Banner: Benaras MediaWorks, Soham Rockstar Entertainment
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Principal Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Prateik Babbar
Music Director: Prasad Sashte, Anurag Saikia
Duration: 140 Minutes
TopYaps Rating: ★★★☆☆
Murad Ali Mohammed (Rishi Kapoor) is a highly respected, retired advocate of Varanasi, who has been living peacefully with his joint family in a Hindu-dominated area of the city for years. On a surprise visit, his London-based daughter-in-law Aarti Mohammed (Taapsee Pannu) lands in India to celebrate his 65th birthday. Everything is perfect in the family. However, things take a tragic turn when Murad’s nephew Shahid Mohammed (Prateik Babbar) carries out a deadly terrorist attack in the city, which claims 16 innocent lives.
The incident wreaks havoc on the whole family and Murad and his brother Bilal (Manoj Pahwa) are accused of encouraging and training Shahid for carrying out terror activities. Aarti is appalled to see how easily her innocent family has been branded as the family of terrorists, with slogans like “Go to Pakistan” written all over the wall. Unwell Bilal breathes his last halfway through the case.
Aarti will have to fight for her family, for the truth and justice. To acquit Murad of all charges and, most importantly, to bring back the honour of the family, Aarti takes up the case in her hand and fights for justice. Whether or not she gets justice forms the crux of the story. In this Mulk review we can reveal only that much.
Before I begin to analyze its worth, I would like to say that Mulk is an uncannily timed movie which will resonate with people who don’t want any tampering with the secular structure of our great country.
The film has an interesting premise and takes off on a good note. However, as things move forward, Mulk suffers from a slow pace. After a point, you kind of feel you are not completely engrossed and your mind races ahead of the plot. There is no doubt that the first half of the movie needed better trimming.
Thankfully, Mulk does not face any pace issues in the second half as it flows freely. A lot is happening on the screen, which is engaging enough to heighten your hunger for a tight climax. As the movie approaches its conclusion, director Anubhav Sinha paces it up with well-written dialogues and crisp editing.
The arc of Mulk may be conventional and filled with many done to death contrivances, but actors make it look so real with their stirring performances that you forget to focus on many weak points of the narrative.
The movie is headlined by Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu, two immensely talented actors who have proved their mettle time and again. Kapoor, in the role of Murad Ali Mohammed, is aptly cast. He makes you feel the pain, disgrace, and helplessness of a man whose family has been branded as a family of terrorists. From the opening to the final shot, he carries the film in the best way possible and makes it his own.
Taapsee as Aarti is convincing in the part. After playing a brief and half-cooked part in her most recent release Soorma, she returns to do something more remarkable, gratifying, and appealing. However, in some heavy-handed scenes with veteran Rishi Kapoor, she does look a little nervous. But the actress strikes back before it’s too late. Prateik Babbar is passable. In the supporting cast, Manoj Pahwa, Neena Gupta and Ashutosh Rana are impressive.
As the captain of the ship, Anubhav Sinha does a brilliant job sketching his characters surrounded by complex and contradictory political and religious context. He takes full advantage of Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu’s considerable talent and makes his point without being preachy, and that’s where his win as a filmmaker lies.
If not great, Mulk is certainly a harrowingly brave and, most importantly, an honest film by Sinha as he does not shy away from showing the horrendous repercussions of religious bigotry in a very thoughtful and sensitive manner.
Here is what we have to say as the final verdict of this Mulk review. Barring a few glitches, it is an interesting film powered by captivating performances, competent direction and engrossing storytelling. It’s earnest in its intentions, to say the least. If you like serious films which carry with themselves political and religious undertones, you will enjoy it. If you are fond of regular, commercial potboilers, then Mulk is not meant for you.
Before you plan to watch the film, watch Mulk trailer here: