Yash Raj Films’ Mardaani (A) is the story of a strong and principled lady police inspector who takes on the people involved in sex trafficking. Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) is a very able police officer, living with her husband, Dr. Bikram Roy (Jisshu U. Sengupta), and niece, Meera (Avneet Kaur). She is fearless and goes about her work with sincerity and diligence. She has adopted a roadside girl, Pyari (Priyanka Sharma), whom she had saved from being sold by her unscrupulous uncle. Pyari lives in a shelter home and often meets Shivani and Meera. Pyari is very excited about her birthday which is due very soon. Even as Meera has made preparations to celebrate Pyari’s birthday, Pyari goes missing from her shelter home. A troubled Shivani investigates and soon realises that Pyari has been sold in the flesh trade.

Shivani now takes it upon herself to reach to the depth of this sex trafficking racket. The path, obviously, is not easy and is laden with dangers. The first ray of hope comes with the arrest of Sunny Katiyal (Anant Sharma) but he is not of much help. A phone call from an unknown person convinces Shivani that the racket is huge. However, there is not much headway. As the drama progresses, Shivani comes to Delhi and, with the help of sub-inspector Sodhi (Mikhail Yawalkar) manages to unearth more facts. She reaches Vakil (Anil George), a key person in the sex trafficking business. Just as Shivani and her team are about to arrest Vakil, he kills himself. Shivani must now reach the unidentified caller but how will she do so? After all, she doesn’t even have his name. Shivani gets lucky when she learns that Vakil had a paramour, Minoo Rastogi (Mona Ambegaonkar). She reaches Minoo’s house and realises something of immense help to her mission but before she can act on that information, she is drugged by Minoo Rastogi.

Does Shivani succeed in arresting the criminals behind the sex trafficking racket? Does she meet the unidentified caller who is another key player in the racket? Who is he and how is he related to the deceased Vakil? Does Shivani meet Pyari ever? Has Pyari been initiated into the flesh trade?

Gopi Puthran’s script, based on a concept and story by Hussain Zaidi and Vibha Singh, is quite weak. The issue of sex trafficking, rape, kidnapping of young girls etc. is so commonly understood that it shouldn’t have been a problem to connect with the audience. However, the script is so half-baked and so predictable that the viewer simply doesn’t feel for the female protagonist’s fight. Worse still, Gopi Puthran is not even able to evoke sympathy in the audience’s hearts for the girls who are being smuggled and sold in the flesh market or initiated into the flesh trade. The writer has tried to present Shivani and her team as normal human beings who, alongside doing their strenuous jobs, lead normal lives like ordinary citizens but all that looks like it is done for effect. In fact, so much footage is given to Shivani’s daily chores in her house and to her behaving normally even while on duty that it often shifts the focus from the more important issue to the unimportant tasks. What was of utmost importance in a film of this kind was to evoke audience sympathy and a feeling of hatred towards the criminals but, unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen. The pace of the screenplay is so easy that the tension never really builds up to the desired level. It is for this reason that the audience never once experiences a rush of adrenaline, which is a must for a film of this kind. In other words, there is just no edge-of-the-seat thrill or excitement. Resultantly, there is no sense of fulfilment which the audience experiences at the end of the show. Gopi Puthran’s dialogues, which could have been hard-hitting and inspiring, are not anything close to that. In fact, except for a handful of dialogues, the others are quite routine. The dialogues in the telephonic conversations between Shivani and the caller whom she doesn’t know are definitely entertaining.


Rani Mukerji is ordinary in the title role. Although one can’t fault her acting, there is nothing in her performance which would excite the viewers or inspire girls to emulate her. Her cool demeanour in the midst of the storm of tension she is going through looks too made up for effect. Jisshu U. Sengupta is more of a functional character which has nothing worthwhile to do. Tahir Raj Bhasin shines in the role of Karan. He acts with style and elan and has the right attitude to carry off the role. Anil George is effective as Vakil. Anant Sharma performs very ably as Sunny Katiyal. Mona Ambegaonkar is first-rate as Minoo Rastogi. Aman Uppal makes his presence felt in the role of Mattoo. Priyanka Sharma has her moments as Pyari in the initial reels after which she doesn’t quite impress. Mikhail Yawalkar is alright as sub-inspector Sodhi. Avneet Kaur (as Meera), Digvijay S. Rohidas (as Jafar), Ashish Warang (as More), Sanjay Taneja (as Taneja), Gautam Babbar (as Tandon), Peter Manuel (as Mbosa), Eddie Teel (as Mbangwa), Rio Kapadia (as joint commissioner of police Sinha), D.V. Vivek (as joint commissioner of police Iyer), Sahanand Verma (as Kapil), Habib (as Bob), Manik Puri (as Prakash), Prashant Sutra (as Mushtaq), Kanchan Pagare (as the goggle seller) and the rest lend fair support.

Pradeep Sarkar’s direction leaves something to be desired. His narration neither has the fire required for the drama nor the excitement needed to tackle an issue-based film of this kind. Also, he has kept the pace of the film very easy and, at times, even unnecessarily slow, whereas the need of the hour was a faster pace. Salim-Sulaiman’s music and Kausar Munir’s lyrics are functional. Julius Packiam’s background music is fair. Artur Zurawski’s cinematography is good. Manohar Verma’s action and stunt scenes lack the thrill one waits for in a film of this kind. Sets (by Bhawani Patel) and production designing (Madhu Sarkar Kuriakose) are okay. Sanjib Dutta’s editing ought to have been sharper.

On the whole, Mardaani is too ordinary a film for an emotional and disturbing issue like sex trafficking. It leaves the viewer unaffected and fails to inspire the women to revolt, which is what the film ought to have done. At the box-office, it will not be able to make its mark. A section of the evolved and women audience will like it for the intention behind the film but that won’t be enough for the film to succeed at the ticket windows.

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13 Responses to

  1. Rohit says:

    Mardaani has a suitably dark opening, retains its grimness throughout, and keeps developments on the right side of credibility for as long as possible. MARDAANI is perfect balance between logic and emotion & is smart enough to engage your intelligence and dramatic enough to tug at your heart strings. For my detailed review please visit

  2. rohit says:

    Yes, the film does have few glitches, but it’s an honest attempt! and performances were superb! seems like Mr. Nahta has nothing good to say about the film! well…probably his choice of a ‘well made’ bollywood flick is reserved only for the senseless blockbusters bollywood is churning out these days like singham, kick and entertainment!! such are our critics these days!!! ha!!

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  5. dhwanis says:

    I’d have to disagree, I just saw the movie, and witnessed people whistling and clapping on more than one occasion…it’s rare to see a cop movie that has brains…the others were becoming just so cliché.. get an actor, make him play police, more than one shot in white wife beater and khaki pant, who falls in love with a pyt, follows her, makes her fall for her and fights random people and moves one dumb move in the name of dance.. this movie was way better!

  6. Donna says:

    Komal is biased to some celebrities and does not know what he is writing. Sad. Be a critic first and learn how to do it well. If only you were human enough to understand the big social message this movie has brought to the audiences, you wouldn’t on purpose malign the film like this. You’re the only cynical person who thinks like this. SHAME.

  7. Donna says:

    Komal is biased to some celebrities and does not know what he is writing. Sad. Be a critic first and learn how to do it well. If only you were human enough to understand the big social message this movie has brought to the audiences, you wouldn’t on purpose malign the film like this. You’re the only cynical person who thinks like this. SHAME. This movie is so important for the masses to see. Especially Indian audiences where gang rapes make headline stories everywhere. I would encourage everyone to see this movie. RANI HAS GIVEN IT HER ALL. BEST ACTRESS FOR THIS YEAR FOR SURE!

  8. Google says:

    worst movie ever

  9. vikram says:

    and i thought u understood movies…Mardaani is grt film…best film of 2014..must watch..hopeless review…

  10. Raikwar says:

    Raja Natwarlal Review;
    We have 2kinds of cinema in bollywood, one is for mass like chennai express which does not have brain or soul but works wonder at box office & other is for class like citylights which got praiseworthy response but fail miserably at box office.
    Raja Natwarlal is a combo pack. It has dialoguebaazi, twists, suspense, music, dance, situational comedy to keep you entertaining, but more importantly it’s classy in terms that bollywood has never touched con area before. It’s gripping that keeps you wait for what will happen next. It’s an edge of the seat thriller.
    Different yet entertaining, Highly recommended.

  11. What a biased and ridiculous review. I have seen the film and the audience was in complete awe of Rani s character. Indian cinema can never progress because of morons like you. I hope this message reaches you.

  12. Pingback: Mardaani Review |

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