Mubarakan Movie Review

function collapse(){$(‘.qr’).toggle(500, function() {if ($(‘.qr’).is(‘:visible’)) {$(“.expup”).css(“background”, “url(”);} else {$(“.expup”).css(“background”, “url(”);}});}After films like No Entry, Welcome, Singh is Kinng, filmmaker Aneez Bazmee is back with another entertainer Mubarakan. The film managed to catch the fancy of movie buffs ever since it was announced and for that, there are more reasons than one.

Mubarakan brings together real-life uncle and nephew, Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor, as chacha-bhatija on-screen for the first time. The film also marks Arjun’s second stint with double roles after Aurangzeb. It also boasts of an ensemble cast including the likes of Ratna Shah Pathak and Athiya Shetty, Ileana D’Cruz from the young lot.

If the trailer is anything to go by, the film revolves around a confusing family drama and like all other Bazmee films is expected to feature a grand wedding. Arjun, who appears in a double role, plays a London brought-up man Karan and Charan, who is born and brought in Punjab. They happen to be identical twins but through a twist of fate ends up becoming cousins. Karan is in love with Sweety (Ileana) but in a turn of events, his marriage gets fixed with Binkle (Athiya). While Charan, who is in love with Binkle, is asked to marry Sweety. Anil, who plays the role of a turban Sikh, Kartar, will likely be the saviour of the family. Will Mubarakan prove to be a laugh riot or it’ll end up confusing viewers? Will Anil-Arjun’s on-screen camaraderie be as entertaining as their off-screen equation? Will Athiya and Ileana’s characters add weight to the plot? Will Arjun justify the double role? Will he prove his mettle as an actor? Kriti Tulsiani from is inside the theatre to find out. Tweets about #mubarakan: sleepingpsyche2
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Raag Desh Movie Review

In the times when terms like nationalism and patriotism have become more of a movement than sentiments, a film like Raag Desh perfectly fits the bill. However, the film talks about the nationalist sentiment when it wasn’t a forced trend, but a matter of true honor and pride. Tigmanshu Dhulia brings on screen the lesser known story of INA soldiers and the Red Fort Trials that proved to be the final nail in the coffin of British Army in India.

The film provides the history of what went through in the court martial trials of three Indian soldiers recruited in British Army who went rogue and joined hands with Japanese troops as representatives of Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army. The trial, that took place in 1945, was meant to be a showcase of the colonial superiority on the ruled, which backfired immensely. Three soldiers were being tried for the specific act of killing deserters during a battle with the British forces and the general act of treason against the Crown. The Congress mounted a legal defense, led by Mumbai lawyer Bhulabhai Desai, and although the men were found guilty, their sentences were commuted after unrest raged across the country.

While various films on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had talked about the inception and shaping of INA, no one really brought enough notice on the trails that actually paved the way of true ‘defence patriotism’ amongst the Indian soldiers. Dhulia deserves a special nod for bringing the story upfront and presenting it with as much honesty as possible. The treatment, research, and execution of the film seem authentic and actually take you to the era of Gandhi and Nehru, planning the future of a young independent India. However, the film lacks pace, thrill, and engagement which makes it more like a class of Modern History than an experience to take back home.
The three faujis on trial, Colonel Prem Sehgal (Mohit Marwah), Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon (Amit Sadh) and Major Shah Nawaz Khan (Kunal Kapoor) do their part complete justice. While Mohit proves himself to be a director’s actor, Sadh justifies his Punjabi genes well. Although, it is Kapoor’s Khan that shines the brightest, with the right amount of rage and intensity. Kenny Desai as Bhulabhai Desai, the lawyer hired to twist facts in order to save the three, proves his mettle as a serious actor. His namesake Kenny Basumatary is as authentic and real as one can be with the role of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. However, despite brilliant actors on board the film fails to streamline their talent with the plot.

Another thing missing from the film is Dhulia’s patent touch of questioning the political scenario. The film is all ‘how it happened’ and doesn’t offer much to ponder on to the whys, whats, behind the way things unfold. The film is more like a document pulled from the back row of history and therefore appears like a dose of information than infotainment.

Raag Desh doesn’t meet the requirements of the historical epic in terms of its production values, pace, and entertainment, but does give the genre’s basic requirement of historical information dipped in nationalist sentiments, from top to bottom.

Dhulia initially wanted to show the story as a 6 part TV series, and it would’ve been better if he had followed that plan instead of crystallising everything within 2:30 hours. The facts crumple upon the plot and the unnecessary humanising of the three ‘bravehearts’ just bring the pace and temperament of the film down.

Thumbs up for bringing in front the lesser-known story from Netaji’s forgotten books, thumbs down for not making it engaging enough. Also, in the end, it does make you feel the air of current political scenario. Why only during the saffronisation of the country, one thought of bringing the ‘true nationalist’ story at the front? A story which in a very subtle way, points finger at the functioning of Indian National Congress right from the fall of British era. Propaganda much? Well, it’s for the audience to find out.

Rating: 2.5/5

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Which Pricing Model: CPA vs CPM vs CPI

Which Pricing Model: CPA vs CPM vs CPI

CPA = Cost-per-Action

Cost-per-Action (CPA), also known as Cost Per Conversion, is an online and mobile advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action. For example, an action after an initial impression and click, like an install, form submit, double opt-in or in-app sale. Here’s the formula: CPA = Cost/Number of Actions The CPA pricing model allows advertisers a bit more assurance that what they’re paying for actually ends up as quantifiable consumer engagement. So in this sense, the advertiser isn’t risking as much with their money – as they know exactly how each action or sale will cost them. However, the CPA pricing model does have a downside: the advertiser loses touch with the consumer journey. Advertisers ultimately pay for what they want to, but lose in ability to track consumers or generate large-scale brand awareness.

CPM = Cost-per-Mille

Cost-per-Mille (CPM) is a pay structure designed to generate brand awareness. The advertiser pays the publisher for every 1000 times the advertisement is displayed to a consumer. Here’s the formula: CPM = Cost X 1000/Impressions The CPM pricing model is all about massive scalability. With the cost of media a steady constant regardless of performance, the opportunity for high ROI presents itself. CPM is particularly effective when you have high performing creative, as the cost of each action will go down as the total actions taken goes up. This is one of the main reasons why the CPM model synchronizes quite ably with mobile advertising, as the rich media capabilities of mobile offer much higher levels of engagement than standard display and desktop advertising.

CPI = Cost-per-Install

Cost-per-Install (CPI) is the price an advertiser pays whenever the consumer installs the advertised application. Here’s the formula: CPI = Cost/Number of Installs CPI emphasizes app downloads and installs so the advertiser gets what they pay for. However, this lower funnel activity can cost advertisers significantly more money (anywhere from $3-$25 per action). By emphasizing only app installs, the ability to control the quality of traffic is ultimately lost. What will work best for you? Want to emphasize the final step on a consumer’s journey? Choose CPA. Want uncapped impression scaleability and ROI? Choose CPM.

Want to incentivize users to download your app? Choose CPI. VRTCAL offers only CPM, which serves its publishers that only want branded low-fatiguing ad unit types for their audiences.

Death Note Netflix Film Review

Rating: 1.5/5
Death is inevitable. That simple if resounding truism is the basic foundation of Death Note.

Death is inevitable and for those whose jobs it is to usher the souls that pass over, Death is boring. And so Ryuk, a Shinigami (Japanese death god, basically a prescient psychopomp) decides to throw down a notebook into the human world, just to see what happens. Whomsoever’s name is inscribed in it dies, as long as the writer has seen the victim’s face.

Death is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be as boring, and to Ryuk’s delight, the “Death Note” book is discovered by Light Yagami, a genius Japanese high school student who, after discovering the notebook’s power, plots the death of a number of criminals (to save the world, of course). And as they must, things get out hand. But at least Ryuk is briefly entertained during his eternal vigil.

That was the basic idea of Death Note,the Manga series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, and this basic idea is the first thing that the 2017 Netflix adaptation manages to ruin.

Since the publication of its first Manga in 2003, Death Note has amassed a cult following, with numerous adaptations ranging from Musicals to web series to live action films in the original Japanese, apart from all that sweet, sweet merchandise. Which makes Netflix playing fast and loose with such a pedigreed property even more tragic.

Let us, in any case, swipe past those threads and conversations about the white washing of the cast and storyline, and look at Light Turner of Seattle, Turner meaning Yagami in American, we guess. Light Turner doesn’t seem to be a genius but he’s a loner and he’s called a smart kid a couple of times in the film, so it’s the same right?

While the Light from the original series is a charismatic if Machiavellian genius whose discovery of the Death Note organically leads to a plan of killing criminals and delivering justice, Turner is a grouchy loner who “hates criminals” because his mother was murdered by gangsters (she has a happier life in the Manga in that she’s not dead).

In any case, as in the original, Light begins his wholesale execution of criminals, covering his own crimes as sentences meted out by a justice god, Kira, whose ingenuity (and murdering ability) seems to know no bounds. And while pictures may well be a thousand words, with this slaughter unfolding beautifully over the panels of the Manga, the movie is mute on the subject.

In literally less than two minutes, Light manages to kill off “400 criminals” (a figure which is bandied about with much gravitas during the whole film despite it’s utter insignificance to the plot), establish Kira as a symbol of justice being hunted by Interpol and introduce the world’s most famous detective, L, who is also on the hunt for Kira. He also manages to get a girlfriend to whom he spills all his secrets, erring on the side of hormones, as it were. Oh yeah, and his father is also part of the international police effort to catch Kira.

Alas, this efficient editing of the film also pares away all the nuances and intricacies that made the original an instant classic. The girlfriend, who was a side character in the Manga and essentially an aesthetic for its male readers, is central to the movie and with far more alarming mannerisms. Her complete psychosis and sheer enthusiasm for murder are given no causal history, rendering her a one-dimensional stock sadist character.

The editing and screenplay, as we’ve mentioned, butchers the actual story of Death Note; and speaking of butchery, while the original usually had Light just write down the name of his victim, who would than keel over with a heart attack, the film goes for gore, with Light coming up with various bloody ways with which to wreak death and destruction, egged on by a gleeful Ryuk.

And here we come to my main grouse with the Netflix adaptation. While Ryuk is pretty well digitally rendered and gloriously voiced by a William Dafoe in full maniacal form (let’s just let him voice all villains in all movies, please!), his character’s motivations are completely misrepresented, even maligned.

Dafoe as Ryuk capers on the sidelines of Light’s weird slasher romance story as a malevolent and murderous deity whose only interest is to get Light to kill more and more people and seems overly concerned about a non-stop body count.

The Ryuk in the original, however, is far less partisan; he’s just bored. The entire point of throwing down the Death Note, the entire point of toying with a seemingly moral Light, indeed, the entire point of the damn story is that Ryuk is bored. He has an eternity to spend shuffling individuals back and forth the mortal coil and he needs some diversion to help kill time (pun unintended). He’s not especially bloodthirsty or homicidal, because whether they go in a heart attack, or in a freak decapitation, or peacefully in their beds at the age of 92 surrounded by loved ones, the point is they go. Ryuk knows this.

That death is inevitable.

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The Big Sick Movie Review

“Write what you know!” It’s the first bit of advice not to mention, the most common refrain that budding novelists and screenwriters will hear from experts, mentors, and just about anyone who’s caught them contemplating a blank computer screen. It’s a tip that Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon took very seriously when they sat down to write their first film.

The resultant effort is a crackling romantic comedy titled The Big Sick that’s sharp, funny, deeply affecting, and feels a hundred per cent authentic. Nanjiani and Gordon who co-wrote the script, are married in real life, and the film is a personal story based on their own relationship and the terrible health scare Gordon suffered. It also examines the struggles of cultural differences and provides an unvarnished account of the Chicago stand-up scene.

That’s a lot to pack into a single film, you might think. And it may have been for a less skilled team. But Nanjiani and Gordon, along with director Michael Showalter, under the guiding eye of producer Judd Apatow, have pulled off that rare thing a laugh-out-loud comedy with a genuinely emotional center. Nanjiani, who you might recognize from his role as peevish computer coder Dinesh in the HBO show “Silicon Valley”, plays a slightly younger version of himself, a rookie stand-up comic from a traditional Pakistani family now living in Chicago. He meets, dates, and subsequently falls for Emily (Zoe Kazan), but their relationship hits a dead end because he can’t muster up the courage to stand up to his family who’re insistent that he marries a Pakistani girl. In fact, they’ve broken up when Emily becomes critically ill and is put in a medically induced coma. The film’s best bits are the ones that explore how Kumail deals with her illness, and her parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) who show up to be by her side in hospital. All three actors bring such incredible honesty to these delicate scenes depicting the bond that develops between them…tentatively.

Honesty, in fact, is the biggest strength of this film, which deftly avoids clichés of the genre and goes to uncomfortable, sometimes dark places in its pursuit of truth. It boils down to the intuitive, masterful writing once again that Nanjiani and Gordon effectively demonstrate how humor serves as the perfect antidote to sorrow and despair.

The scenes between Kumail and his family also bristle with an all-too-familiar spark. Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff are especially good as his parents who’re convinced they know what’s best for their son, while unknowingly widening the gap between them.

There is a lot to enjoy and appreciate in The Big Sick, from its terrific dialogue to its wonderfully astute observations on love, friendship and family, and the lengths we will go to for each. The performances are extraordinary too, by Kazan, who is real and lovely despite her limited screen time, and Nanjiani, who digs deep to reveal a depth of emotion that you’re frankly unprepared for. From the way his character handles racist heckling, to his identity as a second-generation Pakistani immigrant in America, to the competitive yet unshakeable friendship between struggling comedians, he puts it all on screen with amazing sincerity.

This is a film that raises the bar for romantic comedies hereon. It’s a film I know I’m going to watch again soon, to savor the company of its characters. Don’t miss The Big Sick. It’s a real gem. I’m going with four out of five.

Rating: 4 / 5

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Jagga Jasoos Review

Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor would have never thought what they were getting into when they decided to experiment with the idea of ‘musical’ more than three years ago. After much complications, several re-shoots and one very public breakup between the lead pair later, Jagga Jasoos, finally sees the light of the theatre. And one can easily call it a risky gamble gone perfectly right with its execution and vision.

An out and out musical, the film is one of its kind with nearly 30 songs and a Tintin-like mystery adventure narrative presented in a sing-song live action format. The picturesque North East has been presented beautifully along with Moroccan streets and several Madagascar-ish touch-ups. No matter how exotic the film feels, the heart of the film is typically Bollywood, with lots of emotions and childlike innocence and naivety. Basu has given his quintessential touch to the film with a subtle love story, a heart-warming tale of a father-son duo and certain animated expressions.

The film stars Ranbir as Jagga, an orphan who is adopted by a stranded man, Tuti-futi Bagchi, from a hospital where he’s admitted. Then one-day Jagga is left at the boarding school by his adopted father, who takes an exit from his life only to send one tape a year, full of advice on his birthday. Jagga grows up to be a mystery-solver with his sharp mind and observation, helping the police of his town to solve murders. And during one such case, he meets Shruti (Katrina Kaif), an investigative journalist. One day he gets the news of tuti-futi’s demise and then begins the journey of Jagga to find his father, amid the cobweb of international illegal arms export. The first half of the film is extremely entertaining with Jagga’s back-story and build up. Another shining aspect of the film is its cinematography. Ravi Verman’s frames feel right out of a storybook and the colours just pop out like any other Hollywood feel-good Disney film.

The major baggage of the film is carried well by music director Pritam. The film is a musical, thus heavily dependent on its music and Pritam has surely justified Basu’s hard work with his enchanting scores which is the narration style of the film. Ranbir once again proves his acting prowess as a stammering yet confident Jagga. His animated expressions suit the setup of the film and at no point does he feel too dramatic or over expressive. Katrina too is fine as Shruti, and in fact, evoke chuckles as a clumsy yet impressive investigator. Saswata Chatterjee as Tuti-futi Bagchi is brilliant in his role. He is impressive with his emotions and more than his words, it’s his eyes that do the talking. Saurabh Shukla as one of the many villains is impressive in his part, however, the portions between him and Jagg will remind you of their Barfi equation, a lot.

Does that mean the film is flawless? Well, unfortunately, no.

The second half of the film feels a little stretched and you can spot continuity errors through the climax. The film has been re-shot quite a few number of times and it all shows in the later half. The VFX of the film are quite shabby, but Bollywood is still too poor to inculcate Hollywood-style graphics. Only if the budget would have allowed finer post-production, the film would have matched to any other Disney live-action.

The inclusion of North-East culture and certain subtle references to Feluda, Satyajit Ray and even our favourite teen detective-Tintin mark another highlight of the film.

Jagga Jasoos is a chapter taken straight out of a magical comic-book and keeps you intrigued till the end. Being promoted as a children’s film, it deals with an important topic of illegal arms and the message has been carved keeping a child’s interest in mind. There is a message in the film and a definite possibility of a sequel. There’s also a surprise cameo by Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a rather interesting avatar.

If only the film gets the kind of love it deserves, it has all the ingredients to be Bollywood’s first mystery-musical series, with Jagga as our super-smart detective.

Entertaining, experimental and adventurous to the core, Jagga Jasoos is definitely a stepping stone towards a genre not yet explored by even the biggest of Bollywood filmmakers. A beautiful ode to Satyajit Ray, Feluda, Sherlock Holmes and Tintin at the same time indeed.

Rating: 3/5

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War For The Planet Of The Apes Review

50 years after the first glimpse into the world and times of apes and the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Matt Reeves is back with the third and final installment of the Planet of The Apes reboot series. The film draws from the first two parts, but doesn’t see you at a loss even if you haven’t watched the previous films. In fact, it only makes you more curious to actually trace the rise, dawn and of course, the survival of apes.

The film begins with a shot of human army raiding into what looks like an alienated land and soon one sees the apes in action, with guards high, to protect their land and their tribe. Led by Caeser (Andy Serkis), the creatively carved-out tribe is full of members who can be identified with peculiar characteristic traits. Each of them is well equipped to hold their own and dedicated to serve and save their tribe against the rule of ‘deadly’ humans. But “Apes, together strong” or perhaps, strongest, as you’d realise by the end of the film, makes this one a compelling watch.

As the title suggests, the film picks up after a few years from where the second installment left and sees Caeser and his close aides planning a mission to guard their species against the humankind. However, the irony that the humans are defending their throne against the very species, which was created by their own experiment gone wrong, is inescapable. apes-1Image: Youtube/ A still from the trailer of War for The Planet of The Apes To begin with, there’s an elaborate computer-generated imagery, a fine VFC and an amalgamation of explosive sets to tuck in the viewers’ attention much before the well-timed and finely tuned emotional playoffs appeal to the collective conscience. The apes who’re now fully evolved – to stand upright and some to even have the human verbal abilities – carry the film on their shoulders and never for once, let it down. Serkis and other primates lead a well-woven war with their efforts and antics against the struggling race of mankind.

Woody Harrelson, who plays the Colonel heading the human battalion, delivers a power-packed performance. While most scenes make you loathe him, the ones wherein his vulnerability lays bare, make you see his point of view.

The ongoing battle between humans and apes lies more on the marked cards of conflict than physical strength and that works in the favor of the franchise. The conflicts of right and wrong, morality and survival, mercy and extinction, family ties and duties, and emotional and rational choices take the lead when the action takes a back seat. In fact, the core essence of a never-ending battle between the fluid instincts of good and evil – both in humankind and in apes’ tribe – has been captured well.

In the era of superheroes and inter-galaxy battles, one might not have expected this post-apocalyptic tale to feel relevant but the makers have played well on several fronts to make this one a fitting end. The plot is intriguing enough to keep one hooked and arousing enough to evoke a gamut of emotions.

Rating: 4/5

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Spiderman homecoming

Director – Jon Watts
Cast – Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei
There were several presumptions about Spiderman having a big and late Homecoming into the Marvel Universe. When the trailer of Tom Holland wearing a techy suit came out, the doubts grew darker as Iron Man was there to mentor the new kid on the block. Many thought that the influence of a big Avenger can ruin the basic essence of Spiderman- who, for so many decades has created his own identity as a next door superhero (in the Marvel comics). However, Spiderman: Homecoming proves them all wrong and emerges as the summer treat for the fans. A complete joy-ride from its first frame to the last (yes! Including the post-credit scenes), the film delivers on almost every level and the biggest asset turns out to be Spiderman himself. The 21-year-old Tom Holland perfectly fits the bill of the new age Spidey, growing up in the age of Avengers and alien attacks. Holland feels like a natural in the skin of Peter Parker, nerd, awkward, clumsy and a nobody- kind of boy next door. He isn’t rich or dynamic and that is the strength of the character. Peter Parker (Tom Holland), a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Queens, is a next door superhero who had his major break during Avengers’ Civil War, and after getting an uber cool suit from Tony Stark, is stopping tiny thefts and sometimes creating problems. However, amid his petty outings comes a time when he finds himself facing the Vulture (Michael Keaton) and his Alien tech.

It’s up to Peter to bust them, though as Spider-Man he’s still figuring out what the heck he’s doing. In his red-and-blue spandex costume, now layered with computer intelligence, he shimmies up and around dizzying angles with features like Web grenade and even Spider-web wings! Always in a sticky situation thanks to his immature skills as a superhero, there are real moments up in the sky, you’re up there with him, doing just what you’re supposed to be doing at a movie like this one. You forget yourself. You escape.

Tom wins hearts as a gawky, anxious deer-in-headlights teen innocence that’s so fumblingly aw shucks and ordinary that it seems almost incongruous when he’s referred to as “the Spider-Man.” What he looks (and acts) like is Spider-Boy. Tobey Maguire, who certainly seemed boyish at the time, was 26 years old when he first played Peter, but Holland was just 20 when he shot this film, and it makes a difference. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the story of a savior who’s still mucking around in the business of being a kid.

The film comes across as more engaging, funny and relaxed than its predecessors. Director Jon Watts took extra care to mingle Peter in the Avengers Universe without dominating the aloofness of Spiderman. He was and is the standalone neighbourhood hero who doesn’t belong in any team. There is, of course, Iron-Man to mentor him, but Robert Downey Jr’s presence never overpowers Holland’s ingenuity and that’s a plus.

The supporting cast of the film also fits in well. While Keaton is Sinister as a villain and turns up where you least expect him. Jacob Batalon as Ned is Peter’s best bud and the first one to discover his alter-ego. He is the perfect side-kick and of course a friend in need. Now, no Spiderman film is complete without a romance and here Peter’s crush is his high school senior Liz (Laura Harrier). However, it is Zendaya whose character stays with you despite limited screen timing. Not fully explored, looks like Watts is saving her for the sequel.

The new Young-Adult spinoff of Marvel tries its best to feed away from the classic comic hero. There is a moment where the iconic mid-air kiss is expected, but instead, the gawky Spidey falls down leaving the audience with a chuckle. There is no Uncle Ben but instead a Tony Stark, whose persona is well, not as advisable around kids anyway.

The films feel like a typical Marvel ride at moments, with basic scripts mixed with relatable moments and emotions. Overall, the Universe has successfully sent its message that this kid isn’t quite super — he’s just like you.

It’s refreshing to see a character as mythical as Spider-Man portrayed in such a user-friendly, sanded-down, grounded way. This one deserves a watch for its fresh take on the web-spinning hero and for a re-visit to your high school days.

Rating: 3.5/5

PS: There are two post-credits scenes in the film, one promising a sequel and other, well, teaching you patience. Also, there are enough surprises in the film, connecting it with the rest of Marvel Universe. Really hilarious bits.

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MOM: A Far From Perfect Film, But Never Boring

Cast: Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali, Abhimanyu Singh, Adnan Siddiqui

Director: Ravi Udyawar

In Mom, her first Hindi film since 2012’s English Vinglish, Sridevi isn’t merely expected to do the bulk of dramatic lifting, she’s required to pretty much distract you from noticing the film’s many problems, including the gaping script holes, the flawed ideology, and the fact that you’ve seen this movie before. Many times actually. Arya (Sajal Ali), a teenage student, is savagely raped, but the perpetrators get off the hook. Seething with righteous rage, determined to deliver justice to the offenders, her mother Devki (Sridevi) takes matters into her own hands. Wait, wasn’t this exactly the plot of the recent Raveena Tandon starrer Maatr?

Well in the hands of advertising filmmaker Ravi Udyawar who’s making his feature debut, Mom is a stylish revenge thriller and relatively less shrill than most films in this genre tend to be. The grotesque crime that triggers the plot takes place off screen, but the director never spares you the discomfort. In the film’s most chilling scene, we get an aerial view of a black SUV into which four men have forcibly trapped the victim, as it courses through empty roads in the dead of the night, an ominous background score filling the air. Shudder.

But stylistic choices aside the screenplay faithfully sticks to the genre template. Devki tracks down each of the men and delivers brutal payback for their misdeeds. She is helped in this by a pushy private eye (an recognizable Nawazuddin Siddiqui), even as a suspicious cop (Akshaye Khanna) is on to her.

The ease with which Devki executes her revenge plan is unconvincing, and presumably the big idea here – that she gets away with a lot of it because who would suspect a woman, a mother? – is interesting, but never adequately exploited. A bigger problem with the film is its tendency to focus squarely on Sridevi, often at the cost of the story. Mom, as its title clearly suggests, traces Devki’s arc, and as a result Arya and her plight get relegated to the background.

Having said that, it’s also true that a deeply emotional but superbly controlled performance by Sridevi elevates Mom from its standard revenge fantasy leanings. The actress uses body language and her eyes to communicate complex emotions, and makes it impossible not to root for her despite the popular but frankly dangerous sentiment – of vigilantism – that the film is peddling.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui somehow creates a fully realized character despite an underdeveloped part, and he is riveting when he’s on screen. Akshaye Khanna, unfortunately, gets very little to work with, which is a shame given his talent. The rest of the cast too is in good form, particularly Sajal Ali as Arya, and Abhimanyu Singh as one of the offenders. But make no mistake, this is the Sridevi show and everything is expressly designed to add to her legend.

Mom is a far from perfect film, but it’s never boring. Sridevi’s terrific turn makes up for many of the script problems. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

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