In the world of Bajirao Singham and Chulbul Pandey, Shivani Shivaji Roy has come as a breath of fresh air. ` Mardaani` does not have Rani Mukerji play a tomboy – it is a woman doing her bit to fight in a man`s world.
Rani has been acknowledged as a fantastic actor. In that regard, she has very little competition in the industry. The fact that she is possibly the best has been established well with `Mardaani`. The film deals with the difficult subject of human-trafficking and Director Pradeep Sarkar tackles the issue very carefully.
Rani plays a Mumbai crime branch officer, Shivani who is a hard-bitten cop with a mission to set things right. She is not afraid to bend the rules, to nab criminals and is respected by her fellows. She gets involved in the investigation of busting a sex-trafficking racket when a girl close to her goes missing. She has to follow the trail fast, as anyone involved is getting killed fast. The investigation leads her to Delhi where she goes into the nitty-gritties of the city to nab the elusive `Walt`, played by Tahir Raj Bhasin.
Tahir was a revelation of sorts. The minute you set eyes on his character, you begin to loathe him. He has powerfully played a young urban villain, without any cheesy lines. Realistically, he plays a suave mastermind that makes it challenging for Shivani to nab him on every step of the way.
`Mardaani` is also a proof of how good supporting cast can make a world of a difference to the feel of the movie. Even though the flick is centred around Rani`s character, the smaller roles have provided the much-needed realistic feel of the film.
Coming back to the lead actress, Rani is a favourite of Pradeep Sarkar. She had the pivotal role in `Laaga Chunari Mein Daag`, even though the movie bombed. The Chopra Bahu has worked hard for this role and she looks fit as a fiddle. She has learnt the guerilla martial art krav maga to look her part and she literally packs a punch in all the action scenes. She has not been styled to look like a man, she looks like all normal women do. She is not all glamour, nor is she made to look sans make-up. It is a role that women will relate to.
Inspiring as it is, the flick does has a few problems. One is despite the realism, there are a few dialogues that are overly dramatic and unnecessary. The background score is good but could have been much more enthused to build-up a climax and set the tone of the movie.
The lack of absurd over-the-top action is a relief, as watching cars fly and glass break in every second scene of a movie has taken a toll on the quality of cinema that an average movie-goer has to go through. This flick is much more grounded and makes a thoughtful statement about the issue of trafficking and abduction.
Like `No One Killed Jessica`, the movie wakes you up to the injustice of the world and to the underbelly of a crime that is horrendous to even think about. Sarkar paints a great picture of our law keepers and he sets an example of a woman police officer with Shivani. The character has the prospect of becoming a role model and even the audience was impressed by the movie which has been made as crisp as possible with good, if not great, editing.
If you are tired of the nonsensical action, and over-the-top drama, `Mardaani` is the film for you. The movie has the power to invoke thought and subjects you to question the ultimately ineffective candle light vigils that need to now metamorphose to a more powerful resistance to lawless cruelty and nip crime at its bud.
Cheers for a great attempt at quality cinema.
Watch the inspiring anthem of 'Mardaani':