Man, what a woman!

Man, what a woman!

Man, what a woman!

 Hindi (A) ¬¬¬¬
Cast: Rani Mukerji,Tahir Raj Bhasin
Director: Pradeep Sarkar

The tinsel-town grapevine has it that Mardaani is Aditya Chopra’s wedding gift to Rani Mukerji. She could hardly have asked for anything better than a film with a (literally) hard-hitting protagonist, a social message and a director with a penchant for bringing the women in his film to the fore. 

Mardaani is miles away from Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta or Laaga Chunri Mein Daag in its tonality and style. Devoid of any songs except the Mardaani anthem, which too is played at the fag end, the film is, in most parts, a tour-de-force that takes you on a roller coaster ride with an emotional splash at the end. 

Rani Mukerji is as hard-nosed as she could possibly get as Mumbai Police Crime Branch senior inspector Shivani Roy. When she is not roughing up goons or stopping crime, she is taking care of her husband, and doting on her orphaned niece and Pyari, a girl of similar age as her niece, whom she rescued from being sold. 

It is when Pyari gets abducted and trafficked that the film’s tagline of “Every war is personal” comes to life, and Mrs Roy embarks on a journey to unmask and bring to task the mastermind (Tahir Raj Bhasin) behind the racket: a Breaking Bad fan who likes to go by the name Walt.

Mardaani has a story that engages, but without its actors — especially Walt and those close to him — the film could have been one tedious tribute to the man in women, and Rani’s histrionics would have seemed a little too hysterical. 

In the end, it’s a good thing that the film’s censor rating is ‘A’, because otherwise the director would have had to tone down or cut out scenes that actually make the audience uncomfortable enough to care.