Cast: Rani Mukerji, Tahir Raj Bhasin
Direction: Pradeep Sarkar
Production: Aditya Chopra
Duration: 2 hours 33 minutes
Story: A braveheart lady inspector from the crime branch stumbles on a sex-trafficking racket. Does she succeed in bringing the culprits to book?
Review: It’s raining fearless cops on the Bollywood marquee. Last week, it was Singham, who, in his khakis, returned to take the pants off corrupt politicians and god-men. And this week, it is Lady Singham or Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji), looking dapper, albeit briefly, in a police inspector’s uniform, who wreaks havoc in Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani.
The film claims to be inspired by true events. However, for cinema-buffs, it’s easier to trace the inspiration to several Hollywood thrillers, including the Liam Neeson one, Taken (2008). Like Neeson, a former CIA operative hunting down his daughter who is kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery, Rani is a current-day crime branch inspector searching for a teenager who goes missing from a local Mumbai shelter. The young girl Pyaari (Priyanka Sharma) is someone whom Shivani treats like her own niece. Her sole objective in the film is to track down the men who have kidnapped the orphan and blow the lid off their sex racket.
As she engages in a thrilling encounter with the baddie Karan Rastogi (Tahir Raj Bhasin) in Mumbai and later in Delhi, you can sit back and enjoy the action. While there is nothing in the plot that you haven’t seen before, it is still watchable for the superb performance of Rani, whose amber-coloured eyes breathe fire when she is packing those punches! And her unabashed use of Hindi expletives like ‘chut**’, ‘madar*****’ should work with the lowest common denominator. The frequent *MCBCs* is the obvious reason for the adults-only tag.
This movie could have continuous recall had the pace been racier. And if you could also buy into the emotional tracks between Shivani and her husband, her niece or her ward. Also, Rani is the only member of the cast with star value. The rest of the actors, including the English-speaking young goon, are inconsequential.