Though not much has been written and said about MITTAL V/S MITTAL in the weeks preceding the release of the film, whatever limited promotion that one saw was centred around 'marital rape'. The question is - 'Is this actually the first film to be highlighting the issue of marital abuse?'.
Not many moons ago, it was Preity Zinta who was seen in an atrocious VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH where she had to go through a 'naag pariksha' to prove her 'innocence' after getting all bruised by her husband. There was another failed attempt called PROVOKED where Aishwarya Rai could hardly invite much sympathy from audience despite playing the role of a troubled woman who had to take extreme measures to end an abusive relationship. And now Rituparna Sengupta, an acclaimed actor from Bengal who is trying to make her presence felt in Bollywood, has taken a relatively less violent route by filing a case against her very husband - Rohit Roy - after coming up with a loud cry of 'Enough is enough'.
That's MITTAL V/S MITTAL for you which doesn't really take a voyeuristic route as last week's LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA but does bring in a filmy element as it enters the bedroom of this couple where marital rape is a routine. Now if only the film was set in the 70s or 80s, men like Ranjeet and Shakti Kapoor would have been entrusted with the 'job'. However, this is 2010 and hence the differentiation between an on-screen hero or a villain has fast diminished. This is where Rohit Roy comes into picture.
Once again, the question is - 'Is Rohit Roy the first person to be doing that?' Well, it may surprise many but the fact is that he actually has a predecessor who is none other than Sanjay Dutt. Surprised? Well, one can't blame the reader because hardly anyone would have heard this film called MEHBOOBA which released a year or so back after rotting in the cans for more than half a decade.
The initial plot of MITTAL V/S MITTAL is just the same as MEHBOOBA. Just like Sanjay Dutt who catches fancy for Manisha Koirala, makes indecent advances towards her, marries her to get his revenge and then deserts her, Rohit Roy too follows a similar pattern. However, rather than deserting her, he keeps her at home and abuses her every night. And yes, for arguments sake, the abuse scenes were also evidenced in Nana Patekar - Manisha Koirala starrer AGNISAKSHI.
The point here is, MITTAL V/S MITTAL, for all its claims of originality, bears quite a few similarities from the films of the past and it is primarily the court scenes where all the drama materializes. Yes, all of this does have a filmy touch to it but then the performances of Suchitra Krishnamurthy and Gulshan Grover, who play the respective lawyers, ensure that these scenes manage to hook the audience to screen. Rituparna and Rohit also do their bit and though they are challenged by average production values and a rather dry subject, they manage to keep their head high.
In the past, director Karan Razdan has been 'credited' with directing films like HAWAS, GIRLFRIEND andSOUTEN. Titillation is a common factor amongst each of these films and the sensibilities/treatment pretty much get carried forward to MITTAL V/S MITTAL as well. However, the time period when the aforementioned films released was during the first half of the current decade while today, we are pretty much moving into the new decade. That is where I rest my 'case'. Pun intended!