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[Mulk Review] Old Wine, New Bottle

Overall the movie is old wine in new bottle.

A still from movie

Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Ashutosh Rana, Prateik Babbar, Rajat Kapoor, Manoj Pahwa, Neena Gupta

Director: Anubhav Sinha

Rating: 2 stars (Out of 5)

The central theme of the movie, Mulk, revolves around the most critical subject of our times, Islamophobia. Because of a few extremists in the community, Muslims in a secular and democratic country are under scanner and pressure to prove their loyalty towards their nation. Otherwise, the movie blatantly ignores on how hardline Hindutva is exploiting the sensitive factor of this issue to justify thugs, mobs and damaging the secular fabric of the country.

The peaceful co-existence of Hindus & Muslims in a locality of Banaras takes a hit when Shahid (Prateik), who gets radicalized by Mehfooz Alam, blasts a bus leaving sixteen casualties, and this is followed by his death in an encounter by Danish (Rajat Kapoor) of the Anti Terror Squad. As a result, Shahid’s father, Bilal (Manoj Pahwa) is detained on accusation of helping his son in committing the gruesome act. This poses a challenge to the lawyer, Murad (Rishi Kapoor) who is elder brother of Bilal and Murad’s daughter-in-law, Aarti (Tapasee Panu), also an advocate. In contrast, Public prosecutor Santosh (Ashutosh Rana) has no second thought except declaring Islam as root cause of the terrorism and the evidences he holds are the direct copy of propaganda manufactured in Right Wing internet groups. The crux of the movie is courtroom drama which bashes everything against Muslims which starts from having more kids to killing innocents in the name of Jihad. In a nutshell, Mulk throws light on how young Muslims are trapped in the name of community service and then radicalized and resultantly their whole family gets cornered by society and eventually the whole community’s image gets tarnished.

Anubhav Sinha who is widely known for his action films smartly pulls off this project with a very much preconceived notion that All Muslims are not terrorists. However, at the time where biggies of Bollywood are mum on different episodes of Hindutva terror, Anubhav Sinha attempts to shoot from the shoulder of Muslims to hint the existence of Right wing terror.

The movie has very disappointing screenplay. It gives a sense that dialogues were compiled first followed by story writing to fit into those dialogues which as a result impacted the totality of film genre. And hence it’s neither Drama nor Thriller. Since the script is loosely written, Sinha couldn’t unfold the story to thrill the audience. The background score was not at all convincing. However dialogues were backbone of this movie. Especially the “HUM” & “WO” dialogue by Tapasee and Kumud Mishra as the judge gets to speak some sensible points on history and weight of constitution. The best part of the movie was Rishi Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana and Rajat Kapoor whose outstanding performances strike right chord in keeping the audience engaged.

Overall the movie is old wine in new bottle, where it not only stresses that good Muslims are being prejudiced because of bad Muslims but also drops an unexploded bomb on fringe groups and right wing terror.