We often find ourselves cringing over the type of movies Bollywood serves us (Looking at you, Race 3)! But are we really ready to embrace the content-based cinema that a few filmmakers are trying to offer? If yes, then we should be thankful to director Anubhav Sinha, who has presented the harsh reality of the Indian society with his movie, Mulk.
Bringing communal issues to the screen, the film is based on the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb of Varanasi, and it really makes you think why, in 2018, are we still fighting because of religion?
It requires immense courage to deliver a film like Mulk when you know that it can give rise to various controversies. The topic is relevant and the mood is right: this division by faith is a fact and an everyday reality for Muslims in this country. The US vs THEM sentiment in the movie really makes an impact.
Rishi Kapoor portrays the character of a senior advocate Murad Ali Muhammad, who lives in Varanasi, in a predominantly Hindu neighbourhood. His wife Tabassum (Neena Gupta) is a homemaker. His younger brother Bilal Mohammad (Manoj Pahwa) resides in the same house, with his wife, daughter and a son Shahid (Prateik Babbar). Murad Ali's own son has settled in London, with his advocate wife Aarti Muhamad (Taapsee Pannu).
The characters seem real and the cast is well-thought. If Rishi Kapoor impresses as Murad Ali Muhammad, Taapsee leaves her mark on you with her essay of Aarti.
Muhammad's family is celebrating Murad Ali's 65th birthday when the news hits them. Shahid was a perpetrator of a bomb blast that killed 16 people. He is killed in an encounter by the police. The loss of a family member comes with the truth that he was a killer. Coming into terms with this, the family finds itself in the dirty pool of accusations. Now Shahid's father Bilal is dragged into the investigation, as an aide to Shahid, and the whole family is attacked again and again because of their religion. Anubhav Sinha says it plainly and subtly in the movie that Muslims are easy targets in our country and the roots of prejudice go deep.
What goes on inside a courtroom hits you hard. The reality of how prejudiced people can be against a community is something that this film portrays really well, especially in these scenes. Santosh Anand (Ashutosh Rana), the public prosecutor, has only one goal: to prove that the Muhammad family is involved in anti-national activities. The proceedings reach to a level when Aarti Muhammad has to take over the case from Murad Ali and fight for justice. This becomes a game-turner in the movie and we see Taapsee in all her glory.
Mulk deserves four stars and a huge round of applause for the hard work put in by the star cast! Taapsee has proven her acting skills many times but Mulk may be her finest performance till date. Rishi Kapoor has lost himself in the character of Murad Ali; I could barely see the Rishi Kapoor in his Murad Ali! Ashutosh Rana is at the top of his game as always and his villainous character of Santosh Anand would be remembered, even if for all the wrong reasons.
Watch the movie for the brilliant screenplay, excellent acting and to understand the harsh reality of our society.
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