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Film Review – Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway


Pabitra Priyadarshini Jena

Maternal Love Tested

Film Review – Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway – Image courtesy: Addatoday

Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway is a captivating legal battle with a clash of cultures. The review captures these riveting elements. Immigration, identity, and the power of maternal love are explored in this thought-provoking film.

With a gripping storyline, this movie is based on the true story of Sagarika Bhattacharya’s battle against the world. It was released on March 17, 2023, and is now available on Netflix

Director: Ashima Chibber

Cast: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya, Jim Sarbh, Balaji Gauri, Neena Gupta

Rani Mukherjee plays Debika Chatterjee, an Indian immigrant mother and her husband living in Norway. However, this family is not all normal. They are brought to the attention of Norway’s child welfare services when their neighbours file a complaint after hearing about their quarrel. This family is then approached by two women from Velfred who act as tutors and helpers. Initially, they seem friendly. Then one day, they capture the children and take them to foster homes. Debika collapses. 

A legal battle ensues. 

As a cover for their child welfare scam, the Norwegian child welfare services deem her unfit to raise her children. Initially, the welfare service exploits cultural differences in order to prove its point. As Debika continues to be denied access to her children despite winning her first battle, she behaves aggressively, which is her worst enemy, as her opponent uses her aggressive behaviour to prove that she is mentally ill. 

Meanwhile, the kids become victims. They are separated from their mother, transferred to different foster homes, and not cared for. She takes a harsh stance and flees the country with her children when no one comes to her rescue, which backfires again. Debika finally returns home to India after a series of courtroom dramas, cultural clashes, and family struggles. Her in-laws treat her poorly, accusing her of being unfit for motherhood. A deal is made between her husband and in-laws and the Norwegian government to trick her. Despite this, she does not give up on challenging the system.

She finally gets custody of her children after years of fighting.

Throughout her movie, Rani Mukherjee portrays the various emotions a mother experiences when separated from her children. 

This movie had some drawbacks though, such as leaving many open-ended questions. These questions include Debika’s divorce from her husband, Debika’s in-laws, a background story about a domestic violence case, and Indian law’s late intervention. The film tries to capture a mother’s journey but fails to highlight some really pertinent and eye-opening topics that need attention now more than ever: child welfare scams.

The movie lacks more analysis and awareness of such scams. Other than just focusing on the mother, emphasizing a bit more on her legal battles in India, would have been more beneficial. There are very few scenes that capture her courtroom struggles in India, which does not justify Sagarika’s actual struggle.

One of the dailogues that stood out in the movie was: “Hum acha maa hain bura maa hain pata nahi ..par maa hain ..maa hoon sir”, by Rani Mukherjee.

A standout aspect of “Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway” is the cast, where each actor delivers an exceptional performance that adds depth and authenticity to the characters. The portrayal of Mrs Chatterjee by Rani Mukherjee is compelling and relatable since it shows her crossroads between vulnerability and determination. Supporting characters capture the nuances of their roles, adding layers of complexity to the story. 

The cinematographer’s wide shots and close-ups are combined expertly to convey the essence of each scene. The film features beautifully framed compositions and well-balanced lighting that enhance the mood and atmosphere. Various camera movements are also employed, ranging from steady tracking shots to handheld sequences, which provide a sense of energy and dynamism. 

In the screenplay, each character’s journey is skillfully crafted as it navigates the legal battle and cultural clash at its core. As events unfold, the screenplay balances tension, drama, and introspection, captivating the audience. It explores themes such as immigration, identity, and family bonds. The film prompts viewers to consider their own beliefs and perspectives by raising thought-provoking questions and challenging societal norms.

Music throughout the film beautifully complements the narrative, reflecting the film’s diverse moods and themes. A beautiful melodic interlude evokes a sense of longing and introspection as it transitions to energetic compositions that intensify the tension and drama of key moments. The soundtrack of the film is rich in instrumentation and vocals. The melodies capture the joy, struggles, and triumphs of each character to convey their emotional arcs. As a result, the songs in “Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway” serve as powerful storytelling tools that add additional layers of meaning and emotional resonance. 

As a whole, “Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway” explores the complexities of immigration, cultural clashes, and the fight for justice. It illustrates the strength of a mother’s love and willingness to sacrifice. Throughout this emotional journey, viewers consider the power of resilience and the importance of seeking the truth. The story of Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway is compelling and explores universal themes of family, identity, and justice in an engaging way.

*The author is a versatile engineer with a passion for creating compelling content.

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