After an exhausting day at work, a dark, gory film with an antakshari of ‘gaalis’ was the last thing I wanted to end my day with! Honestly, I was not very keen to watch Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz. I sneaked in some chicken nuggets from Mcdonalds to the theater, just to help me sit through the movie!
But after a scene or two, I was so engrossed in the film that I forgot all about those poor nuggets! I have enjoyed all the Rocky movies but this was our very own desi version of Rocky and even better because it was more relatable and more real.
The story is about the young aspiring boxer Shravan Singh (Vineet Kumar Singh ) from Bareilly who falls in love with Sunaina (Zoya Hussain), who happens to be the niece of his boss Bhagwan Das Mishra (Jimmy Shergill), who rules the small town with terror. While the story is quite predictable after that and we know what to expect because it is like those typical good old love stories. But that’s where we go wrong! Mukkabaaz is not just a love story or just a story about boxing, Anurag has touched upon caste, hypocrisies of our society, politics in sports and the workplace etc. The film has everything that an entertaining film needs from action to emotions, interesting twists, and humor. It’s about the everyday battles that a common man has to face.
Anurag has also interestingly given a modern touch to the story by bringing in technology to give voice to the voiceless Sunaina, in the film. Sunaina cannot speak but communicates through text messages, recordings, and photographs on her phone besides speaking in sign language. The film has mostly been shot in real locations, which only adds to the realistic feel. In between all the mukkas there are some very sweet romantic moments between Shravan and Sunaina.
The cast of Mukkabaaz deserves a loud applause! The performances by both the lead cast and the supporting cast were brilliant. This is by far Jimmy Shergill best performance. Jimmy as Bhagwan Das Mishra look every bit the man driven by violence and hatred and the typical male chauvinist. Ravi Kishan as the coach has done a wonderful job too. Zoya Hussain as Sunaina, the feisty young woman has played the role of a speech-impaired girl with so much conviction that it’s difficult to believe this is her debut film! What I liked about her character is that she’s not shown as just a hapless victim but a young girl who stands up for her rights. It’s amazing how she’s performed without a single dialogue and just through her expressions.
However, it’s Vineet Kumar Singh as Shravan who packs quite a punch in the film. This is the first time Vineet plays the main lead in a film and his dedication and hard work are quite evident from his performance in the film. Besides his performance, he even looks the part and looks fit enough for a boxing match in real life too!
While the first half was smooth, the second half could have been shorter in this 2 hour 25 minutes film. However, don’t give Mukkabaaz a miss!