After seeing a lot of social media chatter around the Netflix movie, “Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway”, I decided to check out what all the high praise was about.
The film, helmed by Bollywood legend Rani Mukherji, has been on the streaming platform’s SA Top 10 list this past week. I suspect that its impact on audiences around the globe has been similar.
Based on a true story, this drama centres on housewife Debika Chatterjee (Mukherji) and her family in Stavanger, Norway.
Her husband Aniruddha (Anirban Bhattacharya) is the breadwinner. He has a good job. And his biggest preoccupation is with obtaining citizenship in the country.
Meanwhile, Debika has to take care of all the household chores while raising their toddler son Shubha and their five-month-old daughter, Suchi.
The movie opens with the family being observed by two employees of the Norwegian Child Welfare Services.
Despite being unsettled by their presence, Debika, staying true to the long-standing customs of Indians where guests are treated as family, does just that.
However, the cultural differences such as an Indian husband not getting involved in helping around at home or with the children and where the mother feeds her children with her hand, raises flags with the visitors.
And, unbeknown to Debika, she ends up being labelled as an unfit mother. As such, her children are removed from the home, which sets in motion a drawn-out custody battle that ends up becoming a tense political situation between India and Norway.
Powerful themes of gender-based violence, prejudice and corruption propel the story.
And Mukherji delivers a tour de force performance. She takes the viewer on an emotional journey as she transforms from a helpless and desperate mother to one who is unrelenting in her pursuit of justice.
This brilliantly executed film tugs at the heart and, in so doing, moves the viewer to tears.
Definitely worth watching!