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MARDAANI - Sarkar attempts to make a taut thriller tackling a serious social issue but it just remains an attempt with a pretty routine second half. (Review By Bobby Sing)
22 Aug, 2014 | Movie Reviews / 2014 Releases

I have been a fan of Pradeep Sarkar since his days of directing music videos that used to be all about love, feelings and emotional warmth. The same touch was evidently visible in his first movie PARINEETA (2005) and to some extent in LAAGA CHUNRI MEIN DAAG (2007) too. But post the debacle of his second movie which had its own set of inspirations taken from films like AAINA (1977) & more, the director I loved got lost into this tempting commercial world giving away to his big producer’s dictated products and the influential star system running our major part of the industry. His next LAFANGEY PARINDEY (2010) caused a great amount of unexpected dissatisfaction and though the latest MARDAANI is certainly a better attempt, but continues to do the same, probably once again made as per someone else’s directions and requirements.
Tackling a serious social issue of Child Trafficking or Child Sex Rackets, Sarkar begins well offering some fine emotional scenes and a shocking depiction of the truth with some hard hitting sequences too. The concerning working style of the Police squad headed by Rani Mukherjee reminds you of Aamir Khan’s SARFAROSH right away and one feels that there is surely something great coming up next well supported by a talented cast.
Sadly just after the first 45-50 minutes or let’s say post the intermission, MARDAANI completely gets derailed and makes way for all routine, predictable & clichéd sequences ruining the fine build up created by its initial hour. The writing begins taking bits and pieces from many earlier thrillers and the direction simply falls down to the level of ‘mediocre’. For instance the ages old formulas of using the ‘Tailor’s tag on the clothes’ or ‘the sound of train or Azaan’ spotted in the phone call of the kidnapper are fitted into the screenplay as if they wished to give a tribute to that gone era. The ministers involved in the racket are simply showcased as some sick perverts turning into helpless clowns towards the end and the Police department is supposed to be run or guided by a single lady officer in a complete filmy Dabangg style.
So what could have been the next intense, thought provoking big thriller becomes a pretty poor and weak film in its second half saved by just the performances to say it all. Rani Mukherjee tries hard and excels in her action and emotional scenes in particular. Due to the weak characterization she does tend to go over the top in the beginning but certainly deserves appreciation for agreeing to the unconventional role and then performing it well to. Tahir Raj Bhasin makes his presence felt boldly and so does Mona Ambegaonkar in her short but convincing portrayal of an evil lady. Jishu Sengupta, Priyanka Sharma, Anil George and others in the supporting cast do not get much scope but they don’t disappoint either in their respective performances.
Shot in a gritty style with a fine background score not making it too loud like SINGHAM RETURNS, the film impresses in its first half and then loses the major marks post interval. Yet, the attempt cannot be ignored for three major reasons.
First, for having an important and worth noticing subject of child trafficking.
Second, for its completely focused progression throughout the two hours of duration without any song, denying the usual norm.
And third for some good performances which don’t let you to write off the film unlike any other repetitive cop-movie made without a vision.
The concept of getting back an abducted girl sure reminds you of many Hollywood films like the TAKEN series and the latest Nagesh Kukunoor project too titled LAKSHMI (2014), which was also about the same issue projected more sensitively with a brutal realistic touch. Yet MARDAANI rightly scores few good points due to its off the routine attempt supported by some big names and a reputed production house.
However if only, Sarkar and his writers wouldn’t have gone the obvious Dabangg way just to showcase the women power in a pure filmy manner towards the end and could have presented the investigations in some novel style in its concluding hour, MARDAANI would have been so different and impressive reaching out to many more viewers as desired.
So in the present avatar, it just remains an ok one time watch putting the much needed light on a burning and shameful truth of our sick social structure.
Rating : 2.5 / 5

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22 Aug 2014 / Comment ( 0 )
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