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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Did you know that over 2,000 rapes are committed every year by boys under the age of 18 in India? And those are just the registered cases. This hard hitting statistic from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is the shocking leitmotif in Rani Mukerji's 'Mardaani 2'.
Reprising her role as the gritty, no-nonsense cop Shivani Shivaji Roy from 2014's 'Mardaani', the Gopi Puthran directed sequel showcases Rani as a woman on a mission. As the superintendent of police stationed in Kota, Rajasthan, when faced with a serial killer/psychopath on the loose, Shivani is a blinkers-on officer who will not rest until the culprit is brought to justice.
There is much to cheer in this post #MeToo era when a woman is shown wielding power and seeking retribution for crimes against the perceived 'weaker sex'. The last action sequence which shows Shivani repeatedly beating up the rapist with his own belt is extremely unnerving, even as one part of you wants to cheer her on. The unfettered violence can be pretty in-your-face.
Seen in the current context of the violence against women in society in general and India in particular, a movie like 'Mardaani 2' could not have come at a better time. While it can seem to glorify violence in some ways, perhaps the need of the hour is for a hard hitting movie like this which not only raises awareness of issues like safety of women and the gender inequality that exists in society, but inspires women to look within to channel their own courageous spirit.
With no frills attached, not even a token song sequence, 'Mardaani 2' might come across as dark, gory and excessively violent. But when you are dealing with a subject matter like brutal sexual violence against women, perhaps this is the only way to shock viewers into awareness.
Television actor Vishal Jethwa is chilling as the psychopath Sunny who develops an unhealthy obsession with Shivani. To the credit of the makers, all the male characters have been given enough gravitas to make them stand out. But Shivani is undoubtedly the leader of the pack.
'Mardaani 2' is a must watch for those who feel helpless upon reading reports of crime against women. It might be a bit over the top at times, but the narrative technique works well for this particular genre.
With a run time of just under 2 hours, 'Mardaani 2' will keep you hooked from the first scene till the last. We'd highly recommend you watch it - whether you are a feminist or not.
Movie: Mardaani 2
Director: Gopi Puthran
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Vishal Jethwa
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