It’s easy to forget about Rani Mukerji’s competence as an actor, given her string of underwhelming films in the last decade. The actor who last impressed in a short film in 2014’s Bombay Talkies, has lately become all about bonafide ‘star vehicles’ like Dil Bole Hadippa, Mardaani or even recently Hichki. The first trailer of Mardaani 2 dropped today, giving us a bit of heartburn. Mukerji is playing a saviour, just like her male contemporaries, Salman Khan & Akshay Kumar. And looks like this film is dangerously close to the ‘trending formula culture’ that only cares picking up an ‘issue’ for the heck of it; only for the hero to outshine ‘the issue’. Which in this case, is Mukerji’s exaggerated bravado and highlighted silhouettes against a blazing score in the background.
Watching the Mardaani 2 trailer, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how the film could fit in the same bracket as Rohit Shetty’s Simmba or Akshay Kumar’s Pad Man. The cinematic language is intentionally broad, the visuals are graphic, and the dialogues seem like they’ve been explicitly written to draw multiple ‘you go, girl!’ for the film’s protagonist. The kind of films most of us Hindi film aficionados have grown up with, it’s not that we can’t stomach the punchline-melodrama routine. But like in the cases as evident in the Mardaani 2 trailer, one can smell the dishonesty on the makers… from a mile away.
Beginning a trailer by quoting the odd statistic about minors embroiled in rape cases… doesn’t count for ‘fact-based’ or ‘research’. Like most star-vehicles in the country, it’s quite evident that Mardaani 2 is trying to take a complex social issue, and trying to milk it for ‘mass entertainment’. Especially in an era, where the world has already seen examples like Netflix series Unbelievable that prove one doesn’t have to compromise on sensitivity and empathy, so that it be consumed by the masses. Also, it’s slightly strange to see Rani Mukerji trying to force-fit herself in the Dabangg mould, a year after Ivan Ayr’s Soni came out and mesmerised most of us.
Much like (the spectacularly tone-deaf) Simmba advocated ‘fake encounters’ and vigilante justice as a way to cope with sexual assaults, it won’t be surprising to hear something similarly reductive be stated as a ‘solution’ in Mardaani 2. Like the first Mardaani film exploited human trafficking as a subject to establish Rani Mukerji as an ‘action star’, the second film seems similarly disinterested in dipping its toes in the multi-faceted issue of ‘minors accused of rape’. Like most films in this bracket, even this one seems like it can’t handle the truth.
Make way for Rani Mukerji’s slow-motion entry sequence!
Watch the trailer of Mardaani 2 here:
Mardaani 2 is slated for release on December 13, 2019.