The phrase “this movie changed my life” has been overused and thus, lost its meaning. It takes a whole lot of effort for a piece of art to change the way we look at things for a longer period of time, to have a deeper impact on us even when we wake up the next day.
Mukkabaaz is that kind of a film.
The story takes place in Anurag Kashyap’s arena: Uttar Pradesh, a milieu that the director has a strong command over. And yet, one would find themselves searching for ‘Kashyapesque’ elements in all the wrong places. It’s easy to forget, during the course of the film, that the film has been directed by Anurag Kashyap because Mukkabaaz is very different from the Anurag Kashyap style of filmmaking we’re used to
For starters, the film has too many songs. In fact, it wouldn’t even be a surprise if you find yourself counting the number of songs. But that’s the domain the film is based in. Like all Anurag Kashyap films, music never takes away from the pace of the story.
The background score is as edgy and fierce as as the central character of the film. The seamless weaving of gut-wrenching background score with on-screen action is something Anurag Kashyap will be known for, long after he’s gone.
Hussain Haidry’s words on Nucleya’s music gives the film a unique texture that oddly satisfies the mood of the film.
The plot of the film has been thoroughly explored to give birth to numerous micro-stories that operate simultaneously with the central plot. The dialogues of the film often end up saying more than the viewer can comprehend in one attempt.
It’s the story of a boxer from a small Indian city and how his boxing career falls prey to the caste system. In the barren land of boxing films in India, Mukkabaaz could well easily be India’s Raging Bull.
The entire cast delivers a stellar performance with Jimmy Shergill and Ravi Kishan reinventing audience’s perception of them. The film however, belongs to a phenomenal Vineet Kumar Singh who’s also the writer on the film. From the training montages to the vulnerable moments, Vineet Kumar Singh captures the audience’s attention by the throat and doesn’t let go till the very last frame.
The thing with Anurag Kashyap films is that they’re never extrapolative, you don’t see what’s coming next. Fast paced editing and unpredictable shot-division put you at the very centre of the film’s canvas.
It is however, the scenes of humor that instantly take you back to the universe of Anurag Kashyap. The humor is dark and very very real. In fact the scenes of dark humor serve as your reminder that it’s a true-blue Anurag Kashyap film.
We see two characters with the same name asking each other’s names in the middle of the worst kind of chaos prevalent in contemporary India. And that dark humor is very real.
The build up, the climax, the reaction of people watching the film.. they don’t make cinema like this very often. No other film comes to mind that has had the same kind of impact on the Indian caste system as Mukkabaaz has the potential of.
It’s difficult to say what the fate of the film will be however what can definitely be said is that it’s a lot to take in and a lot to give up on.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Mukkabaaz is Anurag Kashyap’s finest film till date, well maybe next only to Wasseypur. For everyone’s piece of mind, Mukkabaaz deserves 4.5/5.
Things are going to change around here.