MARDAANI 2 is an entertaining thriller that boasts an exciting screenplay and soulful performances by Rani Mukerji and Vishal Jethwa.

The 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi shook another across the country. To the amazement it was added that one of the violent attackers was a minor. This created a debate as to whether adolescents could be treated like adults in cases where the crime has been committed which is extraordinary and of a highly violent nature. Yash Raj Films’ latest Off Mardaini 2, also deals with this vivid subject and incidentally, a nationwide outrage spread about two weeks after an equally violent gang rape in Hyderabad. So is there a chance to shock MARDAANI 2 as well as thrill the audience? Or does it fail to engage the audience? Let us analyze.

MARDAANI 2 is the story of a psychotic rapist trying to challenge the police. Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherjee) is now the SP of Kota, Rajasthan. In this city, a girl named Latika (Tejaswi Singh Ahlawat) attends a fair, where she fights with her lover Monty (Prateik Rajbhatta). A mysterious figure, Sunny (Vishal Jethwa), witnesses the way Latika explodes Monty. She has an issue with such outspoken women and on an empty stretch, she kidnaps him. He takes her to an abandoned place where he brutally tortures Latika, rapes her and then kills her. Shivani is shocked by the violence, but is immediately pursuing the investigation. In the press conference, he calls the murderer a ‘surrender’. This makes Sunny sad and she decides to teach Shivani a lesson. He sends her flowers with a troubled note. He sneaks into her house and steals her clothes and belongings. He wears his saree to ensnare Kamal Parihar (Anurag Sharma), a journalist and terminates him as part of a contract given to him by a local politician, Panditji (Prasanna Ketkar). Then Sunny cleverly worked at a tea stall outside Shivaji’s police station. So he is visiting the police station and even talking about the police case. When a child, who saw Sunny, comes forward to identify him, Sunny kidnaps him from the police station toilet and kills him. Hence Shivani is seen as a lapse on her part. He is transferred But as everyone is busy with the Diwali celebrations, the replacement is expected to take charge only 2 days later. So Shivani has 48 hours to settle the case and catch Sunny. What happens next makes the rest of the film.

Gopi Puthran’s story is excellent and serves as a worthy sequel to the first part. It also comments well on misunderstandings. Gopi Puthran’s screenplay is highly effective and also entertaining. The way he has thought of novel ways to show the sharp mind of the villain is supposed to be. He could have survived some cinematic freedom in the second half though. Gopi Putran’s dialogues are acidic and work very well. Rani Mukherjee is well appreciated during her TV interview.

Gopi Puthran’s direction is very good, given that this is her first film. He adds the thrills and entertainment needed to engulf the audience. In addition, the film also has subplots, which do not like to take fellow policemen to their advantage using linen from a female officer and a politician. It is all well brought together. On the flipside, the film becomes very convenient in the second part. The antagonist is freely roaming the city, although his picture is out everywhere. Also the film has a lot of disturbing material. The scene where the forensic doctor (Deepika Amin) is narrating about Latika’s injuries will make the audience extremely uncomfortable.

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MARDAANI 2 is just 105 minutes long and does not waste time. The villain is found in the beginning and the way he manipulates Latika and then violates her shaking. The way Sunny passed it off as a suicide to kill Kamal Parihara is surprising. The order in which he kidnaps the child also remains a thrill. After Interval, the film is expected to drag on, but a surprise awaits here as Shivani finds Sunny after the second half begins. And it is after this scene that the film falls a little short. The cat and mouse chase becomes a bit repetitive. Even after a point it becomes inconceivable that Sunny is always able to outsmart Shivani and has thought ten steps ahead. However, the climax is big and the audience will surely play applause.

MARDAANI 2 is related to Rani Mukherjee and Vishal Jethwa. Rani again gave a stunning performance as Shivani Shivaji Roy. It is great to see how she understands her part so well. He is tough, but he also has a sensitive side, as seen during a conversation with a forensic doctor, and that too in the very last scene. But both features look very organic and nothing feels forced. He also gets the action scenes right. Vishal Jethawa showed off and how! He is impressed by the first scene itself when he breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience. Amazingly, he gets more screen time than Rani in the first half! Throughout the film, she achieves a completely menacing bit. Tejaswi Singh Ahlawat is decent while Deepika Amin is fine in a special appearance. Other artists who do a good job are Prateek Rajbhatt, Prasanna Ketkar, Shruti Bapna (Bharti), Sumit Nizhavan (Brij Shekhawat), Sunny Hinduja (Viplav Benwal) and Richa Meena (Sunanda). Rajesh Sharma (Amit Sharma) is quite good as a reporter and his scene with Rani is one of the film’s high points.

Mardaani 2 is a songless film. John Stewart Aduri’s background music is loud but long. The cinematography of Jishnu Bhattacharjee is quite clean and gives a small town feel. The production design of Sukant Panigrahi is passive. Lepakshi Elawadi’s costumes are realistic. Vikram Dahiya’s action is realistic. The casting of Shanu Sharma is on the spot. There is nothing in the editing of Monisha R. Baldawa.

Overall, MARDAANI 2 is an entertaining thriller that boasts an exciting screenplay and soulful performances by Rani Mukerji and Vishal Jethwa. However, strong word will be needed to maintain it at the box office.

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