Films around rape are gruesome and mind-numbing, and can leave a lasting impact on the audience's mind. But this one does neither.
'Maatr' is the story of a mother's revenge for her daughter's gang rape and murder, a disturbing incident that she witnessed and was part of her own life too. That Vidya Chauhan (Raveena Tandon) has suffered through the events herself does add a unique mix of emotions to the story, but little about this film makes it different from the others that have touched upon the topic.
Seven men perform the heinous act and attempt to kill both, the mother and daughter, so there's no witness left to narrate their crime. While Tia (Alisha Khan) succumbs to her injuries, Vidya survives. One of the accused, a politician's son, Apurva Malik (Madhur Mittal) assures his friends his father's clout will keep them secure, even as Raveena attempts to take revenge, albeit not discreetly.
Director Ashtar Sayed, it seems, was invested in making the first half, satiating his creative needs. The rape sequence leaves you troubled. Vidya's guilt at being the only survivor of the attack and the fear is beautifully depicted by Raveena; especially when she hesitates to even be around men. While her husband's (Rushad Rana) insensitive behaviour and repeated accusations don't affect the narrative, they do make your blood boil. The struggle seems real. Yet, a lethargy in direction is visible when a deceased flutters her eyelids on the funeral pyre.
The second half of the film is disappointing. It appears that a string of coincidences instead of a well thought-out plan help Raveena get her revenge. We waited for a masterstroke, but none came to the fore. Logic is thrown out of the window and scenes appear abruptly weaved together.
Raveena and Madhur play their parts convincingly, but fail to salvage the film with their earnest performances. Divya Jagdale, who plays Raveena's best friend, was over-the-top and somehow didn't fit in well. Anurag Arora as Inspector Akhil didn't have a definite side -- good or bad. However, he did a fairly good job.
Maatr has nothing new to offer, and doesn't leave a lasting impression either.