Mukkabazz: Punches it’s way to the top!
Movie Review by Anand Jha (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Mukkabazz is a grim reminder of the caste politics and is most certainly a valiant effort from the Kashyap camp.
Mukkabazz is not just like any other boxing movie with a predictable climax, where an underdog works hard and wins it all. It’s a powerful jab in the face of prevailing caste system that runs like disease in our country. It is a social commentary on the caste system prevalent in Uttar Pradesh told through the perspective of a wannabe boxer.
The story is set in Bareilly and focuses on life of a low caste protagonist, Shravan Kumar (Vineet Kumar Singh), who dreams of boxing and landing a government job through sports quota. He does menial jobs for Bhagwan Das Mishra ( Jimmy Shergill), who plays an upper caste boxing coach-cum-local lord of Bareilly and the main antagonist of the film. Shravan’s love interest is Bhagwan Das’s niece Sunaina ( Zoya Hussain), who can’t speak. For a trivial reason (disclosed later in the film), Shravan earns the wrath of Bhagwan Das Mishra and the film traces his long and arduous journey of becoming a professional boxer. Needless to say, Shravan suffers from brutalities in the hands of Bhagwan Das that makes you shudder and the fact that Mukkabazz is based on true story will make you wince in pain.
The grim realities of the caste system prevalent in UP forms the backbone of the film. The grittiness and the sense of doom that one associates with a Anurag Kashyap film is well-entrenched. If you found NH10 dark, this film probably goes even one step beyond. The inescapability and omnipresence of danger engulfs the audience.
Mukkabazz has hard-hitting dialogues that strike the perfect chord and their veracity makes you smile at certain places. The screenplay is raw, leaves nothing to imagination and provides a real glimpse into the existing conditions. It also takes a dig at the ignorance of politicians about sports and other arenas. For instance, a local sports minister in the movie says Uttar Pradesh has produced many sports persons like Dhyan Chand, Mohammad Kaif and he also adds the name of great pugilist Muhammad Ali to the list and then ‘corrects’ himself by saying ‘Maaf kijiye, wo Kerala se the’.
Shravan Kumar’s character is based on a boxer from a humble family serving a wealthy Brahmin and Vineet Kumar Singh packs a punch with his powerful acting. Right from his expressions to the physical transformation, he gets into the skin of the character. Zoya Hussain as Sunaina, a mute, smart and independent girl has made her presence felt in a film that is filled with exceptional performances. Jimmy Shergill, as Bhagwan Das, the embodiment of evil gives another rousing performance and proves yet again, he is one of the most underrated actors of Bollywood. Bhojpuri star, Ravi Kishan also delivers a memorable performance as a dalit coach.
Director Anurag Kashyap has brought in the Gangs of Wasseypur chutzpah. The fine editing by Aarti Bajaj, known for films like Jab We Met and Tamasha, deserves a special mention. Another key aspect of the film is the background score, which almost stands out as a character in the film and gives you goosebumps in certain situations.
Watch it to feel and know the bitter truth that prevails in our country, the unjust caste system and the fact that Bollywood rarely comes out with such balsy efforts.