Star cast: Rohit Roy, Rituparna Sengupta, Suchitra Krishnamoorthy, Gulshan Grover.

Plot: Rohit Roy marries Rituparna but she accuses him of domestic violence and marital rape. Will she be able to prove her allegations in court?

What’s Good: The theme and the courtroom drama in parts.

What’s Bad: The ending; the treatment of the serious issue of marital rape.

Verdict: This court battle won’t have many takers.

Loo break: The scenes of the TV chat show.

Shaila Films Production’s Mittal V/s Mittal (A) is about marital rape. Karan Mittal (Rohit Roy), a filthy rich businessman, woos Mitali (Rituparna Sengupta), a middle-class girl, after an initial altercation with her. Karan gets married to Mitali, much to the joy of her mother (Reema Lagoo) and annoyance of his own mother (Dolly Thakore). The father (Anjan Shrivastava) of Mitali, like Karan Mittal’s father (Amar Talwar), is a henpecked husband.

Soon after marriage, Mitali realises that Karan is not what he held himself out ot be. She finds him to be a drunkard and a lustful man who rapes her every night. On the first night itself, he injures her very badly for having insulted him before marriage.

Humiliated by her status-conscious mother-in-law and physically and mentally abused by her husband, Mitali walks out of the marriage and decides to drag her husband to court for marital rape. She appoints a lawyer, Karuna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy), and serves a notice to Karan who too appoints a renowned lawyer, Salunkhe (Gulshan Grover), to argue his case.

Karan uses a lot of unfair means in the court to show that Mitali had married him for his money and that she had extra-marital relations with his best friend who even reveals in the court intimate details about Mitali, which had been shared by him with friends. Is Mitali able to prove her allegations in court? Or does she lose the case she herself had filed? These questions are answered in the climax.

Karan Razdan’s story is bold and quite novel for the Hindi screen but his screenplay leaves plenty to be desired. There seems to be a covert attempt to not show Karan Mittal as a completely black character because of which Mitali is also shown to be uncooperative in the bedroom. Because of this, Mitali’s point of marital rape doesn’t come out as forcefully as it should have, to create the desired impact. It is because the allegation is not established very strongly that the audience neither experiences a high in the courtroom drama when Mitali scores a brownie point nor a low when Karan, by means unfair, proves that his wife bears a loose moral character. Also, the revelation in the court by Mitali about what happened on their wedding night in their bedroom has been given a massive build-up but it hardly has the desired effect. The last witness whom Mitali’s lawyer uses in court hardly proves Mitali’s serious allegation about marital rape. It does prove that Karan is guilty of some other wrong but surely not marital rape. And yet, it is presented as the trump card in the arguments in court. The entire TVchat show episode, on which Karan and Mitali come alongwith their respective lawyers, is a childish piece of writing. Similary, the scene showing a meeting of the troubled women whose marriages have failed, is quite shoddy.

Although the Mittal family is shown to be a very rich family, the bungalow they live in is tiny and even their standard of living does not befit a family running a business empire.

Overall, while the story has novelty value, the screenplay dilutes that considerably. Karan Razdan’s dialogues are okay.

Rohit Roy does quite well but he doesn’t have it in him to play the hero because he lacks star value. Rituparna Sengupta does a very fine job and lives her role. Suchitra Krish- namoorthy puts in a lively and spirited performance and leaves a mark. Gulshan Grover is excellent as the defence lawyer. His constant reference to herbal tea is an enjoyable punch-line. Reema Lagoo and Anjan Shrivastava are natural to the core. Dolly Thakore has good lines to mouth because of which her average acting seems to get enhanced. Amar Talwar is efficient. Irawati Harshe leaves a mark. Reshma Modi and the others provide the necessary support.

Karan Razdan’s direction is fair. The film takes up a new point but the resolution of the problem tackled is hardly what the build-up of the drama promises. Music (Shamir Tandon) is okay. Cinematography and other technical aspects are alright.

On the whole, Mittal V/s Mittal is a dull show and, given its horrifyingly poor start, will be unable to make any mark at the box-office.

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