The khakhi had always been male bastion until the ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ moment finally happened in our films, when Rani Mukherji came, she saw and she conquered sans the mandatory one-liners or catchphrases. This ‘songless’ film from the Yashraj Films stable directed by Pradeep Sarkar clearly marks a new beginning in our film industry, which hopefully gets emulated and taken to higher echelons by other directors.
To begin with, the true success of a film is when there’s pin-drop silence in an auditorium right from its first frame to the interval and then the same silence prevails post interval till the end credits roll. Methinks it’s an achievement for every film worth its reel, rather than eyeing just the much-coveted 100-crore club.
The story is as simple as any ‘Saavdhaan India’, ‘Crime Patrol’ or even a ‘CID’ episode dishes out every prime time on TV, where a cop traces a lost teenager girl trapped in human trafficking. Writer Gopi Puthran makes this cat-and-mouse story engaging with a well-written screenplay. What transpires on screen compels you to root for Shivani Shivaji Roy, the Crime Branch Inspector essayed by Rani Mukherji.
Debutant actor Tahir Bhasin plays the antagonist, who is an avowed Breaking Bad fan who insists on calling himself ‘Walt’ is a terrific actor and is a complete show-stealer. Add to it Anil George as Vakil saab and you have a perfect recipe for a gripping film.
Nevertheless, the first few minutes of Mardaani unabashedly plays to the gallery, especially the scene where Shivani stops a local goon and teaches him law. The cuss words are sprinkled generously seem to be there just for the effect, making you wonder why a woman abuses so much while the men keep their tongues kosher.
Furthermore, the scene where Tahir Bhasin ‘checks out’ the girls, asking them to reveal their naked bodies by doing a Ranbeeristic towel drop seems to be stretched to the limit of voyeurism. Director saab, we get the point what your ‘Walt’ is at, so why not leave it there and respect the audience’s intelligence?
Well, once you overlook these minor hiccups, you’re in for a great ‘crime branch thriller’ time, last experienced in Aamir Khan starrer Sarfarosh, which is easily one of the best cop films we’ve ever watched. In a nutshell, Mardaani ‘kick’s off with a ‘Sarfarosh’istic confidence that makes Singhams and Dabbangs look like tom cats who repeat the same ol’ clichés. Way to go, Rani Mardaani!