The Story: The bliss of a biology teacher’s family life in Delhi is shattered when her daughter, Arya (Sajal Ali) is physically assaulted by Jagan (Abhimanyu Singh) and gang. Does Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi) wait for the law to take its course? Or does Devki become Maa Durga and hunt down the perpetrators of the crime?
Review: Mom reminds you for the umpteenth time that we’re in Nirbhaya country. Like other films on the same subject, debutant Ravi Udyawar’s emotional thriller tells you that India, or should that be New Delhi specifically, isn’t safe enough for women, especially young girls. And its relevance makes it an important watch.There’s a lot packed in here. To begin with, the film dwells on the dynamics of a teenager’s standoffish relationship with her stepmom. This entire track is beautifully handled. Then again, it is post the teenager’s abduction and assault when the film reveals its true facet. To say anything more on the actual plot is to risk spoiling its surprises.
Instead, it would suffice to say that when the avenging mother is joined by an inconsequential-looking private detective, DK (Nawazuddin), the screen ride becomes edgier and more exciting. There’s also a tough-as-nails cop, Francis (Akshaye), who stays close on the heels of the vigilantes, adding gusto to proceedings. At times, there is that sense of deja vu that you experience because most parents-looking-for-a-missing-teen movies follow certain set devices. But this one still manages to stay ahead with some interesting twists and turns. However, it is in the graph and the strength of Sridevi’s character wherein the victory of this script lies.
In her 300th landmark movie (coincidentally produced by her husband Boney Kapoor) Sri demonstrates why she is the high-priestess of desi cinema. Here she turns in a captivating performance; happiness, helplessness, vendetta and victory, she walks you through the entire gamut of emotions with panache. Supporting her ably is her onscreen husband Anand (Adnan), who plays the polished gent with flair. Nawazuddin, with his quirks and one-liners, turns in a class act and Akshaye Khanna, who is in terrific form here, forces you to ponder why he takes such long matinee breaks.
Dew fresh Sajal Ali, who seems to have grown up watching Kareena Kapoor films, seems like a clone of the senior actor. But this is not to take away from her otherwise adept performance. A R Rahman’s background score adds the required chills without distracting and Anay Goswamy’s camera lingers as lovingly on the actors’ faces as it does on the snow-capped peaks.
The Story : Laxman Singh Bisht (Salman) is nicknamed tube light by his neighbors because he is feeble-minded. Despite being special, Laxman lives by one life-lesson; keep your faith alive and you can do almost anything, even stop a war.
Review : At the outset, one must warn people that Tubelight is a departure from your regular Salman Khan mass entertainers. Here Bollywood’s darling-star plays a child-man who doesn’t take off his shirt or flex his biceps. So the audience going in for this one, must first invest belief (or should that be disbelief?) in this age of innocence offering from Kabir Khan, whose past outings Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan were more commercially-wired.
Tubelight inspired by the Hollywood film Little Boy directed by Alejandro Monteverde, is told with a fable-like simplicity. Set in Jagatpur, a pretty North-Indian town, during the Indo-China war, the locals are mostly hangers on, who have little to do except laugh at Laxman’s antics or berate him. Banne Chacha(Om Puri) mentors him, imparting Gandhian gyaan at every given opportunity. Narayan (Mohd Zeeshan) is the local bully who slaps the hero around without provocation, making the slaps sting less and irritate more. Things brighten up a bit when the drop-dead gorgeous Liling(Zhu Zhu) and perky Guo(Matin), who are Chinese immigrants move to Jagatpur. But even this track seems conveniently-placed just to evoke the Hindi-Chini bhai bhai sentiments.
The war sequences are poorly mounted and evoke no emotion because the filmmaker hasn’t invested in it either through evocative writing or mind-numbing montages.
The film that propagates the values of family, faith and patriotism doesn’t manage to take a complete leap of faith because somewhere someone couldn’t pull this one off convincingly. In fact, everything is so cloyingly sweet that you start feeling you’ve strolled into a sermon rather than a Salman movie. Pritam’s Naach Meri Jaan and Sajan Radio are magical, as is Shah Rukh Khan’s cameo as magician, Go-Go Pasha. Aseem Mishra’s camera work is largely-breathtaking.
When it comes to performances–Salman laughs and cries unselfconsciously, unraveling the lesser-seen side of his macho image. He cannot move mountains with his performance but he manages to keep the faith alive. Sohail is sincere. Zhu Zhu shows spunk and young Matin entertains. And, Om Puri reminds you of the mettle unsung heroes are made of.