Directed by the brilliant Anurag Kashyap, starring talented actors like Vineet Kumar Singh along with Jimmy Shergill, Mukkabaaz had set itself up to high expectations. While Mukkabaaz stepped away from the norms of our film industry, it couldn’t really keep itself away from it. Within a few minutes of the film’s start, we see an aspiring wrestler Shravan Singh falling in love with Sunaina, who later becomes the love of his life. Her uncle, Bhagwan Das unleashes his torment on the couple but they manage to defeat him. Such a cliché model is mainstream in Bollywood since its inception. In the movie, Shravan’s love story becomes the plot and the fight against corrupt sports management becomes the setting. For anyone who despises such a cliché, the movie can become tough to watch.
Shravan Singh is a man who stood up for himself, and pursued his passion wholeheartedly. But, life is never easy for a person who does that. Bhagwan Das, the villian of the movie, was a disinterested trainer who used his disciples as personal help. When Shravan confronts him to focus on their professional training, Das’ ego decides to unleash a reign of terror over Singh’s life. Interestingly, at the end, Shravan’s love for Sunaina makes him give up wrestling, a passion and profession he had fought for (literally, and metaphorically).
Filled with several fights, the movie runs for over two and a half hours which can get exhausting for the audience. In an attempt to make it realistic, Vineet Kumar Singh followed a rigorous boxing regime to look like a boxer, who is fit enough to box for real. The film engages the audience with a pragmatic approach, steering away from the cliché of victory-of-good-over-evil.
The movie touches upon the oppressive politics of caste, class, and power in a subtle yet powering way. In one scene, Bhagwan Das gets beef delivered to Shravan’s trainer who is later pummelled into a coma by the rightist Hindu mob as an attempt to hinder Shravan from wrestling. In another scene, Bhagwan Das gets his niece married off for his own benefit, showing that marriage has become institution out of force rather than love. Impregnated with insidious commentary on the current societal issues along with the open criticism of the deceitful, and the crooked sports management, Mukkabaaz is definitely a must watch.
Feature Image Credits: koimoi.com