By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | July 07, 2017
Rating: 3.5 / 5
The essence: The first half engages you throughout, filling you with anger, pain and fear… Overall, Udyawar creates moments of madness that matches up to Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear.
“Bhagwan pe bharosa rakh,” detective DK tells Devki Sabarwal. “Bhagwan har jagah nahi hota, DK ji.” Deviki replies with a suitable pause and correct shuffling of the body. There is another telling pause before DK replies: “Pata hai… Isiliye unhone Maa banaya hai.”
This exchange between DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Devki (Sridevi) brings Mom, Ravi Udyawar’s directorial debut, to a scintillating position at half time. Your mind races, heart pounds as you recollect what went past by you on the screen as you sat on the edge of your seat throughout the first 75 minutes.
You know something sinister is going to unfold during the first scene in the biology class itself where Devki is a teacher, and her daughter Arya (Sajal Ali) a student. The mother-daughter relationship is strained, you soon learn. There is tension between the two even as the father (Adnan Siddiqui) tries to bridge the gap. Like all mothers’, Devki too is protective of her daughter. Arya finds it stifling. But then, a Mom has to be a Mom!
The cinematography, body language of every actor and the background score build a momentum so beautiful and so full of tension that your heart pounds within your chest. And then the disaster that was waiting to happen followed by the mockery of justice, hits you in the face even as you can reel from the initial shock. It’s traumatic, even though the entire scene is not enacted and even though cinematographer Anay Goswami shows a black SUV in the dead of night roaming aimlessly on the deserted streets of Delhi, culminating in the occupants of the SUV dumping their ‘victory’ into a ditch.
Sridevi, after playing a Mother who is being ridiculed in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish, is once again in delightful form in Mom. There’s a method the her madness and her performance moves several notches higher as she conveys her emotions, sometimes with a subtle body movement and at times with a delicate pause coupled with the movement of hands. Anguish and a desire for revenge all cross her face with telling effect. An outstanding performance!
Sajal Ali as the 16-year-old daughter too is in terrific form. Matching Sridevi with her body language and pauses and dialogue delivery, she pulls you into her emotions. A terrific portrayal of the character she is asked to portray. Ditto Adnan Siddiqui who plays Devki’s husband. Besides being a stunning looker, he is a refined actor as well.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui has experimented with his looks to play detective DK and succeeds with the same intensity as Saswata Chatterjee who played the psychotic Bob Biswas in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani. Here, however, DK is the opposite of Biswas’ character. A special mention must be made of Akshaye Khanna who plays inspector Matthew Francis.
While the first half engages you throughout, filling you with anger, pain and fear, the second half falters a tad bit with the end, moving to an ‘understandable’ finale. The film loses its slickness 20 minutes before the end, moving in a predictable Bollywood direction.
Overall, however, Udyawar creates moments of madness that matches up to Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear.
Footnote: Mom is not for the faint-hearted! But then again, what is happening around us today has also hardened our hearts!
Producer: Boney Kapoor, Sunil Manchanda
Director: Ravi UdyawarStar
Cast: Sridevi, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna