Mittal V/S Mittal

If you observe director Karan Razdan’s body of work, you’ll realize that he has, quite often, made women-centric movies that defy stereotype… * HAWAS looked at a philandering housewife, who seeks sex outside marriage; * GIRL FRIEND was about a lesbian, who gets overtly possessive of her girl-friend, when the latter falls in love with a guy; * In SOUTEN – THE OTHER WOMAN, the guy first gets into a physical relationship with a middle-aged woman and then falls in love with her step-daughter. In MITTAL V/S MITTAL, Razdan highlights marital rape, which is a reality. It’s the subject material of MITTAL V/S MITTAL that takes you by surprise, especially the sequences where the husband commits marital rape, night after night. In the past, MATRUBHOOMI, DAMAN and PROVOKED have tackled similar issues. While MITTAL V/S MITTAL makes a sincere effort to be an eye-opener, it loses focus midway after it gets formulaic. At best, MITTAL V/S MITTAL is a solid idea that doesn’t come across as strongly on celluloid. Mitali [Rituparna Sengupta], a successful model, has dreams of marrying the prince of her dreams. She meets Karan Mittal [Rohit Roy], the heir to one of the richest families in the country. Mitali’s simple, middle-class upbringing is in complete contrast to Karan’s super-brat lifestyle. Smitten by Mitali, Karan lands up at Mitali’s home with his parents [Amar Talwar, Dolly Thakore] with a marriage proposal. Delighted at their daughter’s luck, Mitali’s family [Anjan Srivastava, Reema Lagoo] approves of the match.

The marriage is solemnized. But Mitali’s dreams turn into her worst nightmare. Her mother-in-law detests her and creates misunderstandings between Karan and her. Karan turns out to be a puppet in his mother’s hands and her father-in-law is a helpless, mute spectator. Karan has a certain pattern of dealing with women and wants to subdue Mitali’s independent streak. Karan is, in fact, a violent monster at night within the privacy of their bedroom. Unable to bear the humiliation and pain after she is repeatedly raped by him, Mitali decides to take charge of her life. Mitali walks out of Karan’s home, hires a lawyer [Suchitra Krishnamoorthi] and files a case against her husband. Karan retaliates by hiring the best lawyer [Gulshan Grover] money can buy to fight on his behalf. Issue-based films highlighting problems faced by women have often made their way on the Hindi screen. The issue – domestic violence – is a reality today, although women, generally, prefer to keep mum rather than raise a voice or move court for justice. Razdan’s above-named movies have had generous doses of skin show and MITTAL V/S MITTAL has it as well. In fact, the sequences featuring marital rape create the maximum impression in the film. But one would’ve expected really strong courtroom sequences as follow up [remember B.R. Chopra’s INSAAF KA TARAZU?], but the drama that ensues doesn’t create that impression. Yet, the clash between Gulshan and Suchitra in the courtroom is engrossing at times. There’s an important sequence in the film, which has a woman complaining to the activists about the atrocities committed by her husband. Strangely, Razdan has used English language to explain those atrocities, which will hardly be understood by many. Wonder why he used English? Why not Hindi? It would’ve reached out to a wider audience and the message would’ve come across strongly. Also, he film turns formulaic in the post-interval portions. There’s an item song [Hazel], there’s a hidden past of the husband [Iravati Harshe] and also his mother and a few more scenes [calling both the parties for a discussion on a TV show] that are far from convincing. Why this need to resort to cliches and formulaic stuff? Ideally, it should’ve been a stark and gritty film on this issue. Razdan may have had a good vision of what he wanted to make, but that’s not always enough. Though there’re a few songs in the narrative, the theme song that appears at various intervals has a haunting feel. Cinematography is okay. Both Rituparna and Rohit are credible and convincing. Rituparna enacts her part with complete understanding, while Rohit surprises you with a forceful performance. Gulshan Grover and Suchitra Krishnamoorthi are powerful. Iravati Harshe is hardly there. Reema Lagoo, Anjan Srivastava and Amar Talwar are adequate. Dolly Thakore is unintentionally funny.

On the whole, MITTAL V/S MITTAL is relevant, but is bogged down by mediocrity.

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