‘Mom’ is the latest instalment in the series. Sridevi returns resplendently to the silver screen after a 4-year hiatus. We last saw her in the quite excellent comedy-drama, ‘English Vinglish’. The former superstar has not aged since and hits the ground running. In ‘Mom’, she plays the role of ‘Devki’, an uncomfortably understanding step-mother of an insufferable 18-year old girl. The step-daughter played admirably by Sajal Ali, is brutally raped by egotistical goons and left for dead. The law inevitably fails to deliver justice and Devki’s maternal instincts shape-shift into vigilantism.
Now, unlike other films of this genre, ‘Mom’ doesn’t compel the protagonist to take up arms or body-building to mete out retribution. On the contrary, the protagonist realises early on that wild aggression will only get her killed. She chooses to channel the rage by opting for brain over brawn. Whether she succeeds or not forms the rest of the storyline.
There are several fascinating aspects to ‘Mom’. The movie is less about ‘how’ the protagonist seeks revenge and concentrates more on the relational arc between the leading lady and her step-daughter. The director, Ravi Udyawar, uses the camera spectacularly to generate intensity and depth in the narration, using the lens to contribute to the progression of the film rather than as a tool to merely capture the events. Furthermore, a superbly controlled performance by Sridevi helps the audience stay captivated throughout the movie, even though the narrative plods along laboriously at times.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui adds a hint of humour amidst the gloom and furnishes laugh-out-loud moments when you least expect them. Akshay Khanna is simply too talented for the role handed to him, but he glides by without breaking into a sweat.
‘Mom’ isn’t a perfect film. Far from it, actually. There are glaring loopholes in the plot, the aforementioned pacing is a problem, the music is disappointingly underwhelming and the climax is unforgivingly simplistic. Yet, ‘Mom’ proves to be a winner due to the sure-handedness of Ravi Udyawar and the meteoric talent of Sridevi. Leave your kids at home if you choose to watch ‘Mom’ at the cinemas; there are parts in this film which even adults might find hard to digest.