The ApunKaChoice movie review of 'Mardaani'. Dear Bajirao Singham, you’ve had enough of bashing the bad guys. Now make way for Shivani Shivaji Roy. Her ‘majhi’ is ‘satakli’ differently. Slap-happy, trigger-happier, loose of tongue, taut in resolve, this Mumbai Crime Branch police inspector may not be the beefcake to give the baddies wet pants at the very first sight, but she’s got the grit and gumption to gut the wily lawbreakers. In her crosshairs is the kingpin of the child sex trafficking racket.
Yash Raj Film’s Mardaani is thankfully shorn of all the frills and pomp the banner is known to swaddle its stories with. The film’s plot is quite credible and the exploits of its female protagonist doesn’t always call for suspension of disbelief.
The film tells the pertinent tale of a gutsy female cop (Rani Mukerji) who sets out to find a kidnapped girl Pyaari (Priyanka Sharma) and unearths a sordid drug and sex trafficking racket with its smooth talking kingpin Walt (Tahir Bhasin) holed somewhere in Delhi. Shivani vows to free Pyaari from the clutches of this creepy racketeer within 30 days. A herculean task that the Lady Mardaani with her gun and gaalis is fully up to.
Director Pradeep Sarkar mostly hits all the right check marks in Mardaani. After the overtly weepy Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and the faux cool Lafangey Parindey, Sarkar takes care this time not to make a hash of the story by screenwriter Gopi Puthran. His effort is amply buttressed by cinematographer Artur Zurawski’s earnest camera, and editor Sanjib Datta’s sharp and neat scissors.
The film does careen a tad too much into drama at the fag end and for a while it seems Sarkar is out to squander all the effort, but thankfully, Mardaani regains its foothold despite the somewhat slipshod finale and winds up as a film that merits a watch.
Rani Mukerji is the film’s dynamo. She takes care not to overplay her hand, but makes her no-nonsense character Shivani Shivaji Roy direct, upfront, sharp-tongued, and yet not without the feminine softness that comes through in the few scenes she has with her onscreen hubby (Jishu Sengupta).
The soft-voiced Tahir Raj Bhasin plays the role of a young, unassuming sex racketeer with restraint and Zurawski’s camera and lighting give him a dark, sinister aura.
Thankfully, there aren’t any songs to steal your attention away from the cat-and-mouse game unraveling between the cop and the kingpin. The background score is considerate towards your eardrums, and the pace is brisk enough to keep you riveted throughout the running time. And yes, there’s also an interesting twist in the tale.