At noon on Wednesday, when Rani Mukherjee walked into the office of Additional Director General (ADG) Prisons, Meeran Chadha Borwankar, in Pune, it caused a flutter. The actor’s visit came as little surprise to Borwankar, whose name appears on credits of the film Mardaani. She was one of the first police officers to have been approached by the makers of the film in which Mukherjee plays a fearless cop.
“It was about 6-8 months ago that director Pradeep Sarkar, his wife and some other members of their team had come to see me and ask me details about women and child trafficking and my experience in handling it. They discussed the storyline with me and also with another officer in the crime branch, Jyotsana Rasam. I haven’t seen the film but am told that my name is there in the credits and it was a pleasant surprise to have Rani Mukherjee drop in today. She said she was in the city for promotion of her film and wanted to meet me as the director spoke highly of the feedback from me on his script and how to go about certain scenes to ensure authenticity,” says Borwankar who describes Mukherjee as articulate and polite.
“We served her biscuits made by the jail staff and I asked her if she would be willing to come and inaugurate the sale, during Diwali, of goods made by inmates and she promptly agreed,” adds the ADG, Prisons.
While Mukherjee adopted a gait similar to Borwankar’s in Mardaani, a more close association lies in the fact that the actor is shown taking on human trafficking in the film. Borwankar has been known to have focused on this scourge during her tenure as Commissioner of Police in Pune. In fact, according to her team members, Borwankar closed down 22 brothels in the city, the highest number ever achieved by any other commissioner. “That was a part of my job and mission too, so I don’t talk too much about it,” says the former CP, though.
Incidentally, Borwankar feels Rani’s persona in the film is modelled more after Rasam, a seasoned crime branch officer. Her role is that of an inspector who goes out on the field.
Rasam admits to having guided Mukherjee for about a week on the methodology adopted by the crime branch when it comes to raids, interrogation and tactics employed to extract information. “I think Rani essayed the role very well,” says Rasam, who is posted at the state intelligence department in Mumbai. She has handled several important cases, including Laila Khan murder and Telgi stamp scam. “In fact, I am very thankful that someone finally portrayed women officers in the crime branch in just the right light,” adds Rasam.