Someone I know had a problem with the title. Why mardaani? A word that roughly translates to ‘man-like’. Why relegate bravery, strength, power to men and call a woman ‘man-like’ when she displays those traits? There has to be a better word no?
Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani comes after two box office bombs Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Lafangey Parindey and let’s put it simply - there’s no going wrong with this.
Shivani Shivaji Roy (Mukherji), Mumbai Police- Crime Branch, is a no-nonsense cop and she knows her laws as much as she knows that her family needs her. No, she is not an overtly doting wife or mausi who puts her job second, she balances it all and well. Married to Bengali doctor (Jisshu Sengupta), Shivani is not Chulbul Pandey, nor is she Bajirao Singham and thank god for that. Her jeeps don’t fly and nor does she. Thank you for sanity Pradeep Sarkar.
A girl goes missing from a shelter in Mumbai and Shivani rolls up her sleeves and gets right to business. She stumbles upon an intricate and dangerous drugs, child trafficking and sex racket that seems to have its tentacles spread far and wide. The case proceeds like a smooth operation taking Shivani to the heart of Delhi. With odds stacked against her as the department decides to close the case, Shivani plays lone wolf as she takes on the bad guys. She doesn’t fight them all at the same time like Salman Khan or Ajay Devgn, she kicks their evil rears one by one. Of course you are rooting for Shivani - she is real, she is passionate and she makes it very clear that every war is personal.
Sarkar deftly brings up clichés, like how women take everything personally, and then makes Shivani kick it in the balls. All except the Bengali husband. While Jisshu Sengupta taking on Marathi goons would be absurd an unbelievable to say the least, but he could have (tried to) undo the ‘pansy Bengali men’ trope. And yes, the ‘public outrage’ part where she allows the ‘behti Ganga mein haath dhona’.
Rani is the all and end all of Mardaani. Her character does not stoop to the banalities of a Bobby Jasoos and that makes her a far more reliable a protagonist when it comes to heroines being the heroes of the film. Also Tahir Bhasin - very smooth, very evil. We approve!