Jio MAMI Film Festival 2017: Mukkabaaz Is Anurag Kashyap In His True, Rustic Form
Set in the backdrop of rural Bareilly, the film is a sports drama revolving around the life of Shravan Singh, an aspiring boxer, who falls in love with an upper caste, mute girl.
Anurag Kashyap is currently busy promoting Manmarziyaan, which is slated to release on September 14.
Dark, grit, grim and true to its essence. These are a few words people associate Anurag Kashyap with. Having started his career with a controversial Paanch and then Black Friday, the face of neo-noir in Indian cinema never backs down from presenting the rustic side of the ever glorified and romanticised cinema. After a dark Raman Raghav 2.0 , the director is back in his form with Mukkabaaz, and indeed hits a boundary. The film opened the 19th edition of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and while the premiere was all starry and glamourous, the product showcased was quite the opposite and no, we are not complaining.
Set in the backdrop of rural Bareilly, the film is a sports drama revolving around the life of Shravan Singh, an aspiring boxer, who falls in love with an upper caste mute girl. To win his love and dreams, Shravan fights the prevailing caste system, nepotism, politics, federation, bureaucracy and a lot more. Starring Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Shergill and Ravi Kisan in key roles, the film brings forth the ever-existing class and caste system in the suburbs of Uttar Pradesh and no one other than Kashyap could’ve presented in a form this raw.
Venturing into the genre of sports drama for the first time, the film is anything like the big budget wrestling films released last year, namely Sultan and Dangal. The sport- boxing- does appear to be the center of the story, but the narrative is more than just the sport and the player, it also includes direct hits at the self-proclaimed moral policing of gau-rakshas, pseudo-nationalism, 21st-century caste battle and much more. (And here we thought Kashyap was just making an innocent sport-story with an overused love-formula)
“This is the first time that I am having a premiere in my own country before the release and of a film that has been made under the radar with no star," said Kashyap before the screening. Well, to validate his statement the film connects because of the yet-to-be-famous star cast and the gritty portrayal of UPites. The director has done something similar with Gangs of Wasseypur and you can feel the aftertaste in Mukkabaaz as well. However, the film is not all grit and blood; there are elements of typical east UP banter and sarcasm that tickle the funny bone of every small-towner and the dark humour that makes you smirk at the smart usage of metaphors to mirror the kind of society (and constant fear) that one is living in.
Also notable is the strong portrayal of females in the film. A deliberate inclusion of few scenes and phrases explains how commendable is it that the director never forgets to give female actors enough meat and layers to shine throughout a male-dominated script.
To sum it up, Mukkabaaz is Kashyap in his true, rustic, UP form. A part everybody wanted to see and a part everybody missed. And while the true-blue Kashyap fans are going to love the execution of the film, the critics are going to be impressed by the way an overused genre in recent time has been reconstructed and reformatted to match the realism where every character and loses and wins at the same time. An equilibrium only a twisted mind like Kashyap’s can present perfectly.
No glitz, no glamour, Mukkabaaz constitutes strong performances and stronger narrative that engage the audience till the very end. An Anurag Kashyap’s patent.
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