While bigots get beaten down for comedy relief, Mardaani taps something darker in Indian society at its climax. Shivani has defeated Walt and in the process has exposed a powerful politician whose kink is raping prostitutes. She has challenged Walt to hand-to-hand combat, as mentioned above, and humiliated him. But he doesn't care and isn't worried. "This is India," he reminds her, and that means his political and business connections will see to it that he serves little if any time. Her answer? Yes, this is India, but that means she doesn't necessarily have to arrest him to get him off the streets. Is she going to murder him, then? No, but they are: the girls he's tortured and exploited. Technically it won't be murder. Since this is India, the law there says it isn't murder is someone is killed in a demonstration involving a certain number of people or more. There just happens to be a quorum present, so as Shivani discreetly walks away the film's upbeat girl-power theme song plays over a lynching, the death of a thousand kicks from high-heeled shoes.
Mardaani's over-the-top final act alone makes the film worth seeing for fans of global pop cinema. Mukerji brings badass authority to her lead performance, and that's all the film really needs. I haven't watched as much Indian cinema as I probably should have by now, so I don't know how extraordinary or transgressive such a female role would be there. But it certainly can't hurt anywhere for people to see women kicking ass on the big screen. Just maybe it might make some men think twice before acting out their fantasies.