Cast: Raveena Tandon, Madhur Mittal, Anurag Arora, Divya Jagdale,
Director: Ashtar Sayed
A school teacher mother and her teenaged daughter are returning from a school function, when they are accosted by a bunch of goons, and get brutally gangraped. Despite the daughter getting killed and the news getting flashed all over, one of the rapists is detached and his unconcerned attitude suggests he couldn’t be bothered. Why? He happens to be the son of Delhi’s chief minister, and nobody dare take him to task.
Sounds familiar? Even if it isn’t, it’s not an incident that would scare the wits out of someone. Not anymore. With such awfully dreadful tales grabbing headlines a dime a dozen, more so, in the North badlands of India, that too, almost every day, one has almost become immune to the enormity of such horrific incidents.
Instead of being gut-wrenching and provocative, Maatr follows the struggle of a young woman to find justice after she and her daughter are gang-raped.
Vidya (Raveen Tandon), who is left shattered after her daughter Tia’s (Alisha Khan)murder, is no ordinary mother, who would sit at home and mope. She knows that prolonged spells of low spirits don’t help and would rather seek vengeance by fighting the broken justice and criminal system.
There is a serious issue though: she doesn’t get along with her husband (RushadRana), who was anyway clinging on to their failed marriage because of their daughter. And with Tia gone, he declares on their dining table that there is nothing left in their relationship.
Vidya was waiting for this. Or so, it seems. Because the next thing she almost instantaneously does is to call her best friend Ritu (Divya Jagdale), pack her bags and move in with her.
Like it has almost been the norm, while it seems a straightforward enough case, there are some complicating issues involving the character and intent of the victim herself and also the culpability amongst those who Get to have all the evidence and still do nothing to nab the culprits.
Notwithstanding the persistent and disconcerting joylessness of the lead characters, the film moves into a direction that makes one forget about the traumatic moments the mother daughter duo faces, and becomes a predictable revenge drama.
Yes, it does sound familiar, again; in all the Zakhmee Aurats that nearly all the lad actresses- from Rekha, Shabana Azmi to Dimple, Sridevi and Madhuri – value added their list of films with.
The pain and suffering that the victims are subjected take a back seat as Vidya cold strategically and almost cold-bloodedly seeks justice, but only on her own terms. And that too, single handedly. She doesn’t even let her best friend know with whom she moves in, what insidious plans she has up her sleeve.
Maatr would like us to believe that the only way a woman could get even with her rapists is to follow them, study their movements, and kill them. That may be something any and every rape victim would desire to do, but would it serve justice in the long run? The film fails to answer any of the relevant questions that such a heinous act raises.
There’s no relief in the kind of filmmaking that this clumsily-expressed film stoops to.The dialogues and the facile depiction of power, justice and revenge sound fake and even laughable at times. As she goes about slaying, slaughtering, exterminating all therapists, Tandon keeps a somewhat stoic face while trying hard to convey more, say less. Perhaps, the ploy is to please and think of the audience who would then identify with her distress more. It’s quite obvious why director Ashtar Sayed wanted to make the film a lot punchier and less contemplative, and thus, removes vast swaths of details to shore up the characters, and emphasize on the flash-and-bang elements of the plot.