"Maatr" is an Indian revenge thriller, written by Michael Pellico and directed by Ashtar Sayed.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
Circa 2004, Raveena Tandon played a mother to a minor who is brutally raped in a film called Jaago. 13 years since, she revisits the premise with a character that is far more aggressive. Maatr is set in Delhi, often stated in new channel debates and magazines as the ‘rape capital’.
Maatr is the story of a mother out to avenge her daughter. Raveena plays Vidya Chauhan, a teacher and mother of a teenaged Tia (Alisha Khan). She and her daughter are gang raped, following which the daughter loses her life. Vidya is left trying to come to terms with her life after that, even as she fails to find any support from her husband.
The good thing about the screenplay of Maatr is that there no wastage of time. Writer Michael Pellico gets to the crisis without delay. Things move quick and you are kept engaged, making it Maatr’s biggest strength.
The film’s second biggest strength is, of course, Raveena. The film does not offer scope for much melodrama (thankfully that!) and hence Raveena mostly keeps a grieving face as she goes about her role, except on a couple of occasions when she needs to bring out some other expressions. Like one scene when she makes a sarcastic remark at a police officer…you may see a sudden glimmer in her eyes.
The problem with Maatr is the lack of creativity on part of the writer. It is not a new story and the characters are rusty. The rapists – the CM’s son (Madhur Mittal of Slumdog Millionaire fame) and his friends speak and behave like rapists we have already seen in dozens of other films. They are the stereotypical bad boys, who are into drugs and girls and ride on power. And then the revenge part is almost amateurishly executed. Might as well leave you bewildered. Towards the climax, the protagonist makes her way into the heavily secured Chief Minister’s bungalow to accomplish her goal; the ease with which she does it is laughter inducing! To make things worse a particular song blares every time there is a tragic scene.
Discrepancies aside, Maatr rides high on the emotions. It is almost like a revenge drama from the '80s when you would suspend all beliefs and enjoy the show. If you are still an audience to such films, you won’t have problems with Maatr. You will, in fact, find this rather engaging a fare.