Mammo (1994) ★★★★★

Mammo is an old widow comes to live with her sister and grandson. The movie portrays how she looks up to the future despite a grim tragic past.

Generally, we start the review with a summary of the central plot. But doing that would be an injustice to the movie Mammo. After all, if we put in plain words, it is nothing but few excerpts from the central character’s stay in Mumbai. You know the drill – eating, watching movies with family, facing small problems with red tape, familial issues – nothing that is out of the world, too emotional or too innovative.

At the same time, the whole movie carries a feeling so deep that the audience feel connected to the whole narrative, as if living it. Indeed, director Shyam Benegel executed his masterpiece Mammo flawlessly.


The movie revolves around the story of Mehmooda Begum Anwar Ali, known by the name “Mammo”. To be precise, it tells the events of her life when she comes to stay with her sister Fayyazi. After Fayyazi lost her daughter and son-in-law to an accident, she lives in a small Mumbai flat with her grandson, Riyaz.

The movie is almost entirely played in flashback. It takes us down the memory lanes of Riyaz and Fayazzi as they fondly remember days spent with Mammo. In the start of her (rather unwelcomed) stay, Riyaz felt uncomfortable and irritated with an unwanted guest in house. Mammo is also a story of the bond which grows with time between Riyaz and her ‘unwanted guest’. The bond that is not of two relatives but of a mother and her son.

Mammo is life. At times, it also feels as a story of a hero, when Mammo fights for what she believes is right. However, in just the next scene, we are brought to reality as the same Mammo agrees to bribe to save herself from extradition. Also, there is a tragic past and sadness and hurt. And birthday parties! As we mentioned earlier, this is not a story, this movie is built on small moments and emotions – not a climax!

What works

First, it is the acting and performances which win over the audience. Farida Jalal, Surekha Sikri, Himani Shivpuri, Vallabh Vyas – are all known faces and they have done a fabulous job here. The most mediocre of the events and scenes become memorable thanks to their performances. Especially, Amit Phalke who played the role of young Riyaz needs special mention who leaves a mark amid so many acting heavy-weights.

Second, it is the environment of the movie which comes from triad – screenplay, cinematography and sets. The movie captures Mumbai in its true spirits. Small conversations with taxi drivers, slum, school, bus and local police office – everything is captured with ample detail to attention. The movement of actors and supporting casts is apt.

Third, it is the dialogues. Now, you may be thinking that dialogues are very cleverly written. Far from that, the dialogues are plain unimaginative – just like our conversations in daily life. As an illustration, when Riyaz storms off from a hotel room, he does not deliver an emotional heavy monologue. This is a welcome change from the regular Bollywood which uses such moments for delivering long monologues.

Finally, it is the story itself, which we have not credited so far. Saadat Hasan Manto, after all, also wrote only plain simple events of life. Khalid Mohamed of Fiza-fame has written the story. Actually, I wonder if it was his first work for a feature? Not sure, though.

What could have been better

Without a doubt, privatizations quality! Not only that the scenes are not always well-lit, it is also a problem that camera quality that is used is sub-par. For instance, the scene in the police office look too dull. In particular, the bad combination reflects when the ‘broker’ introduces himself to Mammo and Riyaz.

Granted that the budgets are affected in such movies which pursued quality movie-making rather than star-presence. Also agreed that the financial earning of such movies are repeatedly very low. We know rights of few fabulous movies being sold to OTT platform at mere 500 thousands. Still, it makes us at sad to see so much of effort and time went into making a masterpiece which cannot be fully enjoyed today.

In contrast, many movies of 1930s of Hollywood which are in black and white still look fabulous with HD prints because the camera and technology was good.


We consider it a must watch movie. Despite it being a 26+ years old movie, much of it holds relevance today as well. Further, it has a family-friendly story, which helps.

At the same time, we warn the audience for a sub-par viewing experience, especially as we are now accustomed to high definition. Yet another downside is lack of lovely songs or romantic background stories. Beyond these minor inconveniences, it is, and will remain, a masterpiece!

AglaPlay Verdict: Must watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 5.0/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~130 minutes
Writer: Khalid Mohamed, Shama Zaidi
Director: Shyam Benegel
Cast: Farida Jalal, Surekha Sikri, Amit Phalke
IMDb: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes: -
Available On: Epic On

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Ek Doctor Ki Maut ★★★★ Review of Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990). The movie is is inspired from real life of an Indian doctor in 1980s.


Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Death of a Doctor) is about an Indian doctor who discovers vaccine for a dreaded disease. However, this astonishing feat is looked down upon by his fellow practitioners, government and others. Instead of being praised and honored for the cure, the doctor receives constant humiliation in media and the society.

Now, does the doctor ever attains the recognition that he deserves? Or his findings were indeed worthless as claimed by everyone else? Loosely based on the challenges faced by Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay, the movie makes the audience feel the helplessness and dissatisfaction felt by the protagonist.

What works

The top selling point of the movie is its veracity and genuineness. At, we always values the detailing and simplicity over the paraphernalia. The movie scores a perfect ten on this aspect. Especially the sets are modest, and fit the background and India of 1980s perfectly. The wardrobe in its plainness and humility adds the feeling of authenticity throughout the movie.

All actors have given an exemplary performance in Ek Doctor Ki Maut. Well, nothing less is expected form a cast of actors like Pankaj Kapoor, Shabana Azmi and Irrfan. The supporting actors also excel – Deppa, Vijeyendra and Anil – everyone leaves a lasting impression with the performances. For example, Vijeyendra dons the expressions to perfection in every shot which shows a financially successful doctor, close family friend, a jealous colleague – all at the same time.

Screenplay and direction is tight. The movie flows easily and effortlessly. This is an attempt to truthfully recreate the reality. Writing and direction of Tapan Sinha ensures that the end product will be remembered for time to come. (Then again, the same element might have negatively impacted the producers financially).

What could have been better

As we mentioned earlier in this article, Ek Doctor Ki Maut movie is a sincere effort to recreate the realities of Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s life. In fact it is ironic that the movie fails exactly where it excels.

Indeed, the story-telling is honest, intense and well-paced. On the other hand, the same sincerity may bore a regular movie watcher, and may make several to stop watching the movie in mid. The movie lacks flashy or over-emotional moments or an ‘attractive’ star-cast. For this reason, it may become tough for average audience to make through the whole movie.


Regardless of our reservations due to unostentatious presentation of Ek Doctor Ki Maut, we loved the movie and we believe that most of out readers would agree with our rating of 4 stars for the movie.

In summary, we strongly recommend it to be watched. If not for entertainment, watch it to get an idea of how peer-jealousy, politics and red tape kills innovation, esp. when much of it remains relevant in today’s world as well.

AglaPlay Verdict: Do watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4.0/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~120 minutes
Writer-Director: Tapan Sinha
Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi, Irrfan & Others
IMDb: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: -
Available On: Epic On

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