Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway review
After battling with the educational institution for the rights of underprivileged kids in Hichki to fighting the goons in Mardaani 2, Rani Mukerji is back for yet another intense conflict, and this time it's not with an individual, or group of people but a whole country. Rani portrays a mother in 'Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway', who stands tall against the Norwegian government to fight for the custody of her children. Having had the chance to witness this mama drama, this is what I felt about it.
The movie is an adaption of Sagarika Chakraborty's autobiography, "The Journey of a Mother," which tells the true tale of an Indian couple whose children were separated from them by the Norwegian Childcare system (Barnevernet) in 2011. Ashima Chibber has encapsulated this journey with a maternal approach. The movie, which has the same premise, recounts the challenges Debika Chatterjee (Rani Mukerji) faces in order to get back her children. Chatterjee is battling not only Norway but her in-laws, nasty mothers, and the entirety of the clearly established patriarchy and misogyny in the film. There is a significant part of the film where Bengali has been used as tool of conversation which adds up to feeling 'not so engaged' with the plot.
Distinguishable Two Halves
What seems to be a family legal drama is actually a lot more family drama than the intense court-room trials. The first half of the movie is sluggish and despite having all sorts of emotional pieces, doesn't really connect or hold your attention. The Norwegian characters in the movie are portrayed too crudely to offer much perspective into how forces like systemic racism and sheer negligence would have been catalysts to give birth to a situation like this. The screenplay gains momentum and seems to take a course in the second part of the movie, when the action is moved to India. Even though if it is predictable, the film's crescendo, which is the final trials, gives it fresh breath and deepens its perspective. Balaji Gauri's tardy virtuous fervor intervention as her new attorney is crucial for both Debika's case and the movie as a whole.
The Rani Mukerji Show
There cannot be any questions pertaining to Rani Mukerji's craft. As Debika Chatterjee, she will make you feel every emotion. The scenes where she feels utterly helpless will get tears in your eyes. Her frustrated witty one-liners are hysterical and will have you grinning. Rani Mukerji keeps it raw and draws you into the pain a mother is feeling being separated from her kids. But the ostentatious and loud Bengali representation with a switch in the Hindi-Bengali accent is a turnoff.
The Bengali Essence
In order to add the authentic Bengali touch, it seems like Ashima kind of overdid it. The deafening BGM at a few instances was irritating. Specifics in food items like Debika smashing the luchi-aloo dum and feeding her kids or sandesh to the government officials are added to representing easy stereotypes.
Anirban Bhattacharya as Anirudh gives an earnest performance. His character will make you hate him and that's what proves that he has done is job well. Jim Sarbh as the Norwegian attorney is suave and confident. Balaji Gauri brings in the required spice and tempo to the rather dull screenplay and brilliantly does her job as Debika's lawer.
Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway is a tale of a mother's love and how far she can go for her kids. Despite of having a powerful performance from Rani Mukerji, the story doesn't strike the emotional chord one must have anticipated after watching the trailer.
Rating: **1/2 stars (2.5/5)