Director: Anurag Kashyap
Producer(s): Eros, Aanand L Rai, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kishan, Jimmy Shergill, Rajesh Tailang
There are very few people who can pull off a realistic and gritty tale like Mukkabaaz director, Anurag Kashyap. Although the trailer and the posters, that will be up from this Friday, will give you the impression of a sports drama with a love angle (and to be honest, the Rocky vibes too), but make no mistake, for the film is much more than what the promos will tell you. The film deals with the caste system, the lack of respect for athletes outside the realm of cricket and the power of true love in a word soured with hate, and that’s just a glimpse of a long list of themes that Kashyap has seamlessly blended into the story of the Mike Tyson of Uttar Pradesh.
To give you a short glimpse of what the film is about, it is the story of Shravan Singh, the one who has been hailed as one of the best boxers that the gritty state of UP has seen. The man falls in love with the Sunaina (Zoya Hussain), the niece of his former boss, ex-boxer and a renowned politician, Bhagwan Das Mishra (Jimmy Shergill) who, as you will see, Shravan ends up having a beef with at the very beginning. Soon, Bhagwan, as you’d expect any man in power with a beef to behave, becomes the ultimate obstacle between Shravan and his dreams and the love of his life. After being banned from competing through his hometown, Bareilly, at the state level competition, he heads off to Benaras, only to eventually be taken under the wings of Sanjay Kumar (Ravi Kishan). What unfolds after that? You’d think you have figured it out, but it is NOTHING that you’re expecting it to be.
As far as performances go, Vineet Kumar Singh is in top form and all the blood, sweat and tears that he has put in for his character is clearly seen. Sure, no character portrayal is perfect and Vineet’s Shravan has its own share of inconsistencies, but it is that which makes his character more relatable and someone you’d want to root for. One would believe that if a character is mute, he/she would hardly have anything to do, but Zoya Hussain has proven us dead wrong. Her abilities to convey her message (and in some cases, rebellion) simply through her expressions is simply on-point. But, that’s not all that she uses to communicate. When you see the film, you will observe one of the other themes of the film: One can go to any lengths to do what they want. On the other hand, there are seasoned actors like Ravi Kishan and Jimmy Shergill whom you simply cannot compliment enough. You’d expect nothing less than pure brilliance from them.
As far as the script is concerned, the film has a lot of literal and figurative punches to throw at you in the first half, which will feel moving swiftly, thanks to a lot of witty and funny dialogues which are bound to make you chuckle. But, be prepared for a little less verbal and more physical jabs in the second half as the quest for love takes off. But, there’s nothing that will not keep you at the edge of your seat, even if it feels that it has been stretched too much.
Our Verdict: Go check out the tale of this Mukkabaaz if you’re the kind who likes to be entertained like you probably were by Gangs Of Wasseypur and were made to face the dark reality to today and age like Ugly. Don’t let a sloppy screenplay and two terribly placed songs hold you back.