Mukkabaaz lands the right punches!
Rating: 4 /5
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Shergill, Ravi Kishan, Rajesh Tailang
Mukkabaaz is a story of a boxer at the outset but there is much more. It is a film that exposes how we as a nation are still not disturbed and disgusted enough at how Dalits are exploited and harmed constantly.
And how we regard all non-cricketing sports. With not enough support and attention.
The Mukkabaaz Story:
All Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh) wants is to be a boxer. And all Bhagwan Das Mishra (Jimmy Shergill), the local political heavyweight wants is to stop Shravan to give up the dream and stay in their “aukaat”. The “aukaat” set by economic realities and caste differences. This is compounded by the fact that Shravan also loves Sunaina, Bhagwan’s niece.
Bhagwan has ensured that for the past three years Shravan has not been given a clearing certificate to play at the state level. Shravan’s own father rues the futility of the son’s dream. Shravan has no money and no contacts and his dogged optimism in the light of all this almost painful to watch. This is what makes him heroic.
With the wise and compassionate guidance of Sanjay Kumar, Shravan begins training and lands in a government job in the sports quota. He also manages to marry Sunaina (Zoya Hussain). His problems have just begun.
With caste exploitation at play in Mukkabaaz, his seniors at the job, pile on work that is not his or waste his training time. He also struggles with expectations of Sunaina, one being that he learns the sign language. And then there are his training regime which is getting intense. He somehow manages to balance all and go on. Suanina melts and gives him space. He works extra hard at his training. And at work, though he does not balk at the work that a peon was supposed to be doing as is office work, he gives it back loud and clear to the boss who expects him to run the latter’s personal errands.
With the help of friends and his own steely determination, Shravan is finally able to give Bhagwan what he truly deserves – a beating within an inch of his life.
Excellent cast, Mukkabaaz has many sterling performances. Ravi Kishan makes a mark with his restrained and mature performances a Dalit coach especially in a scene when Bhagwan blatanty asks him his caste.
Jimmy Shergill is decent but doesn’t really rise above Raja Awasthi in Tanu Weds Manu. Vineet is impressive and so is Zoya who debuts with this film.
A special mention however must be made of Rajesh Tailang who plays Shravan’s father and Sadhna Singh who plays Sunaina’s mother.
The narrative does a great job of marrying issues of urgent importance seamlessly in what would have otherwise been just a sports film. There is no coyness or hesitation in exposing the ugliness that our society has learnt to unfortunately, live with. Especially the Brahmanical arrogance and how it cruelly feeds into the aspirations and even daily lives of Dalits.
However, that is what makes the use of “lower caste” in the promos at the end of the film? Why not use the word Dalit, the politically correct term that the community prefers!
Overall, Mukkabaaz must be watched and reflected upon.
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