Still from the film ‘Mukkabaaz’.

‘Mukkabaaz’ Is So Much More Than Just Another Sports Film

This gripping drama packs a solid punch.

Movie Reviews
2 min read

‘Mukkabaaz’ is So Much More Than Just Another Sports Film

The Hindi heartland, with its grime, sweat and prejudices, somehow always proves to be the perfect turf for Anurag Kashyap to display his best – with Mukkabaaz, he pulls no punches.

From taking on cow vigilantes to the disturbingly vocal class and caste venom
being spewed, he spares no one. So to look at Mukkabaaz as merely a sports film is to see just a quarter of the movie.

Shravan Kumar Singh (Vineet Kumar Singh) is the best boxer in Bareilly, and yet it's not his opponents in the ring but those out of it that warrant most of his aggression and grit. Bhagwan Das Mishra (Jimmy Shergill) wears his caste on his sleeve, and when a Brahmin decides to order around the local Mukkabaaz with shoddy credentials of being called a Rajput, Shravan is expected to obey.

But Shravan refuses, which earns him the wrath of the politically connected baahubali and the favour of his wide-eyed niece Sunaina (Zoya Hussain). Sunaina communicates with Shravan by writing letters . She can't talk and he can't entirely understand the sign language. Their love comes as a respite in this gruelling grind.

It isn't as much about an underdog sportsperson breaking free from social shackles as about a sport that is fighting for its own dignity. The 145-min-long film plays out much like a bout itself, the adrenaline rush unrelenting.

The characters pulse and throb; be it the upright coach played with fitness and restrain by Ravi Kishen or the bloodshot eyes of Shergill’s Bhagwan Das, who delivers another solid performance. And in the midst of all this, the aspirations of Shravan and Sunaina swirl and scintillate – their desire to not let caste limit their destiny peppers the story with many rousing and crowd-pleasing moments.

The music by Rachita Arora is a necessary accoutrement of every carefully crafted scene, and it only makes the impact more powerful and dramatic.

Zoya Hussain is a find. Never less than astonishingly convincing as a girl who conveys so much without uttering a single word. And then there is Vineet Kumar Singh and his full-blooded commitment to dexterously build up his boxer character, who punches back as hard as he gets . He had come up with the original idea of the film and even penned the song Paintra, and Mukkabaaz owes so much of its panache to Vineet's on-screen brilliance. Hope Bollywood can do justice to the powerhouse of talent that he is.

Mukkabaaz is an Anurag Kashyap film, which means for the fastidious connoisseurs of his brand of cinema, it's time to rejoice. This gripping drama packs a solid punch.

Producer: Abhishek Ranjan

Camera Person: Abhay Sharma

Editor: Ashish Maccune

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