Mardaani Hindi Movie Review
Rani Mukerji used expletives in No One Killed Jessica too. But the ones that she uses in Mardaani are of an another level altogether. This is the first time she has played a character like Shivani Shivaji Roy, and I don't remember any other actress playing a similar character in quite some time. Now, that's about all that is 'new' in Mardaani. In all honesty, this Pradeep Sarkar film has nothing in its storyline that you may have not seen earlier. And I am not talking about its distinct inspiration from Taken.
The film is about Shivani, brave officer from Mumbai Crime Branch. At work she leads from the front and commands respect among colleagues and off work she has a family that includes a husband and a niece. Things change for Shivani when she takes up the case of a missing girl - Pyari - who she treats like a daughter. On trail of kidnappers, Shivani moves from Mumbai to Delhi and not only unearths a massive human trafficking chain but a political nexus.
Delhi and the politico-underworld nexus has been dealt with in many films. Quite a few in this year itself! Mardaani does not do anything extraordinary to stand out, expect having a female police officer as the protagonist. The problem is that Sarkar, director of women-centric dramas such as Parineeta and Laga Chunari Mein Daag, is more accustomed to integrating romance into his story than grit. As he ventures into unknown territory there are multiple things that do not work for his film.
The screenplay moves fast during the first half and also makes an impact. Scenes of kidnapping and exploitation of girls startle. The problems with the screenplay start in the second half when the film becomes more about the heroics of this female inspector than logical progression. Subtlety goes for a toss as Rani turns into Singham. Thankfully with a less jarring background score!
Among things that works is humour, which adds to Rani's character. She cusses, kicks and screams apart from cracking superb one-liners.
Unfortunately, despite some great lines the dialogue writing is rather inconsistent. At times it stays real, at times goes over the board!
As an actress Rani finds challenge and delivers. She exudes the personality she plays. Tahir Bhasin gets a dream character. He plays an English-speaking crook who addresses the protagonist as 'Ma'am' and comes across as menacing. He makes an impact and is scary. Jishnu Sengupta is terribly wasted.
The action is real but heroism looks staged. Lack of realistic grit would probably be a reason why Mardaani never comes across as convincing enough, despite Rani's performance. Mardaani is not half as hard hitting as you would have expected from a film dealing with the subject that Mardaani does. So much in the sphere has been explored in Hindi films and so much more could yet be explored.
Having said that, irrespective of all it's cliches Mardaani serves well towards Rani's career graph. A definite watch if you are a Rani fan, Mardaani is just an above average revenge-action cop flick.