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Mom Movie Review

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MOM begins with promise. Vivacious teenager Arya goes with her friends to a swinging party, and instead of working off an illicit hangover the next morning, and conducting giggly post-mortems with her school pals, finds herself in hospital, brutalized and devastated. First time feature filmmaker adnan Ravi Udyawar sets it up deftly, sketching Arya’s (Ali) rocky relationship with stepmother Devki (Sridevi), an overly compensating one with father (Adnan Siddiqui) and younger sister. It plays out along largely foreseeable, if disquieting, lines, but MOM doesn't strictly fall into the category of a conventional rape-and-revenge drama. It breaks free from the genre constraints on the back of a clearly defined moral and emotional context. It presents vengeance as a choice between two wrongs separated only by their respective degree of severity: galat aur bahut galat, as the titular character puts it. But do two wrongs ever make a right? If all this sounds like a bit of sophistry to justify the act of cocking a snook at the law, it is evident all through MOM that the two vendetta masterminds - school teacher Devki Sabharwal (Sridevi) and private detective Daya Shankar Kapoor (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) - are acutely aware of their ethical compass. The ambivalence at the core of the film places MOM a cut above the average Bollywood retribution drama. MOM has other assets, too, not the least of which is the outstanding quality of the performances that first-time director Ravi Udyawar extracts from his cast. Add to that cinematographer Anay Goswamy's adroit lensing and lighting, and you have a film that is consistently compelling. The visual compositions, an evocative interplay of light and shadows, create the palpable crevices of darkness where evil is afoot and resolute acts of defiance are plotted and executed. If there is any major grouse one has with MOM, it is with the editing. MOM is what Raveena Tandon's Maatr, wasn't: relevant, riveting and oddly rousing despite

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