Rani Mukerji as Senior Inspector of Crime Branch, Shivani Shivaji Roy, is fierce, fantastic, and fearless in “Mardaani”, social problem focused, action packed film, directed by Pradeep Sarkar and produced by Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films.
Shivani is in hot pursuit of a teenage girl whom she has rescued once and has come to love her as her own daughter. Clever in picking up clues, Shivani carefully seeks out her sources from the underworld. She treats one of her sources to a lavish meal and he offers crucial information, in turn. She thanks him saying, “mutton aur kolhapuri ke badle me achhi information dee re tune” and he responds, “bacchi ke liye dee hai, khane ke lliye nahi”. Now it is up to Shivani to follow the trail and unmask the moneyed kingpins spearheading the brisk business of human sex trafficking.
Shivani’s fearless ferocity to catch these nasty warlords of the worst kind of trade, is accompanied with some sleek dialogues. Walt, a grand mafia of sex trafficking tries to get Shivani to get off her pursuit of him. She tells him “mein gaanv me peda hui thi. mere ghar ke paas ek jungle tha aur usme bahot janvar rahte the, isliye janvar ki muje achhi pahechan hai.” When she catches Walt, he says nonchalantly that he can bribe people and get out of jail. She beats him and he asks if she will do encounter (a word used when a criminal is killed in police encounter, in India). She is equally nonchalant and responds “jab koi ek marta hai to use encounter bolte hai, aur jab pachas log marte hai to use public outrage bolte hai”, cleverly setting the stage for what is to come next.
Rani’s performance is superb, alternating with emotional intensity, as she sees her family getting caught in the cross-fire, and fierce determination to catch the dons of the underworld and save the girls kidnapped by them. The film is dealing with an issue of great societal significance. India is the world’s largest hub for sex trafficking, with over 40,000 children abducted to ply the trade. Every 8 minutes a girl child goes missing. This film has action, mystery, and stays focused on its goal and does not get sidetracked with romantic interludes or glitzy songs. Acting by everyone is perfect including Tahir Bhasin, Sanjay Taneja, and Jisshu Sengupta. But it is Rani Mukerjie who carries the film, plunging straight into business. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent, I rate it as 4.9.