Rani Mukherjee


Mardaani 2 which releases on 13th December has created controversy weeks before its release. The controversy revolves around Kota, the city in which Mardaani 2 is based.

Every year during late summers newspapers, billboards and the Internet get flooded with advertisements of coaching classes glorifying their results in Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams. Every alternate advertisement is from the coaching capital of India, Kota. I am sure many of us would have deliberately or forcibly pondered about the idea of studying in Kota once in life. More than half a lakh students flock to Kota every year to realise their dreams of getting into an IIT or a premier medical college. Lately, it’s in news and unfortunately, not for good reasons.

No, it’s not about the suicide rates which the city is infamous for but, the Rani Mukherjee starrer, Mardaani 2 which is set there. Trailer of the film that released on 14th November has generated substantial amount of controversy even before its theatrical release. The storyline has moved to Kota from Delhi in the second part of this franchise, where Shivani Shivaji Rao, a super cop from Mumbai, is assigned with a new case to catch a 21-year old notorious criminal involved in rape and murder cases of girls in Kota.

The backdrop of movie did not shy away from illustrating Kota in its rawest form, which has invited the wrath of residents and students who come here to study alike. So much so that the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Member of Parliament Om Birla had to intervene in the matter.

Why are Citizens of Kota angry?

The protesters say that the film shows Kota in a bad light. The protesters reserve that Kota, that is a hub for engineering and medical coaching centres, has not witnessed the kind of events shown in film. They demand Kota’s name to be removed from the entire reel of the film.

A geographical land always holds cultural significance for its inhabitants. The fury of Kota residents justifies that. But before succumbing to emotive ethos, let’s look at crime rates of this city.

According to the ‘Crime in India’ data released in 2016, Kota occupied 3rd place all over Rajasthan for rape crimes. With 437 cases registered in one single year, the rape rates were 20% while assault rates were as high as 24.5%.

In 2016, the Kota Police confirmed the existence of a student gang called “Bihari Tigers Force” after their involvement in the murder of a 19-year old medical aspirant. The notorious gang formed around 2008 has been active in moderate to heinous crimes like chain snatching, extortion, harassment etc.

When ‘Delhi Crime’ released on Netflix this year, no such controversy was seen around. Based on the 2012 Nirbhaya Rape Case, the show stigmatised the national capital on crime against women that is evidently prevalent here. But for Delhi it’s not a new blot. Every now and media has scolded Delhi for the same. It might be that we have internalised Delhi’s ill habit. Maybe seeing a filmmaker reflect the issues of Kota has made their citizen uncomfortable, but that’s necessary for anyone who wishes to rectify the problems prevalent in their surroundings.

Featured Image Credits: Zee News


[email protected]


100 years of song and dance, technicolour expressions and the classic Bollywoody Maa came to their age. New stamps were released by the government and hordes of desi actors landed up on Cannes’ shores, finally with some half-baked reason of representing the century old Indian film industry to get their 15 seconds of limelight. In all of these, the irony fell on the 100 year old dame of the industry itself. It would have been expected that the industry of million films would churn out at least a few dozen to celebrate the century, but no. Its most visible face internationally, Bollywood, came out with only one and in aapna filmy language, it was hugely thanda.

Divided into four short films directed by four very different directors, Bombay Talkies starts with Karan Johar’s ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hain Yeh’. Gayatri and Dev are a very good looking couple who for some reason don’t have enough sex. Avinash is Gayatri’s young gay colleague who happens to ascertain using his superior gaydar that Dev is gay. No reason is offered as to why he goes out of his way to act all creepy with his office bestie’s husband. Johar leaves a lot of loose ends untied and all of the characters flat. They never get explored enough and given the time constraints Johar had, it is understandable, given the fact that the average runtime of his films is 2 Kumbh Melas and all the episodes of ‘Kyunki Sans Bhi kabhi Bahu Thi’ put together. Talking about acting, while Rani played the bored wife to the T, the parts showing her in her “highflying working woman” avatar felt phoney. Randeep Hooda looked and acted his character well, the silence of his words and intensity of his stare going well with the role he was playing. Saqib Saleem looked as if he was trying too hard to act his part convincingly and was much pleasant in his debut film.Bombay Talkies POSTER_0

Nothing about the film was ‘ajeeb’, if we don’t limit our understanding of the word ‘ajeeb’ to only the very superficial treatment of the theme of homosexuality and female sexuality. Yes, female sexuality because for me, the segment may deal more visibly with the sexuality of the two men in the story but the woman’s sexuality is given ample, if not enough, screen time too. The intentions might have been in the right places and placing this particular segment at the first certainly points to the more progressiveness of the film makers, but it falls flat on the execution. Playing with one stereotype after another, Johar shows an unhappy couple, a sassy gay friend and the very clichéd moment of realisation for the husband. What happened in the west in decades past is only peeping in here now and Bollywood in its 100th year should have shown more maturity.