Mardaani - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

A slick even if not taut thriller more than a film that keeps the social issue it is about in your mind after you walk out.

Reviews

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Wogma Review

It is just so refreshing to watch a Hindi film that has not been lengthened by forcing in a romantic track and songs. I understand, that shouldn't be a reason to bump any film's rating up. Unfortunately for the film, that is one of the main things you come out with. NOT the social issue it is trying to create awareness about. Till the film starts getting preachy and goes into a monologue, Mardaani is a well-narrated story with all the elements in-sync. But, the last fifteen minutes is downhill towards any typical thriller.

That is not to say, that the action in the last bit is not engaging. It is in fact very slick and Rani Mukherjee moves smartly. But, a voiceover that explains how things worked out, is the biggest turn-off in a thriller. And it is a shame because till then Mardaani didn't have a single dull moment. It's not that the plot twists weren't forseeable. You could see, some of the biggest turning points in the story from a few minutes before they happened. But, since you are rooting for the right thing to happen, you don't mind the predictability.

The writing to a great extent keeps you intrigued by one means or the other. Even though, it has the usual trappings of a supercop film. Like, showing the cop's happy family for one and only one reason. And of course, there are loopholes or leaps of faith. On the other hand, there are other things the writing department takes head-on. The dialogue is witty, even if the way the abuses are delivered sound forced, for effect, rather than natural. But, other than that the lines bring a smile or make you smirk.

The lead characters are written reasonably well too. The topic of sexual trafficking is such that the audience is already rooting for the story. In addition, Mardaani's bad guy instills fear appropriately. Also, a rarity in Hindi films, you see and enjoy a vibrant chemistry between the protagonist and the antagonist. This with Shivani (Rani Mukherjee) and the villain (Tahir Bhasin) hardly being in the same physical space. Again, it's not too often when both the sides are equally smart, cool and unfazed.

Of course, this wouldn't have worked hadn't it been for Rani Mukherjee and Tahir Bhasin's performances. Though Rani Mukherjee starts out being loud, but you soon get used it, because the character is written that way. She's strong and has a fight in her. Always. It is commendable that there is not an ounce of glamor around Rani Mukherjee and she stays in character throughout.

My usual gripe with movies that address social issues is they make some characters (usually the main leads) representative of a larger group of people say, the youth or women or the common man. Which is not bad in itself, but the story slips in and out from being about the character and being symbolic of the said group. Mardaani saves itself from that trap for most of the film. It is telling you the story of this one lady officer who has taken it upon herself to get to the bad guy for a personal reason (to start with) and it moves on to being about a larger purpose. It is also refreshing that the film doesn't make much ado about it being women-centric. It sticks to the points of one - being a thriller and two - talking about trafficking. Sort-of neutralises the fact that a film with a woman at the center is ironically called, Mardaani.

Yes, child trafficking for sexual crimes needs awareness. Yes, more and more films need to be made on such issues. Yes, Mardaani is a decent film. Alas, the issue is not what you come out thinking about. I wonder if there were censor cuts that took away bits that were needed to get us more involved with those who suffered. But, meanwhile, this will do. And go give, Lakshmi a watch too. Note, I am not saying instead, I am saying both. Each has a different approach - only that one is worth a watch and the other ought to be watched.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of action sequence. Nothing very gory, but fights nonetheless. Also, rape is alluded to.
  • Language: Free use of abusive language.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Partial nudity.
  • Concept: A cop takes on child-traffickers.
  • General Look and Feel: Contemporary.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

Mardaani - Movie Details

Mardaani - Trailer

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Comments (15)

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Rachit:

I am actually looking forward to this and Mary Kom more than Singham Returns and HNY! What is happening to me. Must be old age :-)

Anuj:

As much as we speak of feminism and female liberation, the fact remains that the concept of a lady Singham is not exactly something very enterprising, especially with a yesteryear actress well past her prime. I'll be surprised if this one even gets an average occupancy.

meetu:

@Rachit ha ha ha ha. With age, comes maturity :P

@Anuj As long as it gets the concept well, I am happy :D

Guddu:

I won't be spending my 200 bucks for this film, nowadays femminism means anti male chauvinism.

guddu:

I take back my words after reading your review, will surely catch it on Sunday and share my opinion. Very articulated and eloquent review Meetu. :)

Elizabeth:

Loved your review. So happy to see that a film dealing with such an important issue will not sidelined as an art film which is what usually happens for many films.

Anuj:

Well I did end up watching it. Its something like a Neeraj Pandey film with a Rohit Shetty like ending. Excellent concept that could have resulted in a brilliant film had it not been for a rather lame and predictable end. Nevertheless a movie that Bollywood fans must watch. As for Rani, this performance after No One Killed Jessica once again reiterates what we Bollywood fans have missed out on from an otherwise brilliant actress who was written off a tad too soon (perhaps because she's not a size zero bimbette who strips down to her undergarments at the drop of a hat). For me this is definitely Rani's career best after Black,Bunty aur Babli and NOKJ.

Anuj:

On a casual note, the Maratha police force would be the happiest of the lot this August 2014 :D

Raj D.:

Dear Meetu,
As I have worked with child trafficking group I would like to say this:

With Singham style commercial format and over-riding women empowerment jump-board, I would have liked Pradeep Sarkar to incorporate this aspect - 90% of first contact of child trafficking victim who initiate this trade is a women, and 99% of third contact is also a women. It would have given a balanced awareness!

Suman:

Direction: 2
Story: 2
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 2

Dialogues: 2
Screenplay: 2
Music Director: 1
Lyrics: 1

meetu:

@Suman ouch!

@Raj D well, in a way they did here, didn't they? Might not be accurate %age wise, but even so.

Thank you @Elizabeth

Thanks @guddu. Did you watch it then?

Fan:

@Meetu: the film is full of partial nudity, paedophelia, intercourse with minors, and what not. Please be very clear with parental guidance or else don't have that section.

Fan:

@Meetu: I did like the film, and agree with you that many such films are necessary to increase awareness and more importantly action.

And this film probably has hardly shown any cruelty and pain that the victims have to go through.

But there are people like me who couldn't stomach any crime against children regardless of gender. I know that much worse things than this happens in reality. And I am willing to do anything to be a part of the solution. But I cannot bear to see in such graphic details such atrocities. A warning should be put up for audiences like me. Even news channels like BBC and CNN announce that graphic images are going to be shown to allow viewers to switch channels.

So yes, please make more such films to.awaken people. But at the same time please state it up front on what to expect.

meetu:

@Fan Apologies. Will try to be more specific next time around.

Fan:

Thanks.

Apologies are not necessary.

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