Mulk, a film by Anubhav Sinha, strikes the right chord of humanity. It does convey in the very beginning that the film is inspired from the true events. Mulk is an attempt to raise the voice against the prejudices existing in our country (as well as at a global level too). The word Terrorism is connected instantly and spontaneously to the community Muslims. But the film very strongly tries to put across the dictionary meaning of the word ‘Terrorism’ which is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”. So, as per the definition, many other activities could also fall under terrorism. Terrorism is actually criminal not communal. Terrorism does not have anything to do with the religion. But the frame of reference is in such a manner that we label a community synonym to terrorism. The film also projects a very sensitive topic in the most sensible manner. The film highlights that the Mulk is divided between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. This very differentiation makes the whole problem even more challenging to be solved. The film did attract controversies in the social media for the statistics mentioned in the poster. This review does not focus on any statistics or data or facts or figures but this review definitely highlights that how relevant it is to have such a film even in 2018, post 71 years of independence. The film is indeed very close to the reality. Some might compare the film with Garam Hawa (a masterpiece film released in 1973). Garam Hawa dealt with the plight of those people as well as the adverse situations faced by them who chose to stay back in India itself and decided not to migrate to Pakistan. Even after so many years, the wound of partition has not healed. Mulk not only focuses on the plight of a North Indian Muslim family who chose India post-independence, but also it emphasizes on the poisoned mindset which needs to be changed, the frames of references which need reality checks. It is not that the film does not get preachy at times, it is not that at times drama gets a bit exaggerated, but these can be very well ignored since the intention of the film is too good and needs to be applauded. Not only every Indian but every human being all across the globe must watch Mulk, since it is the necessity of the mankind to have peace all across the ecosystem especially when we are living in a nation of religious, social, cultural, linguistic diversities.
The film begins with a beautiful concept of how a simple dot and its placement changes the meaning of Khuda (خدا) to Juda (جدا). It is in the streets of Banaras, where Shahid (Prateik) enters the screen. Shahid is the son of Tabassum (Prachee Shah Pandya) and Bilaal Mohammed (Manoj Pehwa). Bilaal is the younger brother of Murad Ali Mohammed (Rishi Kapoor). Neena Gupta plays the role of another Tabassum as wife of Murad Ali. Aarti (Taapsee) is married to Murad and Tabassum’s son Farhad (played by Indraneil Sengupta – both settled in London). Shahid’s sister Aayat is shown to be attracted towards Shahid’s friend Rasheed (Ashrut Jain). It is the celebration time in the family, since it is Murad Ali’s 65th birthday and Aarti joins the family for the celebrations. The family is celebrating on one side but they are completely unaware of what is in store for them ahead. One of the family members is identified to be a terrorist responsible for a bomb blast and he is further killed in the encounter. There begins the ordeal of the whole family and a very intense court drama. Murad Ali, who himself is an advocate, finds himself to be accused by the prosecution. Murad’s family is ridiculed, humiliated, hounded, ostracized by the society, friends and they even get attacked by a stone-throwing mob. The public prosecutor’s character Santosh Anand is played by Ashutosh Rana. Santosh is sarcastic. Dialogues used for his most of the arguments focus on the poisoned mindset, venom and the prejudices which the society holds against a particular community. He does not leave any stone unturned to tar the entire community for the violent actions committed by a few. Santosh versus Aarti courtroom drama is intense.
The film is predictable, rather the clue is given right at the beginning. But what makes it engaging is how the drama unfolds. Most of the dialogues are hard-hitting. The characters of Rajat Kapoor (Anti Terrorist Squad officer – Danish) and immensely likeable Kumud Mishra playing the judge are sketched in such a way that the film does not turn out to be a one-sided affair. Although One must not expect the subtlety in the film.
Music could have certainly been better. ‘Khudara’ song is good. Another thing which the screenplay missed out to justify probably is the character sketching of one of the supporting cast, who admits only later after much reluctance that he was aware of his friend’s terrorist links. What made him change his decision to come out in open is not clear.
Rishi Kapoor is just awesome as a protective head of the family who gives a very restrained performance. In spite of being victimized, he kept his love for the nation intact. His helpless expressions at times itself raised many questions. A dialogue where he shares with his daughter-in-law Taapsee that how actually he could prove his love for the nation would pierce your heart. Taapsee has proved her acting mettle once again with Mulk. She is good as a defense lawyer, where she brings in the perfect balance towards her roles as a lawyer and also as the daughter-in-law trying to protect her family. Her aghast expressions would also leave you in shock at times. Manoj Pahwa, who is generally so good with the comedy, steals the show this time in the terrific and serious role of Bilaal. Ashutosh as Santosh Anand is also too good, one will hate him for his dialogues. Another set of noticeable performances come from Kumud Mishra as the judge, Neena Gupta and Prachee as Tabassum. Rajat Kapoor as always is very good as Anti-Terrorist Squad officer. Prateik Babbar, Ashrut Jain, Indraneil Sengupta, Atul Tiwari (Chaube) come on screen for a short while though, but are good and do justice to their roles. Ayaat’s role is also played well. Shot in the bylanes of Banaras, the cinematography captures the essence of the town – be it capturing the streets, or Masaan or street shops etc.
Mulk, a film by Anubhav Sinha, strikes the right chord of humanity. Mulk is an attempt to raise the voice against the prejudices existing in our country. Mulk not only focuses on the plight of a North Indian Muslim family who chose India post-independence, but also it emphasizes on the poisoned mindset which needs to be changed, the frames of references which need reality checks. It is not that the film does not get preachy at times, it is not that at times the drama gets a bit exaggerated, but these can be very well ignored since the intention of the film is too good and needs to be applauded. Not only every Indian but every human being all across the globe must watch Mulk, since it is the necessity of the mankind to have peace all across the ecosystem especially when we are living in a nation of religious, social, cultural, linguistic diversities.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good+)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Rishi Kapoor (Murad Ali Mohammed), Taapsee Pannu (Aarti), Rajat Kapoor (Danish), Neena Gupta and Prachee (Tabassum), Manoj Pahwa (Bilaal Mohammed), Ashutosh Rana (Santosh Anand), Prateik Babbar (Shahid), Ashrut Jain (Rashid), Indraneil Sengupta,
Directed by: Anubhav Sinha
Produced by: Deepak Mukut and Anubha Sinha
Written by: Anubhav Sinha
Music: Songs – Prasad Sashte, Anurag Saikia, Score: Mangesh Dhakde
Cinematography: Ewan Mulligan
Edited by: Ballu Saluja
Production Company: Banaras Mediaworks, Soham Rockstar Entertainment
Release Date: 3rd August, 2018
Duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes