In honor of Rani Mukerji Chopra’s
birthday watch her tough cop “Mardaani”.
Children kidnapped for the world’s sex trade; the subject matter of ‘Mardaani‘ is an important one. India is the hub of child sex trafficking with nearly 40,000 kids abducted every year; 11,000 of who are never found. Meet Rani Mukerji as Shivani Shivaji Roy, Senior Inspector, Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police Department. Shivani is devoted to her doctor husband, her niece Meera, and Pyari, a street girl whom she rescued and now pays for her education. Shivani is a female version of Ajay Devgan’s Singham; a righteous, incorruptible, and tough policeman. Rani Mukerji creates a policewoman that is equally powerful, but ‘Mardaani‘ has a deadly serious tone. Pyari has mysteriously disappeared from school and Shivani leaves no stone unturned in finding her. The trail leads her from lesser criminals in the sex trade, up the ladder to the brains behind the operation. She eventually catches the attention of the organization’s number two man Karan (Tahir Raj Bhasin). A suprisingly young man, a college drop-out, Karan is a hardened criminal who starts to taunt Shivan by targeting her family, and than Pyari herself. At times, her own boss questions the extent to which she is going, but Shivani is relentless in her quest. In the end, she allows the victims to hand out justice to their tormentors. Rani is perfect for the part, looking fit and agile as she fearlessly chases down bad guys. She uses her age and experience to her advantage, creating a no-nonsense, clever female officer who commands respect. I recommend ‘Mardaani’ (Fighter) if you are a Rani Makerji fan and want to see her in an unexpected new avatar. Director Pradeep Sarkar‘s movie is well written, fast paced, and has the look of realism, carried out mostly in the streets and byways of Mumbai. Sex exploitation scenes are handled tastefully. No music aside from the anthem at the end. We have gotten the message from Shivani, “But if you ever mess with me, I’ll teach you a lesson you won’t forget.”