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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