Top of the Cops
Cast: Rani Mukerjee, Tahir Bhasin, Anil George
Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar
Duration: 1 hr 55 mins
Rating: * * *
Directed by Pradeep Sarkar of Parineeta and Laaga Chunri Mein Daag fame, Mardaani walks on the road less traveled. In fact, this is one heck of a lonely road – a film where the main protagonist is a lady and that too a police officer. She uses those Bambaiya cuss words nonchalantly and in the finale, challenges the villain to a duel and bashes him up. Bravo.
There are plenty of applaud worthy moments in Mardaani and barring a few manipulative and exploitive scenes, which should have been left on the editing table, this is a reasonably smooth ride. Rani Mukerjee plays Shivani Shivaji Roy a no nonsense police officer with the crime branch, a role usually reserved for male characters. She juggles with her personal and professional life quite admirably, her husband (Jisshu Sengupta) is a doctor who has to bear the brunt of her honesty.
When a teenage girl whom the lady cop is very fond of, disappears from a homeless shelter, she moves heaven and earth to find her. It turns out there is a racket operating that kidnaps girls run by a young man (Tahir Bhasin). Along with an elderly gent who is only known as Vakil (Anil George of Miss Lovely fame) they run a sex trade in a ruthless manner. The scene shifts to Delhi where Shivani has to unravel the mystery.
Clocking under two hours, for most parts the film is crisp and fast paced, and as a welcome relief the usual song and dance routine has also been done away with. The background score does go overboard at times and the odd dialogue would make the television serial CID proud. “Jafar, yeh mamla to bahut teda lagta hai” she says stating the obvious after an unknown assassin kills a witness.
While it tries to highlight the nasty sex trafficking business that happens in the country some of the scenes drag beyond the point of impact. But Mardaani works because of the characters – the villain likes Breaking Bad and is chillingly calm and coldblooded. His mentor is also in the same mould. The young man refers to her as ma’am, she calls him Under-19 team ka 12th man.
You can’t help but root for the leading lady – Shivani is strong woman who likes to face the situation head on. It is only post interval that the plot goes off the rail a bit.
Of the cast, Tahir Bhasin and Anil George are ideal for their roles. But the show ultimately belongs to Rani Mukerjee who packs a few punches and much more, she plays her part with utmost conviction.
It would be a delight to see her again in the same character, tackling another issue next time.
Published in The Navhind Times on 24th Aug 2014