Pradeep Sarkar who is the director of films such as Parineeta, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Lafangey Parindey unexpectedly leaped into the dark world in his new outing. Likewise, no one would’ve ever imagined Rani Mukerji having proved her mettle in diverse characters to portray a tough talking cop in a violent movie. MARDAANI, which teams Sarkar and Mukerji together after Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, goes beyond the glitz, glam and fluffy entertainers synonymous with Bollywood, drawing your attention to the dark and murky world of human trafficking. Tackling a relevant topic, Sarkar makes sure he stays faithful to the essence by not deviating to unwanted tracks, till a formulaic climax takes over. The premise of the film, first! Shivani played Rani Mukerji, Senior Inspector, Crime Branch, Mumbai Police, sets out to confront the mastermind behind the mafia, which makes the mistake of kidnapping a young girl, Pyari played by Priyanka Sharma, out of the city. Pyari is close to Shivani and her family and in her obsessive hunt for the girl; she trips into the world of decadence and debauchery, cruel desires and exploitation. What follows is a cat and mouse game between a fearless cop and a young and ruthless mafia kingpin played by Tahir Raj Bhasin.
The cop in Mardaani is as real as real can be. Sure, the plotline may bear similarities with the Liam Neeson starrer Taken, but Sarkar pilots clear of duplicating the Hollywood movie or for that matter. Mardaani grabs your attention from the commencement and never relents. Wadding the proceedings with several intense episodes, MARDAANI eventually becomes the good versus evil fight as the protagonist makes her way to the baddie behind the baddies. The simmering rage of the protagonist, as the mystery behind the kidnapping extends, is exemplified convincingly, while the director also incorporates ample emotional baggage that would make you connect with the on-screen characters. You cannot turn a blind eye to the blemishes. Sarkar knows the necessity of keeping the thriller moving in those 113 minutes, but there are times in the second half specifically when the film slows a little, before the protagonist zeroes on the kingpin. Sarkar steers clear of graphic violence, avoiding excessive blood and gore. The background score by Julius Packiam is perfect and the composer makes sure he doesn’t go overboard. The DoP by Artur Zurawski depicts the gritty environ with outstanding visuals, closing in tight on the character in dramatic moments.
Rani strikes a true to life, forceful pose and also lends her character the much-needed intensity, strength and dignity. The agony that drives her forward is visible on her face and is one of the prime reasons that make this story easy to swallow. Tahir Raj Bhasin, who portrays the antagonist, is intimidating. Despite being pitted against a powerhouse performer like Rani, Tahir makes sure he leaves an ineradicable impression. Mardaani is important, powerful and inspirational with a top notch performance by Rani Mukerji. It is worth a watch! A 7/10 from us.