MULK, the lowest profile release amongst the three releases this week (the others being the Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Aishwarya Rai starrer FANNEY KHAN and the Irrfan Khan starrer KARVAAN) could well turn out to be the classic underdog. The only reason that I put this movie as the first one to be seen in this week was Shoojit Sircar, a director who has scored consistently in whatever genre he has attempted. Be it the unusual comedy in VICKY DONOR, the thriller in MADRAS CAFÉ, the slice-of-life narration in PIKU or silence in the intensely poignant OCTOBER, Shoojit has set new benchmarks. And when I read about how Shoojit encouraged MULK’s director Anubhav Sinha to go ahead and not give up on this project, I felt that Shoojit must have seen merit in this theme.
And thank you, Anubhav Sinha, for making MULK.
MULK is easily the most hard hitting film in recent times; and if only to shatter prejudices nurtured by millions of our countrymen , this movie must get relentless publicity from all government sources and be made a compulsory watch both in the hinterland and urban areas. It has taken Anubhav Sinha a lot of courage to make MULK and his efforts must not go waste. In the current context prevalent in our country, where prejudices are so easily fomented by what appears in social media, MULK stands out like a grim tale of caution. And the last few sentences spoken in the movie by the judge (played by Kumud Mishra) contain reams of advice on how to fight the formation and nurturing of prejudices.
Based on a real life incident, and filmed against the background of the dingy lanes in Benares, MULK tells the tale of the ordeals of a family, one of whose members is involved in a terrorist activity. And when one of the lead characters pleadingly asks, “How can I prove my loyalty to my country (MULK)?”, something within you stirs up. How does one prove one’s innocence when everyone around you is wearing sheaths of prejudices woven carefully by misinformation? And when, thanks to the ever pervading influence of social media, everyone on the street feels that he can don the mantle of the judge and therefore even metes out the punishment?
MULK is not without flaws, but that doesn’t deter it from making the point. And whether it is Rishi Kapoor playing the role of the loyal countryman caught in this situation or Tapsee Pannu, who plays a Hindu married into a Muslim family and who takes on the role of a lawyer to fight the case, or Rajat Kapoor, the police person battling his own devils, the performances are outstanding.
If you care about the issues this movie raises, you must watch MULK!
RATING: 4 out of 5
August 3, 2018