STORY: In this sequel to the 2014 original, top cop Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) is up against a ruthless young serial killer, who also rapes young women before savagely murdering them. Will Shivani be able to nab him before he strikes again?
REVIEW: In the very first scene, writer-director Gopi Puthran sets the tone of his film as a brutally chilling saga of a psycho killer on the loose. As the body count continues to mount in Rajasthan’s education hub Kota, the remorseless young killer Sunny (Vishal Jethwa) challenges Shivani to stop him if she can.
Rani Mukerji once again steals the show with her measured and restrained act. She doesn’t go over-the-top with theatrics but captures the nuances required to play a gritty top cop, dealing with heinous crimes, rape victims and a violent murderer. She does a fine balancing act between being powerful and vulnerable at the same time.
The film’s antagonist Vishal Jethwa is a revelation and holds his own confidently against a powerhouse performer like Rani. He looks innocent, but delivers quite a chilling performance for a debutant. He gets the rustic Rajasthani accent right, just enough to add more menace.
The film’s pace is relentless and adds to the thrill even as we see the villain constantly (and quite unbelievably) outsmarting the cops. The first and the second half are equally engaging, with no songs to interrupt the proceedings. Thankfully, the background score is subtle too.
The film’s writing repeatedly hammers the point of gender inequality and bias. The director gives us glimpses into Sunny’s troubled past, but also gives his character way too many smarts, making some of it seem unrealistic. What also doesn’t help is him breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. The film tends to stereotype its male characters, portraying almost all of them as misogynistic and insensitive towards the plight of women.
However, it’s the conviction in the performances and a gripping narrative that ensure there’s never a dull moment in Mardaani 2. Yes, it is a brutal story that’s sometimes hard to stomach, but it needs to be told. And none better than Rani in a khakee to lead the show. read more….