Mardaani 2 Movie Review: A gripping thriller that succumbs to an informative approach
Rani Mukerji is as ferocious in Mardaani 2 as she was in the first film, but this thriller cannot escape from the clutches of an informative approach.
U/A; Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Gopi Puthran
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Vishal Jethwa, Rajesh Sharma, Shruti Bapna, Vikram Singh Chauhan, Deepika Amin
Unlike most of the Yash Raj Films, Mardaani 2 begins not with the iconic Lata Mangeshkar voice but an eerie background score that's preceded by some jolting facts about rapes in our country. The first thing we read isn't the opening titles, but an information that says that more than 3,000 rapes in India are committed by boys under the age of 18 every year. You want to admire the subject that the makers have opted for to make a sequel, but the necessity to inform us about the figures comes in the way of an otherwise gripping thriller.
Tahir Raj Bhasin made for a chilling antagonist in the first film, who was a cold-blooded and merciless teenager that kidnapped teenaged girls out of sheer audacity and fearlessness. The sequel goes a step ahead and gives us a villain that breaks the fourth wall and opts to go completely naked in front of the camera to communicate with us. There are multiple shots of him gazing at the camera, as if he were enjoying this game of one-upmanship and telling us how he's always a step ahead of the police force.
This villain is played by debutant Vishal Jethwa, best known for his television show, Bharat Ka Veer Putra - Maharana Pratap. The actor has big and expressive eyes, and the remorselessness is clearly visible on his face. Mukerji's character makes it clear not once but twice in the film, he doesn't have the fear of being caught, he wants to be famous. Jethwa makes for a dreaded nemesis, and chooses a daring role for his debut. He's helped by a spooky background score and the cinematography (by Jishnu Bhattacharjee).
Watch the trailer of Mardaani 2 below:
Mukerji is as fierce and fearless as she was in the first Mardaani, and it's always awesome to see a woman kicking the living daylights out of the baddies. However, director Gopi Puthran cannot escape or maybe willingly hasn't escaped to lace the narrative with an informative approach. The film begins and ends with statuses and datum about the rapes in our country and how it's time to change things.
All in all, it's fun to watch this game of cat-and-mouse, very similar to the one we saw in Mardaani. The final encounter is both brutal and brave, and gives the leading lady the opportunity to create a sequence that's both energetic and evocative. Mardaani 2 makes the right points and selects a burning issue, but it could've been less in-your-face and more restrained.
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