Mulk Review - A Pink In Different Milieu
Anubhav Sinha's MULK is basically PINK dealing with a different issue. If Pink is about court questioning victims of sexual abuse.. Mulk deals with the stereotypes thrown on Indian Muslims by law and media. If it is Taapsee and her friends charged of cases there.. here it is Rishi Kapoor and his family! If it is Amitabh there.. here it is Taapsee herself helping the victims to get convicted free of charge.
The film opens with a happy Muslim family. We are introduced to characters.. more characters and even more characters. A sangeet sort of song is happening. So much dance, old couple flirtings and sweets.. cutting gradually to a tragedy the next day. Prateik Babbar who plays Shahid gets involved in an explosion for Jihad. We slowly get to know that he is brainwashed by wrong hands in the name of religion. Right before he is tracked down and killed.. he shares a gun point conversation over phone with his family about freedom. The whole of family pleads to convince him but all goes in vain.
Soon as he is dead.. the entire town and media turns their head towards the family for pampering a terrorist all these days. They are constantly asked to go to Pakistan. Stones are thrown at their house during wee hours. Shahid's father is taken under custody for interrogation. The family refuses to accept Shahid's deadbody as well.
But despite of all this thumping heavy sequences.. we barely feel it hitting us. None of the characters except that of Aarti stays with us. Hence we don't care when things happen to them. And the melodramatic treatment doesn't help as well. What could have left a spine-chilling realism vibe is mostly presented to us in slow motions and with pathos scores underlining it.
Mulk explores the conventional stereotyped opinions on Muslims and Terrorisms that's very relevant to today's times. From usage of a particular word to offend a community in the eyes of court to the communal unrest that takes over in a small town, it captures the aftermath when one single person gets lost in track of law.
As a very predictable courtroom drama that we are pretty much used to since a while.. Mulk offers nothing new as a cinematic experience. We know the pattern - an incident.. its what & how.. followed by denial of rights to the victim.. followed by screaming argumentations in the court.. final breakdowns.. truth being convicted out of charge. It is all over the same here. Also what is with this rise in overt nationalistic films these days? Ghazi, Raazi, Parmanu and now this!
And there are super distracting subplots. The death of Shahid's father due to him being medical unwell, Aarti's disturbed relationship status stands as poppingly cut out as they are. They neither add an emotional trauma to the story nor score on their own. When Shahid's father is dead like few scenes after Shahid's death.. we hardly feel it. It doesn't come off as a blow to family as well.
The only silver-lining to the film is Taapsee. She is incredibly growing with every film. If in Pink, she shined as a silenced, shut down victim who breaks down when pushed to the extreme.. here she is stubborn enough to exert back the pressures imposed on her. It is not just in the confrontation courtroom scenes she nails as an actor. But look at those scenes in the house where she hardly speaks.. like when she finds through TV that Shahid is involved in a terrorism activity or when she converses with Rajat Kapoor for the first time. From the shook body language to little eye contacts.. she brings an impactful presence to the screen. It will be a forever regret on South Indian Cinema for not to note the actress in her all this while.
Taapsee as Aarti shines brighter than ever in MULK, an yet another courtroom drama that is blatantly generic and pretentious.
Rating : 2.5/5