Mrs. Chatterjee VS Norway review: Hysterical Mrs. Chatterjee Fights Cardboard Evil

Mrs. Chatterjee VS Norway review: Hysterical Mrs. Chatterjee Fights Cardboard Evil

Mrs. Chatterjee VS Norway review: Hysterical Mrs. Chatterjee Fights Cardboard Evil

What: Mrs. Chatterjee VS Norway – starring Rani Mukerji should have been a six-tissue box worth movie about a mother who loves her kids to distraction. But the director took a sledgehammer to the script, cranked up the volume so high the audience cringes, and made everything and everyone into a single dimensional cardboard cut-out.

Mrs. Chatterjee VS Norway movie review

We emerged from the theatre aghast at and in mourning. Subtlety simply breathed its last here. And no, it did not say ‘mere paas maa hai!’

And puhlees, the original story may have been about a Bengali girl, but a ‘retold story’ need not need to be about a Bengali family. I like Rani Mukerji as an actor, but here, everything about her rage was uncontrolled like a banshee unleashed, so hysterical even I believed that she was not capable of looking after her kids.

Her adversaries? A husband who hits her, and has only one thing to say: I want citizenship. Nothing about his propensity for violence but one throwaway dialogue, nothing about his upbringing where he has learnt that women stay at home, and men bring home the bacon except one throwaway dialogue to the two Welfare ladies, nothing at all. Just a single dimensional character.

The two ladies from the Norwegian Welfare department. The Twins in The Matrix Revolutions were more nuanced than these two harpies who made faces like evil aunties in 70s films (reminded me of the facial contortions that actor Manorama made in the film Seeta Aur Geeta).  

The cops, the judges in Norway. I have never seen a more ridiculous Kangaroo Court than the one depicted here. I hope the government of Norway sues the filmmakers for being so incompetent in doing basic research in court proceedings. Even Bane’s court in Batman had more logic than what we witness in this film.

Jim Sarbh clearly has the better written part, but even he fails to sit down with his client and explain the court procedure. It would have calmed her down and clearly Rani Mukherji who plays Debika Chatterjee would have told Jim Sarbh that she has seen the video the Welfare ladies deleted, and Nandini and the underground law shop could have helped. But then that lawyer and Nandini also are throwaway characters. All we see and hear is Rani Mukherji throwing tantrum after tantrum, and needs to be subdued. Is she really in need of mental help?

We are a country that has made movies about women who are mentally challenged (due to trauma and more). Take Sadma for instance. We discover empathy for the character. Here, I was just alarmed at her decibel levels. It would terrify the kids surely. And the foster mother who is worried for the baby so much that she calls Rani Mukerji to soothe the baby made me cry. Rani Mukherji’s home looks like it was inspired from the TV show Shameless. Scary.

I understand that the woman in the original story may have been young and inexperienced, and hence unable to communicate with the two harpies, But Debika is educated, isn’t? Why does she never use her brains? If her husband really wanted that citizenship, he would have been nicer to the women instead of being brusque with them. Manipulative men know how to be charming in front of others and be menacing to their wives when company leaves.

But such nuances are plain missing in the film. Her parents come and go (convenient!), never offer any money for a lawyer even when Debika tells them the law is in cahoots with the Welfare Agency, Debika’s husband has a family who turn up and show us a stereotypical mother in law, elderly and ineffective father in law and yes, a greedy brother in law. Which era is this film set in, again?


Final words

The story of a Welfare Agency in Norway forcibly separating families because of ‘cultural differences’ in the upbringing of children could have been really wonderful and sensitively made. And the last twenty minutes of the Indian Courtroom drama, when a sobered down Rani Mukerji speaks quietly is quite nice (even though unbelievable). Perhaps if the whole film had been better fleshed out in terms of characters, their relationships, and the director had even a modicum of control over the goings on, the result would have been a wonderful uplifting film about a mother and her love for kids. Watch it because you know Rani Mukerji is capable of performing. Perhaps watch it when the film releases on a streaming platform. You will then be able to adjust the volume.




Rating : 1/5

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About Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

A cinephile who chills on cinema around the globe. Her rants & grants entirely depends on the movies she comes acrosss. if not watching films can be heard talking about them. FB/manishalakhe More By Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

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