Every emotion is overplayed, every dialogue is emotionally manipulative and every character is a cliché set in stone.
Rekha took a huge responsibility by doing Super Nani. Not surprisingly, she is its only redeeming factor – but then again, the allowance you give her could also be because of the fondness you have for her. In any way you look at the life and time of Rekha, you see a tinge of melancholy and she continues to be the portrait of Bollywood’s enigmatic heroines.
As Super Nani, she is made to overact with relish because according to the Indra Kumar school of cinema, exaggeration is the norm. But then, I never really got to watch Rekha’s expressions because my eyes were so caught up in her beautiful saris. What a stunner, she is! And a wardrobe selection she has made!
The film goes for a toss in the very first five minutes when Mann (Sharman Joshi) appears on screen with a short video he has made as a tribute to his mom. Rubbing in ‘mother’s love’ with sentimental flourish, the film then goes into the world of Bharti (Rekha), undoubtedly the world’s most loving, most caring, most sacrificing – and yeah, the most regressive mother.
Her son abuses her even when she saves his skin from two notorious underworld goons (who by the way have been converted to ‘mother’s love’ fans after eating Bharati’s breakfast), and seriously, the answer for such attitude – even from a son – is a cane, no matter how grown up he is.
There is no reason or logic other than the overwhelming love and affection of Bharti that makes her husband (Randhir Kapoor), children and daughter-in-law treat her like a doormat. Not surprisingly, she takes out all her sob stories on God – with vintage zoom-ins on the deity’s face. Yes, yes, the 1970s “Ma-Beta-Bhagwan” drama, indeed.
So when Bharti’s house-help also prays out loud to Bhagwan, ‘will no one come to save my madam?’, lo, there comes Mann, all the way from USA. Picture this: You have a perfect Indian woman, an idealistic NRI who cherishes Indian values and an Indian family that is Americanised – even open to live-in relationships. Heights of melodrama, anyone?
Mann’s make-over of Bharti into the glamour-girl she once was, and how it transforms the lives of everyone, making us realise how great moms are and how super Bharti Nani is, form the rest of the movie.
Other than a few rare moments where Rekha shines above the script, the film will not be remembered for any outstanding performances. When your character is plastic and one-dimensional, what can any actor – be it veteran Randhir or talented Sharman do? They just play by the game.
To give credit, the film has some good songs that fill all moods in one’s life – playful, emotional, tearjerker, happy, romantic – you name it.
And even if you miss all else in the movie, an adaptation of a Gujarati play, you might not miss the sync-sound features – particularly the bangles and earrings go cling and clang. It makes me realise that Indian families indeed live in DTS settings.
A shortened serial, a play shot on camera, Super Nani is melodramatic kitch; it never really becomes a cinema.
Rating: 1.5/5 (of which 1 is for Rekha for stepping out of her confinement)