Shivani Roy (Rani MukerjI), a senior inspector of the crime branch lives with her husband, Dr Bikram Roy (Jisshu Sengupta), and her niece Meera. A respected officer and clever at picking up hidden clues and fearless in confronting hardened criminals, Shivani takes on a the case of a missing girl. A teenage girl, Pyari, is kidnapped by the trafficking mafia and they smuggle the girl outside the city. The mafia kingpin, Walt (Tahir Bhasin), calls Shivani and wants to know what she wants, so she will stop chasing them. Shivani asks him to let Pyari free, but he won’t because Pyari has seen too much. Shivani challenges him that she will catch him in 30 days…
Addressing the subject of child trafficking and sexual exploitation, Mardaani succeeds to quite a length. However, the noble aspirations fall short here for a gamut of reasons.
Fashioned as a cat and mouse thriller chase between the cops and the elusive villain, the premise comes with a sense of predictability attached to it. Considering the relevance of the subject matter at hand and having a strong female lead in the central character, Mardaani had the potential to break new ground but unfortunately fails to do much. It suffers from a screenplay that is frenetic in pace but repetitive in nature. Though, the no nonsense attitude of the film does permeate to the viewer and coming from a studio like YRF, it’s a welcome change.
There are no frills attached here. The lack of songs and the absence of any unnecessary romantic track etc are exclusions which lend a nice pace to the proceedings. The film clocks in a crisp sub 2 hour length. However, the usual tropes of the genre like car chases, tracking down the villain and an all too familiar climax pull the movie down. In fact, the execution of the climax is another example of Disneyfied violence by YRF studio (earlier seen in the climax ofIshaqzaade). Quite a let down.
Rani Mukerji is a proven actress as far as her abilities are concerned and her performance here is solid, if too controlled in parts. Jisshu Sengupta does not have much to do but the casting of Anil George is a nice move and he fits right into the role as a cunning Delhi advocate running the trade. However, it’s the young Tahir Bhasin as the ‘Breaking Bad’ loving, smooth talking, brash but calculated arch villain who leaves an indelible impression. He is the perfect anti-thesis to the straight talking Inspector Shivani played by Rani.
Easily, Mardaani is Pradeep Sarkar’s best effort after Parineeta though nowhere near as good as it could have been. In fact, pondering on the movie after a few hours, you feel there was a good movie in there somewhere but it got lost along the way…
Hindi, Thriller, Drama, Color