Actor Manoj Pahwa's performance as Bilaal Mohammed in Mulk was a mirror to the society that appropriates violence to a certain community or religion. Pahwa's vulnerable playact in the Anubhav Sinha directorial has earned him the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Reel Movie Awards 2019.
Pahwa, 55, clinched the honour while outshining the likes of Pankaj Tripathi (Stree), Sunil Grover (Patakhaa), Vicky Kaushal (Raazi) and Jaideep Ahlawat (Raazi).
Mulk is based in Varanasi and follows the story of a Muslim family that are accused of facilitating terrorist activities, in associating with slain terrorist and Bilaal's son Shahid Mohammed (Prateik Babbar).
Bilaal's character in the film was driven by deep-seated insecurities (he does not earn much as compared to his brother), and the situation is compounded when he is falsely charged with assisting extremism, targeted towards the nation.
Pahwa got into the skin of the character with effortless ease. Owing to his social and cultural standing, inside the house and outside, the sheepish Bilal does not even meet people in the eye while talking. Bilaal dies in the second act of the film, but his performance was so understated and nuanced that viewers were conscientiously reminded of their baseless and inherent prejudices.
After the nominations were announced, Pahwa told News18, “Working on this film was challenging as over the years, I had only been offered roles of happy-go-lucky, funny guys. My Bilaal Ali Mohammed in Mulk was a very emotional, nuanced character. I had a great time doing it."
This is Pahwa's maiden nomination and win at the Reel Awards.