By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | August 04, 2018

Rating: 3 / 5


The essence: The end is mirrored beautifully to the prosecuting lawyer, those gathered in the courtroom and the viewers, that the perceived “They and “Us” conundrum is nothing but a ploy! Mulk is hard-hitting in that sense.

Mulk is peppered with delicious performances. For lovers of cinema who delight in characters ‘nailing it’, this Anubhav Sinha presentation gives an adrenalin rush to the viewer. There’s Manoj Pahwa, who perhaps has delivered a performance of a lifetime. There’s Kumud Mishra who as the judge handles the proceedings with a lilt in his body language that befits a sharp judge. There’s Rishi Kapoor who as the elder of the Mohammed clan shines and Ashutosh Rana, the prosecuting lawyer, who is devious to the core without being a terrorist!

Then there is Prateik Babbar who impacts with his small power-house performance that forms the crux of the story. And even though the role is small, his Shahid Mohammed keeps coming back to haunt you and his family. Sharp and precise. Tapsee Pannu gets a meaty role but fails to pack a punch: that special something that catapults a brilliant performance into a superlative one is missing. Perhaps it’s the same facial expressions she exhibits in her every role has to play a big part in that. Rajat Kapoor has a small role as the head of ATS but comes out with all guns blazing.

Coming back to Kumud Mishra, he reminds one of Saurabh Shukla from Jolly LLB, minus the histrionics. Quality-wise he is spot on. The manner in which he perceives the arguments, adding a little bit of static sarcasm, is astute. His final verdict with a reminder to the people gathered in the courtroom and the viewers to “look at the calendar” referring to those who indulge in the “They” and “Us” conundrum, reminding us of the upcoming elections, is the deadly kick to the solar plexus delivered with panache.

Anubhav Sinha has a plot that is tried and dusted and at one particular point in the courtroom it suddenly falls flat. This is when Rishi Kapoor as Murad Ali Mohammed is explaining how he is not terrorist. Thankfully, the brilliant performances raise the film to another level and even Sinha scoops the script in the courtroom to give it a twist. In the end, the argument is more academic that fact-based.

Shahid (Prateik Babbar) is one of the three who have been killed by the police after the intelligence agencies find out that they were responsible for the blast in a bus that killed 16 people. The entire family is branded as terrorist and their Hindu neighbours who they have been living with peacefully since Independence in Benaras and who shielded them during the 1992 riots now turn their backs on them. Ostracized, humiliated, harassed by the police and even attacked by the ‘elements’, Murad decides to fight to prove his family’s innocence. Shahid has been swayed and preyed upon by fanatics who want to ‘protect’ their Muslim brothers and sisters.

The end is mirrored beautifully to the prosecuting lawyer, those gathered in the courtroom and the viewers, that the perceived “They and “Us” conundrum is nothing but a ploy!

Mulk is hard-hitting in that sense.

Producer: Deepak Mukut, Anubhav Sinha
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Star Cast: Manoj Pahwa, Rishi Kapoor, Prateik Babbar, Tapsee Pannu, Rajat Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Kumud Mishra

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