Last Sunday, I went along with my family to watch the Sridevi-Akshaye Khanna-Nawazuddin starrer ´Mom´.
Sridevi plays the role of Devki, a contemporary, financially independent working woman, loving and doting mother and wife. At the start of the movie, you see her as this high school teacher teaching the human anatomy to her students in the most unconventional way.
On the personal front, Sridevi has the seemingly perfect life except for one big glitch. Despite all her sincere attempts, she fails to earn the love and trust of Arya, her step-daughter and the first child of her husband.
Things go spiralling down when Arya is abducted and gang raped on her return home from a college Valentine’s Day themed after hours party. When the Law fails to deliver justice to Arya, Devki is caught between the ´galat´ and ´bahut galat´ decision.
The movie is a reflection of today´s society. It is set against the backdrop of urban modern day India with increasingly dark dangers of its own. I liked the way the movie was directed. The way the rape scene was depicted, the reaction of Sridevi when she sees her daughter, Arya in the hospital and learns of her rape afterwards, her pent up anger when her student, Mohit, one of the prime accused in the rape greets her in college, Arya’s shock post the aftermath of the rape, the climax scene where Arya acknowledges her mother, Devki is extremely touching and more makes this movie a must-watch.
But, watching this movie had me concerned as a parent. And, I will tell you why! I am not sure if any parent who watched this movie felt the same way as me.
On the upside, it is great to show teenagers movies like this for the sake of education and the lurking dangers of their choices and its horrific consequences. I really think this movie can be a great discussion point for our kids. Our sons can see the impact eve-teasing and rape can have on girls. Our daughters can learn the possible dangers of the modern day world. The movie started on the right note and the first half of the movie was quite promising.
But, the problem lies in the second half of the movie when things gets vengenceful. When the Law fails, Sridevi takes matters in her own hands and leaves no stone unturned to teach the rapists a fitting lesson. It is the second half of the movie that is a worrying factor for me as a parent and it’s key message. I wish the narrative was different and novel especially when it deals with a grave subject like rape.
Other than her Dad and her stepmom, none of her friends were agitated and concerned about Arya’s rape which was honestly unbelievable. Arya’s younger sister who goes to the same school seems oblivious and indifferent to her depressed state.
Only the dangers of social media such as online porn or finding creative ways to murder someone was shown.What about using the power of digital technology to create an online revolution and mass protests against Arya’s rape?
I wish the movie took a more positive, believable and non-violent approach. I wish the movie had an equally impactful message for its viewers like the performance of its starcast. I wish that Devki, being the modern educated school teacher that she was, realised that the pen wielded more power than the sword. I wish she used technology to create awareness and not for designing devious plots. I wish Devki took the ‘Sahi’ decision and walked the long thorny road of the right path. I wish the message of the movie was that justice can be delayed but never denied. This is my wishlist as a parent.
But, I understand well that the director is also justified in taking creative liberties as far as the story and his vision (even though it is myopic) is concerned. When male protagonists can go full-on ‘Badlapur’ mode, why can’t Sridevi as ‘Mom’?
Still, it is this ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind’ and taking Law into your own hands that bothers me.
My brother and other family members were perfectly in tandem with Sridevi´s vendetta. They felt that with such movies being made, our Law makers should realize how lousy our judicial system is and get their act together at least now.
But, what is the message that we are teaching the next generation?
My concern is this – How advisable is it to take Law into your own hands? How would you explain this to your impressionable children? Is there no other alternative to book and punish the culprits? Is this even a practical solution in real life scenario? Forget rape, would youngsters get the message that they can sneak behind our backs and get away literally with murder if they think or even really when the Law fails them?
Other than this concern which can be discussed with our older children, the movie is well-made with award winning performances by the starcast. Three of my all time favourite Hindi movies happen to be Sridevi starrers – Sadma, Mr. India and Lamhe. Sridevi is living proof that talent has no expiry date. I cannot think of any other Indian actress who is as versatile and effortless in her acting as Sridevi. Whether it is dancing seductively to a rain song, playing Charlie Chaplin or a heavy duty serious role, she does it all with such natural ease. Nawazuddin Siddiqui will win your heart with his essay of this quirky but empathetic detective DK. He is frankly unrecognisable and as always, makes an impression on you with his excellent performance. He also provides the much needed comic relief in this intense film. Akshaye Khanna essays the role of the religiously law-abiding cop, Mathew Francis with his trademark candour and style.
There are wonderful Mom movie reviews and it’s a fine dark psychological thriller movie with some punchy dialogues and memorable performances.
What is your take on the movie ´Mom´ and especially on the Mom’s vendetta? Would you show this movie to your teenager? What would your discussions be like?
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Frankly in today’s scenario, an eye for an eye is what I will support. That’s the need of the hour as nothing else seems to work. However I am not sure if I would want my kids to learn this as the first defense tool.
Hi Mandavi! I agree that this is the natural protective instinct of any mother. I would react the same way if I were in Devki´s shoes. But, the gross negligence of Law is not what I would advocate whatever be the loopholes. And, if Devki were to get caught and had to serve a jail sentence, she puts her own biological child, the second daughter´s life in a mess …..that´s foolishness and irresponsible. I felt the first half was close to reality..the second half took an unbelievable or unrealistic turn…makes for a good popcorn watch though. 🙂
I haven’t seen the movie, but I loved reading this review. Very balanced, and thoughtful. I liked how you pointed out the positives as well as the negatives, and how the negatives could have been dealt with better. After reading this , I wish to watch the movie even more. I shall remember your review when I do. 🙂
Hi Piyusha! What a pleasant surprise really! Thank you so much, my dear! The movie is quite relevant given the current situation in our country and how women are largely perceived. But, the second half was just… Watch it and let me know if you thought likewise or otherwise :): Btw, I have always loved your writing…esp the mycity4kids article on being nonjudgemental. It was very well-written. In fact, I have bookmarked your ´The Art of Blogging´post to read soon. I´m sure that will be excellent too. So, glad to connect with you over our writings. Keep stopping by and reading! Hugs!
Hi Tina, Thank you so much! You’re too kind. Shall watch the movie soon. I’ve loved your blog. And won’t be a stranger to your writing anymore. 😀
Great! Looking forward to seeing you in here more often with a lot of constructive criticism ;). Love and Cheers!
I came across Ur blog for the first time, loved your writing I must say …..secondly I loved the eloborate way u have written the review…. although I haven’t yet watched the movie …but wish to….will remember TINA whenever I watch it
Tina, I haven’t watched the movie but would love to watch it after reading your review. You have written a very clear and complete review of the movie.
#MothersGurukul has recently posted
I am so glad you wrote this, Tina. These were my very arguments after i watch the film, while a whole lot of Mom’s snowballed my views with theirs that said ‘As a Mom she did right, and so would we’
It worried me, the view these real life Mom’s had.
I loved how you balanced your review so well, listing the pros and cons and then sharing your view on the film. Very well written.
I came across your blog and loved it. I have not seen the review but I would love to see it specially after reading your review. I loved the way you have captured the essence with your view of how it could have been. Its a debate on whether society mirrors cinema or the other way around. But whatever it is, I am sad at the state of affairs currently. Will read more of your blogs and stay connected
Neha (sharing our experiences)
I didn’t want to watch the movie as rape movies have a strong impact on my mind. I quite liked this review and the candid views you have expressed. It’s quite depressing to see the state of affairs in our judicial system. More alarming is the rate of crime against women. Very scary when you are a mom to a daughter.
Both the movies were great, Tina. Yes, social media can be dark, but like you said digital mediums are becoming increasingly useful to speak up and enable change. Love the way you have written this crisp review.