Cast: Rani Mukerji, Jim Sarbh, Neena Gupta, Anirban Bhattacharya
Director: Ashima Chibber
From real to real, Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway touches the heart of all. Debika Chatterjee (Rani Mukerji) was labelled not only as mentally unfit by the Norwegian government, but she was also called a bad, careless and irresponsible mother. Inspired by the real life case of Sagarika Chakraborty and based on her 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. Since it is based on a true story, there are many mothers who can relate to this. And most importantly the film shows the difficulties of bringing up young children in a foreign country with no support system and no house help. Having house helps at home is considered to be normal in India, but in a foreign country it is a luxury which not many can afford.
When the husband’s contribution in parenting is nil, the plight of the mother doubles. Just after delivery most mothers go through a very depressive phase of their life, they struggle to keep themselves happy with the changes happening in their body, the responsibilities and here in the film Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, Debika (Rani Mukerji) is shown going through these struggles of bringing up two children, one a toddler who is a special child and a new born baby in an alien country.
The plight of the mother doubles up because the husband (Anirban Bhattacharya) is not supportive and is abusive too. He makes no effort to help Debika Chatterjee (Rani Mukerji) in household chores. The husband shown is a typical male chauvinist, who thinks his career and being a provider is his only job. On top of that he expects his wife to keep the house prim and proper, the food should be served on time to him and most importantly he demands to be made to feel important because he is the earning member of the family. Her determination to get back her children stronger when she realises that her husband is half- heartedly pursuing the case and is not even willing to hire a private lawyer. He is more bothered about protecting his Norwegian citizenship and his job.
Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway is an emotional journey of a mother, but in some places the exaggerated melodrama wasn’t required. For non-Bengalis, the movie may appear to be a little difficult to understand because most of Rani Mukerji’s dialogues are in Bengali. The film reflects the plight of immigrants where cultural differences are looked down upon. The most ridiculous part being how can a guest be critical about what is being served to them and what the lady of the house cooks at home. Making faces at the host and trying to be snooty when food is being served to you is considered to be lack of culture in our country.
Director Ashima Chibber has encapsulated this journey with a maternal approach. The film closely shows not only Debika’s fight against the Norwegian authority, but also her fight against her in-laws to get her children back. This is a story of an ordinary, simple woman who has always been obedient to not only her parents, but also to her husband. She is a kind of woman who didn’t have much say in the family when it came to decision making, but her fight to get her children back was truly extraordinary. It is only her love for children that helped her gather the strength to fight against all odds to get them back.
Rating 3.5 (out of 5 stars)
Mrs Chatterjee VS Norway is releasing on 17th March
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