There is an important moment in Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway in which during a courtroom scene, Debika Chatterjee (Rani Mukerji) makes an emotional appeal to the judge ‘Main achhi maa hu ya buri, ye toh nahi pata, par maa hu’. This entire courtroom sequence that happens towards the end of the film, like many other moments in the film, is crafted well lto make the audience feel the character's trials and triumphs.
Bollywood, every now and then, comes up with a motherhood drama that tugs at your heartstrings, like Sridevi’s Mom and English Vinglish, Kajol’s Tribhanga, and Vidya Balan’s Paa. Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, directed by Ashima Chibber, is a worthy addition to this line-up.
Every few years, Mukerji steps out of her comfort zone and attempts a character that only she could bring to life – Black’s Michelle, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’s Vibhavari, the unabashed and brave cop in Mardaani and Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’s Debika. Mukerji outshines herself and is natural in the role of a mother seeking justice, based on the true story of Sagarika Chatterjee and her husband Anurup Bhattarcharya.
Debika Chatterjee, her husband, and their two young children are settled in Norway. Debika’s world revolves around her children. Her occasionally abusive and self-centered husband, vying for the green card, does little to help her raise children.
Debika’s world is shattered when her children are taken away as the state alleges misconduct in handling the children due to cultural differences. How a single woman fights a country to get her children back forms the story. Her husband abandons her, labelling her ‘mentally unstable’ to protect his citizenship while her in-laws create trouble in her fight to win back her children.
Mukherji is in fine form as a distraught mother up against a culture and system that she is alien to. The makers of the movie have managed to make the audience cry and feel as the mother onscreen battles the pain of separation from her children.
Directed by: Ashima Chibber
Starring: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya, Jim Sarbh, Neena Gupta