Sridevi’s MOM is another attempt by Bollywood to address the issue of increasing crimes against women in the country. What is special about this Ravi Udyawar directorial debut is the fact that it’s studded with performance oriented star-cast. Apart from Sridevi, MOM features Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali and Adnan Siddiqui in pivotal roles.
Sridevi plays Devki Sabarwal, a mother, a stepmother to be more precise who is adamant to get the justice for the rape of her stepdaughter. The relationship between her and Arya, played by Sajal Ali, is not compassionate. The friction, of course, has been underlined by the fact that it’s not a usual mother-daughter relationship. The strict character of Devki and the fact that she’s not her real mother troubles Arya. However, this difference in her relationship with her stepdaughter doesn’t deter Devki, a woman of superb courage to take revenge of Arya’s rape.
Sridevi’s performance in the film shines amid a dark harsh plot. Her stance as Devki is so nuanced in terms of mental strength that it successfully drives you towards the cause MOM conveys. What wins the game for this film is the performance of a stellar supporting cast. There’s no scene where you can resist yourself praising the tremendous actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is. His performance in the role of DK aka Daya Shankar Kapoor has shades of gray. And that’s probably what makes every Nawaz’s character such a delight to watch. His understanding of his characters and its relatability to real life is bang on. In the scene where he seems to be on the other side but just one glance of his towards his own daughter sums up ‘whose side is he actually,’ has been so powerfully represented and yet it looks surreal. On the other hand, while there could have been more usage of Akshaye Khanna’s good acting skills, whenever he comes into the frame, he invests more interest into the story. The subtility with which both Adnan Siddiqui and Sajal Ali play their characters, Anand Sabarwal and Arya, respectively adds required pauses in the narrative.
What’s good and what’s not
While Ravi does an impactful job with his direction, the script could have easily gotten rid of a few Bollywood cliches. While the subject of MOM is immensely relatable, the conversation in a few scenes could have been presented in a lighter way minus the overt usage of heavy dialogues. Though, the same appears totally whistle worthy in a few scenes. Like in one scene when Nawaz’s character looks at a modern art and says “Isce acha toh main paan thook ke bana deta…” Also, even though MOM makes sure that it justifies the angst and talks about encouraging people who stand against crimes against women, it falls flat when it deliberately tries to put the entire limelight of Sridevi by strictly trespassing the other characters in the frame. Had it not been about making Sridevi the heroine of the film, MOM would have had a better effect. As is, the film gets all the brownie points for treating a subject as substantiate as rape and trying to do full justice with it. This Sridevi starrer might be a good comeback for Sridevi after five long years on screen, her appearance with English Vinglish still remains more stunning.
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