’s thriller.
Devki is a biology teacher who enjoys suburban bliss with her second husband, Anand, played by actor Adnan Siddiqui. They are happy, except for her strained on-off relationship with her step daughter.
An alcohol-fuelled party filled with teenagers go horribly wrong when a bunch of debauched lads decide that gang-raping a girl, who spurned one of their advances, is the best form of domination.
There’s gross miscarriage of justice and those influential sexual predators walk away scot free due to lack of evidence.
The helplessness of those seeking justice after a crime like rape — often a reality in a country like India — is bitingly captured in the first half of the film. Sridevi attacks her role of a fierce mom, who takes law and justice into her own hands, with a rabid ferocity. The scene in which she breaks down emotionally on seeing her wounded daughter hooked to machines in a hospital is heart-achingly raw. It’s the collective solid performances that make this revenge drama delicious.
But the loophole is that the central character makes killing look simple and stupid. The ease with which an unassuming biology teacher targets and obliterates her enemies without leaving any clues behind defies logic.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a detective with a terrible Karam Chand hangover and is always on call to make profound mothers-are-great dialogues. Does it work? No.
Neither does his heavy physical alteration — bad teeth, baldness and big glasses doesn’t add heft to this neatly-packaged thriller.
Actor Akshaye Khanna, who plays a righteous cop, does what’s expected of him. But his role of a police officer, who plays by the book, isn’t as fleshed out.
It’s Sridevi’s show all the way through.
While the devious revenge tactics of Devki is scintillating, the director seems to have lost his grip while nearing the climax.
The confrontation scenes with the avenging mother, criminal and the cop in snow-clad Georgia is overly dramatic.
But that shouldn’t stop you from watching this taut thriller studded with some superlative performances.
Don’t miss it
Director: Ravi Udyawar
Time: 2 hours 16 mins
Cast: Sridevi, Adnan Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali and Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Stars:3 .5 out of 5