Maatr Review

Raveena Tandon is earnest as a mother who turns into an avenging angel. She looks great for someone who has stayed away from the silver screen for years. That said, the role she has to play in this movie is so melodramatic, it borders on ridiculousness.

While NH10 made, you feel for the characters because they inadvertently witness a crime and are hounded by the villain, and the violence, though graphic, made you feel vindicated.

In this movie, everything is reduced to a caricature, and that's why you begin to wonder when the revenge saga would end.

Seven men follow a schoolteacher and her daughter in their car, crash it deliberately and then abduct and rape both the mother and daughter, then leave them for dead on the side of the road. The mother just happens to be alive. When she implicates the Chief Minister's son, the police back off. What follows is a predictable revenge story that completely ignores trauma and social stigma that is usually attached to rape victims regardless of their social class. And it tries to justify acting lawlessly because the law will not give her justice.

Raveena Tandon's fans will be happy to see that she is still gorgeous, but the Kisi Disco Mein Jaayein girl, wanting to suddenly be Liam Neeson from Taken is not going to be easy with a weak script. And how weak? They haven't even done research on police procedures: no policewoman is shown at all - not when the policeman takes a statement from a battered Raveena at the hospital, not even at the women's cell at police station. And which policeman informs the victim that her daughter is dead? And the news channels and newspapers who are, by law are expected to not reveal the identity of sexual attacks brazenly inform the public at large who she is in headlines!

The husband too is shown to be so pathetic, and that's fine. But he keeps repeating, 'You took a wrong turn' again and again until you wonder if the scriptwriter was paid per line.

Then comes the effort Raveena puts in at the gym to get well. She begins teaching at the school once again, and again we realise no one raises half an eyebrow at her coming back. There is no residential trauma, nothing.

Divya Jagdale, her artist friend vanishes from the scene when Raveena cases the movement of one of the bad lads by chance. Divya is fiery and accompanies Raveena to the police station, offers her a home when the husband turns her out (there again, how does someone who has revenge on her mind let the husband behave badly?), but does not know Raveena has murders on her mind?

The revenge drama is so awfully predictable you begin to wonder how Raveena acquired so many skills. She has no training, nothing. She suddenly and simply just stumbles upon these baddies one by one and kills them. It is so tackily done, you don't even want to know from where she acquired the gun, and if she picked it up from the baddie who tries to kill her, then how and where did she buy the silencer? Thankfully she kills four of them in two encounters, which saves us from watching the horrendous revenge thing.

Slumdog Millionaire child actor Madhur Mittal plays the bad guy who is shown to be forever smoking and drugged and fornicating. Had the scriptwriter been whipped for cliches, he's be dead trying to defend this badly written villain. What is worse, is Raveena getting past seriously big police 'bandobast' by simply wearing sunglasses. We feel what the policeman says in the end, adding a silent thanks to the Gods,'I think it is finally over.'

And the horrible crooning of 'Maa' - a song about 'Aisi hoti hai maa' helps you run out of the theatre...

Maatr is a predictable revenge story that completely ignores the trauma and social stigma that is usually attached to rape victims regardless of their social class. The subject is handled so ham-handedly, you cringe at the mistakes and wish they'd stop making rape an easy subject. (1) - Manisha Lakhe