Rani Mukerji’s superhit Mardaani 2 became a must-watch film last year as it shocked and gripped the nation with its brilliant storyline. Inspired by shocking true crimes against women by juveniles, the edge-of-the-seat thriller saw Rani in a race against time to capture a brutal serial rapist who systematically targets women. The film received incredible appreciation from media and critics and took the gritty female-cop franchise forward in leaps and bounds. On the first anniversary of the thriller, Rani opens up about why the Mardaani franchise is close to her heart.
“The franchise of Mardaani is very important to me, not only because it’s talking about women empowerment and certain brutalities that take place on women, and there is a woman, who is the main protagonist, who is standing up against all of this, it is also an informative film as it projects a lot of things women need to be aware of. It speaks about all of that because in a society we tend to always try to see the positive things. Though we want to think about positivity and good things but in reality, certain people have bad intentions and on a bad day we can encounter them,” says the acclaimed actress.
Rani adds, “So, I think Mardaani is really a film which empowers a woman to think that they are strong. I think Mardaani as a franchise gives a lot of hope and courage to women. When they are watching it, they feel that they are getting introduced to their inner strength, so I think the entire franchise being what it was made for and the fact that it was received the way we wanted it to be received, makes the franchise truly, truly special. When we set out to make a film as filmmakers and as people who are a part of a project, we had certain aspirations for the film but to see those aspirations getting fulfilled and resonate with the women, I think, is so heartening.”
Rani reveals that the reaction she has got from female-cops across India has been very overwhelming. She says, “Whenever I have met lady cops, they have not reacted to just the film. They have reacted to the portrayal of Shivani Shivaji Roy, which they feel is very positive and it showcases the entire gamut of things that they have to deal with during the course of their lives and career. The credit for that should actually go to the writer and those who have envisaged Mardaani as a franchise which is Adi, Gopi (Puthran – director and writer), Pradeep da (Sarkar) put together because I think the fact is the actors get to portray a character only when it’s a written and fleshed out well.”
She adds, “I think the fact that they have really, really taken the time and energy to actually build Shivani’s character around real-life woman cops, I think that also adds to the persona of the film, so it makes everything look real and you could encounter somebody like that in your lifetime. She is relatable and larger than life in her actions, in terms of the courage. She is larger than life which is true to every person who is standing on the battlefield and for cops, their battlefield is everyday life like in the cities where they are working. So, for them, their battleground is everywhere, whether it’s day or night and also it’s not a superhuman portrayal where the person can fight goons all by herself. So, as a cop, I think it’s a combination of using brains and brawn so it’s both these aspects that are covered.”
Mardaani franchise enables Rani to bring startling realities of society out in the open. She says, “It does give me an opportunity to actually bring out these topics, which are slightly difficult to digest and talk about, but unfortunately that’s the reality that’s what we read and see in the newspaper and news channels day in and day out. And what is the most disturbing part in all this is that it’s not ending. These incidents are not getting over and done with. No matter how much we do, we still have to do much more. The film is just a small drop in the ocean of things that need to be done for this cause.”
Rani adds, “It generates conversation and there is awareness when women watch these kinds of films. They understand that yes, we do live in a world where things are guarded and it’s a wonderful place that we live in but you never know which person, in which corner of the street, is lurking with a bad intention. You never know whom you will encounter. So, one has to be always ready and prepared and that is the truth of life and one that we are leading day in and day out today. Mardaani, as a franchise, we can just say that the reason why it is so relevant and the reason why it is such a special film is that we are able to pick up a topic and try and find some answers.”