Devki teaches biology in the same class and at the same school where Arya also studies. She is the kind of teacher who uses pictures of Salman Khan's abs in her lectures, and asks her patrons to watch science-fiction movies. The relationship between Arya and Devki is a frosted one. Arya has not been able to accept Devki as her mother and calls her Ma'am. For Arya, her mother is her birth mom and not the second wife of his father. She tells her father that it is a daughter who comes in a mother's life, and not the other way round, thus, she will never be able to accept Devki. The film, then, becomes a story that depicts how and why Arya moves away from calling Devki as Ma'am to calling her as Mom.
shloka of Yada Yada from the Mahabharata written on it.
Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata,
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham.
Whenever there is decay of righteousness, O Bharata,
And there is an exaltation of unrighteousness, then, I Myself come forth.
The description on the poster holds true for the film MOM as well. Like the exhibition, the film is directed by Ravi Udyawar. There is a hidden mythological theme in the film's story. Additionally, the verse of Yada Yada describes the motivations of the characters in MOM, too. Yada Yada was given as a sermon to Arjun by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna explained to him that whenever there is a rise of injustice and unfairness in the world, God reincarnates to make things right. This is what happens in the film. Devki and her family lose the court case which leads to the acquittal of the criminals who assaulted Arya. Losing her trust in the institutional methods, Devki decides to get justice on her own. She visits DK who tells her, "Court se galti nahi hui, bahut bada paap hua hai." The court has not committed a mistake, rather it has sinned. Later, Devki tells DK that God cannot be present everywhere, and he replies to her that it is why he created mothers. He is calling a mother as a reincarnation or an equivalent of God who fights for justice. It is also noteworthy that he usually addresses Devki as Devi Ji. Devki is, thus, like a Goddess reincarnated, fighting against the evil for the dispensation of justice.
Then, in the exhibition, Devki stands in front of a red Mahabharata-inspired painting which symbolized the washing of Draupadi's hair in Dushasana's blood. Draupadi was disrobed by Dushasana after Yudhishthira bet her in a game of dice which he, subsequently, lost. Draupadi vowed that she will not tie her hair until she washed it in Dushasana's blood. It is again discernible to observe the parallels between the story of Draupadi and Arya. Both are victims of men harassing and assaulting them. Krishna comes to the rescue of Draupadi in the Mahabharata; here, Devki (Krishna's mother) comes to get justice for Arya. It is also no coincidence that Arya is named similar to the Aryans. The Pandavas were often addressed as Arya Putras, as was also seen in B.R. Chopra's Mahabharat series. As Devki says, the Mahabharata is the world's oldest story of revenge. The film, too, is a story of revenge. Like the painting, there is also a running theme of red color in MOM. The film's title is written in red. Devki's glasses are red. She drives a red car. When she goes and meets her transgender students, she walks among a bunch of red drapes. Red apples play another important role in the film. Red is the color of love, but it is also the color of blood. The color of passion. The color of revenge. As Draupadi washes her hair in Dushasana's blood in the painting, Devki has the blood of her daughter's assaulters on her hands. Draupadi tied her hair back after the death of Dushasana; Arya is shown to be fully healed after the death of her assaulters.
the meaning of his formal name Satyoki. He tells her that Satyoki was Krishna's saarthi (charioteer).
Talking about water, there is an interesting motif of water associated with Devki in the film. She is often seen near water. When Arya angrily leaves the dinner table after speaking rudely with her father, Devki offers him water to drink. Devki is often seen filling the water bottles from the water filter in the kitchen. The night when Arya does not come back from the party, Devki checks on her while she is filling water bottles. When Devki visits the police station, the woman constable brings her a glass of water. After the assault, when Arya regains consciousness in the hospital, the first thing Devki asks her was if she needed water. Later, in a moment of rage, Devki follows Mohit in her car and has a small accident. When she comes back home, she drinks a glass of water. Finally, when the prosecution team loses the case and the accused go scot-free, Devki is again seen filling water bottles. She is lost in deep thought about the state of affairs, which leads to the overflowing and the spilling of water from the bottles. The water symbolized her patience, which now seems to have run out. Thereafter, she decides to take matters into her own hands. There is a saying in Hindi that eventually the paap ka ghada (the pot of sins) will overflow and burst. The evil has risen too much, thus, Goddess will reincarnate as Krishna said in Yada Yada sermon in the Mahabharata.
I was intrigued by the presence of water near other characters as well. Unlike in the case of Devki, in their case, it is primarily situational, but still quite a noteworthy presence, especially, in the case of the four accused. When Baburam is picked up from his house, he spills a water drum. Later, death comes to him in the toilet near a water tap. Charles Diwan gets paralyzed before he picks up a glass of water. Mohit is trapped at the moment when he is sitting on a toilet seat and smoking pot. Devki puts apple seeds submerged in water in his kitchen sink. Jagan dies on snow, which is nothing but frozen water. It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Death comes to Jagan in a cold place over the snow.
Water, Water, Everywhere
There is the presence of water in Arya's life, too. After she is sexually assaulted, she is dumped in a gutter, from which she barely makes out alive. She has recurring nightmares of the assault, and she sits under the flowing water of the shower to cleanse the memories of the incident. When they all go to Kufri, Arya feels calm in the gorgeous mountainous landscape. She is enthralled by the beauty of nature. And, then, it rains, and a resplendent rainbow appears. She gets drenched in the rain, finally, feeling clean. Her healing is complete, and she has been blessed by the angels. Her healing process was also represented by the curtains in her room. When she is initially assaulted, her room is dark with the curtains closed. When she first hears the news of Baburam's death, she walks towards the window, opens the curtains slightly letting the light come in the room, and then, watches the birds fly in the sky. After Charles' death, she again walks towards the window curtains, and then, sends a message to her father that she wants to go to the hill station.
Spacebound film that Devki told her students to watch.
The film's music is by A.R. Rahman and Irshad Kamil. There is a self-reference when at one point, Arya is listening to the songs from Highway.
Books In Movies:
Books by Greg Dyke and John Grisham
Mortal Prey by John Sandford
A book by Bill Bryson
Why Do I Say These Things? by Johnathan Ross
The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher
Change Beings With Me
The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher
Change Beings With Me
A friend on Twitter suggested to add book recommendations that have similar theme as in the movies. So, I will try to do add that based on what I have read or what others recommend. Since the Mahabharata is a theme in the movie, there is The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, which tells the story of the Mahabharata from Draupadi's perspective. At one point, we read that Draupadi wished to marry Karna. It is a really interesting book with a new outlook.
Other Reading:1. Rahul Desai on the recklessness of revenge cinema—Link
2. Jai Arjun Singh on mothers and vigilantes—Link
Dialogue of the Day:
"Galat aur bahut galat main se chunana ho, toh aap kya chunenge."