Maatr movie cast: Raveena Tandon, Divya Jagdale, Madhur Mittal, Alisha Khan, Anurag Arora, Rushad Rana
Maatr movie director: Ashtar Sayed
Maatr star rating: 1.5 stars
This rape-and-revenge thriller plays it strictly by the numbers: the heinous crime (involving the gang rape of a mother and daughter), the aftermath (involving unhelpful officers of the law) , the wounded woman picking up the cudgels and going after the perpetrators. The roll-out is as formulaic as they come, and sometimes that can be okay too, but a film like this needs to be deeply sensitive and alert to lift the sordidness of the material. Maatr fails on this score from the first frame, with its improbable plot-points, and relentless crassness: I cringed from beginning to end.
In fact, much of it is jaw-droppingly horrifying. A cop, observing the scene of the crime says: ‘PM desh ko shape karne ki baat kar rahe hain, aur yeh rape ki baat kar rahi hai’. Seriously? Who writes these lines?
There’ve been countless films made on this theme, which tie in standard strands of police procedural — crime thriller — rape-revenge fantasy, and we’ve come away from them disturbed, in the right way, to see how naked power and aggression can slam the victims to the ground, their legitimate pain never being acknowledged or addressed.
Those involved in creating a woman like Vidya Chauhan (Raveena Tandon) who rises from the ashes to hunt out the gang of rapists — a politician’s loutish son (Madhur Mittal) and his hangers-on who operate from a Delhi farmhouse — should have been careful of what they were stepping into. Especially when you are setting the film in the Capital, which hasn’t forgotten that brutalised girl in the bus, on that December night.
And that extends to the leading lady, a Bollywood veteran, a woman with privilege, and a likeable actor who has a respectable CV: Tandon’s ‘zakhmi aurat’ is the result of good intentions marred by thoughtless execution.