Director Pradeep Sarkar tackles a sensitive yet highly provocative subject in his latest Bollywood film, Mardaani. Receiving a whopping 15 crore (which is around 1496264.08 pounds) in its three day box office, Mardaani seems to have had a positive outcome, making it a film not to miss.
Mardaani focuses on the subject of child trafficking in India. The film follows the cold fact of underground criminals who abduct young girls and make a business from their innocence. Crime branch officer, Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherji) lets no criminals get in the way. As a dedicated officer she puts in her full effort to solve the case and find these criminals. Living with her partner Dr.Bikram (Jisshu Sengupta) and niece, Meera, Shivani’s long duty keeps her away from them most of the day. Yet, local young orphan, Pyri (Priyanka Sharma) becomes the criminal’s latest target. Pyri is kidnapped and consulted into this horrific business, becoming one of many girls as a victim of child trafficking. Shivani and her crime branch team discover this news and begin their search for the mafia in charge.
Sarkar creates an edge with this film, where the hardcore reality is vigorously proven. There’s no mindless item number songs nor openly clothed actresses being objectified, it’s a simple yet truthful story of the underground drama that goes on in India. The narrative takes us through the stages of this operation, where Shivani truly fulfills her role as an inspector. She lets nothing stand in the way of her search and makes sure every criminal in the way gets a taste of their own medicine. Indeed we see Pyri face terrible situations where Sarkar doesn’t hide what actually happens to these girls. The film jumps from Shivani’s hunt-down to Pyri’s struggles surviving in these locked conditions being sold to different countries.
Mardaani becomes this cat-mouse chase to the criminal, Walt (Tahir Raj Bhasin) who goes after the main character’s name in the American drama ‘Breaking Bad’. Walt is always eating and wasting money, he portrayed as a careless youth whom is selfish and heartless. The fact that he’s young is an eye-opener, as majority of Bollywood films tend to be lenient towards a specific stereotype of the villain. Walt doesn’t exactly meet our expectations yet that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fit the role well. He manages to prove his cold heart and selfish mindset through his heartless actions and ruthless dialogue.
Rani Mukherji is ultimately the star of the film who brings the script to life. Her powerful mindset and brave persona gives us hope for Pyri’s life. Mukherji effortlessly transforms into a trustworthy cop whom doesn’t give up. Her abrupt replies and calm dialect is mesmorising, where we applaud her courage. It’s clear that’s she not afraid of anything and being a female inspector, she raises the woman-power not letting any stereotypes get in the way. There are times where Shivani is faced with harsh decisions leading to bumps on the way, though the fact that she strives to find out who’s in charge truly shows her passion for her job. Rani as a trained professional, fights for justice and shows how women are just as strong as men. The way she analyses scenes and plans carefully proves her intelligence, which pays off at the end. One of my favourite scenes has to be when she continuously slaps a rioter whilst reading out the laws.
Surprisingly, I found over at IMDB that Mardaani is a remake of Taken (2008). The film does have a few similarities, yet it manages to implement its own twists and characters to make it slightly different.
Overall, Mardaani is a film to watch. It portrays the rupture of India’s society, where authoritative figures in politics still undergo selfish treaties. Ministers and high chief officers whom give a hand in these businesses ultimately ruin India, giving the criminals a chance to continue these disastrous plots. Without power they would be nothing, yet freely thinking they’re in charge with support and ‘numbers’ from high line people, they neglect the law.
Mardaani needs to be watched by many, especially those in India, as a change needs to be approached now. Child trafficking and kidnapping is happening as we speak and if these businesses are not shut down then there’s a high chance they will grow and expand.
Rani Mukherji brings the film to life where her wisdom is highlighted and as an Indian Police Officer she accomplishes her duties. The film provides that nitty-gritty drama together with plights of action and explicit emotion.
My Rating: 9/10
Written by: Meera Darji