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‘Mukkabaaz’ Movie Review: Anurag Kashyap’s most sensitive film

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Mukkabaaz
A still from the movie.

New Delhi, Jan 12: Starring: Vineet Kumar, Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Sheirgill, Ravi Kissan, Directed by Anurag Kashyap

Rating: ****

Really, we couldn’t hope for a better start to our movie-going spree in 2018. Mukkabaaz is many things at the same time. To begin with it isano, it not just an ode to pugilism. It is an ode to that thing called love.

Mukkabaaz is Anurag Kashyap’s most romantic film to date. It’s about, believe it or not, love at first sight when Bareilly’s self-proclaimed Mike Tyson, aka Shravan Singh (Vineet Singh, startling in his transformation into a ferocious fighter) happens to see Sunaina (newcomer Zoya Hussain, expressive in her silences).

The sequence where Shravan falls in love brilliantly yokes violence and tenderness, and sets the pace for what is to follow. This is a film steeped in the ethos of ethnicity, immersed in the culture of caste and gender prejudices.

But it’s not as bereft of hope and humour as one would think Kashyap’s milieu of mofussil mayhem would be. This is a mellower more sensitive world, a world of love and compassion in a universe of corruption and debauchery.

The smalltown setting is chilling in its bold undertones of violence. Kashyap’s Bareilly (as we come to know the setting to be) is run by a glorified goon Bhagwan Das Mishra (Jimmy Sheirgill) a sadistic patron-saint, who early in the narrative asks the local Tyson to drink his urine from a bottle, “like holy water”.

We never know whether Shravan actually performs the offensive act of subservience. The film’s anxious editors (Arati Bajaj, Ankit Bidyadhar) cut away from the sordid sequence of subjugation.

But knowing Shravan we can easily conclude he would never eat shit, or drink pee. This is a boy-man on a mission to prove to the world and his disapproving father, that boxing is not a soft option but a hard career decision.

In the film’s most powerfully acted episode Shravan hits back hard at his father’s contemptuous reading of his son’s ambitions, taunting the older man for achieving so little in life. It’s a scene of abject filial cruelty performed with such guilt and hurt by Vineet Kumar, that a potentially stereotypical father-son confrontation scene acquires a towering personality denoting the entire gamut of conflicts that go into the aspirations of one generation as they are passed on to another.

Son says, father has no respect for his passion. Father thins son is talking about ‘fashion’. It’s a silly confusion, that hides the larger growing tensions simmering in small towns where youngsters want to make something of their lives. But what????

Linguistic confusion plays a major part in driving the plot forward. The actor Shree Dhar Dubey who plays the hero’s buddy insists on using smatterings of angrezi in his conversations. A conceit that infuriates our Shravan.

Elsewhere cow vigilantes are busy, for no particular reason, thrashing a suspect while someone films the brutality on a phone. In the smalltown fables of Kashyap and his ilk of directors mofussil directors, video recordings on phone are indicative of how roughly hewn technology is into every day life.

Our hero roughs up his casteist senior at his workplace. When the man wets himself in fear Shravan gleefully films the man’s humiliation. It’s not just villains who expose their dirty subconscious.

The dialogues and situations are pronouncedly scatological, as they are wont to be in a Kashyap film. But the tone changes oh-so-delicately when Shravan is around the love of his life. Balancing between bouts of boxing brutality and episodes of unfettered tenderness Mukkabaaz is Anurag Kashyap’s most vividly written and fluidly executed film since the underrated Dev D.

The performances are so powerful you fear they would outdistance the director’s mastery over the patois of mayhem, and none more powerful than Vineet Kumar in a career-making role and performance that compares favourably with Robert de Niro’s boxer’s shots in Martin Scorcese’s Raging Bull.

Not that Kashyap is Scorcese. Heavens, no! Kashyap is on a trip of his own, tripping cheekily over the live wires that are thrown all over the bleak brutal and wounded landscape of his films. And it’s not just Vineet Kumar who comes forward with a performance that defines the director’s quenchless thirst for searching out the violence that underlines life lived on the fringes. Ravi Kissan and Jimmy Sheirgill are rqually superb in their roles as the coach and the ganglord. These are actors who know the culture of caste and gender politics. They feel the throbbing veins of violence.

As the narrative progresses it acquires the personality of a tightly-wound entity coiling and recoiling into shapes of tenderness and venom. Mukkabaaz is a different more balanced and less unsettled beast than any film Kashyap has made. While all his recent films portrayed the dark ugly sinister underbelly of mofussil existence this time, just this once, the Director has allowed himself to explore the tricky relationship between love and violence with gentle care.

This is the Director’s most sensitive film to date. It hits a hard punch. And not just in the boxing ring.

IANS

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Nick Jonas makes his relationship with Priyanka Chopra Insta-official

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New Delhi, June 23: Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra have just made their relationship Instagram official!

Months of rumours and speculations, finally lead up to this moment of the two lovers going public and what better place than in Mumbai?

Media reports had suggested earlier that Priyanka brought Nick to India to introduce him to her mother Madhu Chopra. Well, the American singer did meet Priyanka’s mother over dinner at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai’s Bandra.

Post the dinner, the two were photographed stepping out of the posh eatery hand-in-hand, adding fuel to the fire.

#priyankachopra #nickjonas ❤️❤️❤️😍😍

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#nickjonas and #priyankachopra today

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By posting a super cute video on his Instagram story, Nick made his relationship with Desi girl Instagram official!

The video shows Priyanka walking toward him while she danced in the rain and he captioned it, “Her” alongside a heart-eyes emoji.

Earlier this month, Nick took Priyanka home to meet his family at his cousin’s wedding in New Jersey. Priyanka also had brunch with Nick’s family members and was seen spending some quality time with them.

Priyanka Chopra nick jonas

The stars first sparked romance rumours at the 2017 MET Gala, when they walked the red-carpet together.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

WeForNews

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Joe Jackson hospitalized, in final stages of terminal cancer

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Los Angeles, June 23: Joe Jackson, father of Michael, Janet and the performing family, and architect of The Jackson 5, is in the final stages of terminal cancer, a source close to the situation confirmed to Variety.com.

Family members, including his wife Katherine, are said to have visited him in the hospital this week, reports the website.

Jackson, 89, has suffered from a variety of ailments in recent years, including dementia, strokes, and at least one heart attack, according to reports. He was injured in a car accident a year ago.

The famously headstrong Jackson, the father of 11 children, drove his performing family hard and at times subjected them to physical and mental abuse; the original Jackson 5 included sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael, although younger sibling Randy also performed with the group and daughters LaToya, Rebbie, and, most famously, Janet also released albums.

Over the decades, Joe has had a contentious relationship with many family members, including Michael.

The Daily Mail claims that Jackson’s “handlers” had barred certain family members from visiting him, which son and former Jackson 5 member Jermaine spoke about to the paper.

The Jackson family patriarch has lived in Las Vegas for several years. One of his most recent public appearances was at the BET Awards in 2015, attending with his daughter Janet as she accepted the ultimate icon award. That same year, he suffered a stroke that reportedly left him with temporarily blurred vision.

IANS

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The Importance Of Being Salman Khan

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Salman Khan

There are basically two kind of actors. Those who get deeply affected by reviews. And those who pretend not to be affected by them.

There is, of course, a third category where an actor genuinely doesn’t care what the critics think or say. I am afraid there is only one member of this third super-elitist club — Salman Khan. He really doesn’t care what critics say. For a very long time he didn’t care about awards either and very openly said they were a farce.

That changed when Salman actually started winning awards. He stopped badmouthing them. I don’t think favourable reviews changed his opinion on critics and reviews. He got them in abundance –favourable reviews, I mean — for “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Sultan”, two recent Salman-fests that I thought would change the course of his career.

But his opinion on critics — extended to a generic distrust of journalists — is too deeply embedded in his consciousness to change. I know. I have been at the receiving end of his contempt, wrath, ridicule and heckling till I reached a breaking point with him. My last conversation with Salman Khan took place some years ago when he opened the conversation by taunting me for a problem I had faced some time earlier.

It was a disastrous way to start a conversation. And very insensitive. But little did he care. He went on to heap insults on Vivek Oberoi and hung up. He then called back to ask if I was writing any of our conversation. Because if I was, he said he didn’t care.

“It is between you and your conscience,” Salman warned me.

I don’t think Salman cares even today what critics and journalists say and write about him. To that extent he hasn’t changed over the years. He has become more tolerant of certain institutions such as the law and the media because of his own experiences. He has also become less judgmental and opinionated.

Some years ago a highly regarded friend-turned-foe journalist was at the receiving end of Salman’s sneering campaign when Salman, just before their television interview, made smirking references to the journalist’s personal life. This had no bearing on the interview, no bearing on their professional conduct. Salman had no business bringing up the journalist’s personal life.

Here is what the unspoken deal between a superstar, specially a superstar called Salman Khan and the media is: he can say and do what he likes. But the mediapersons must say and do what Salman likes.

The yes-men who surround him — and that includes the directors/music directors who are working with him — make it easy for Salman to believe he is always right in his attitude, and by extension, in his selection of roles. No one would tell him that “Race 3” is a disgraceful addition to his repertoire of films, specially at this juncture of his career when he has a captive audience to experiment with roles and to extend the frontiers of his talent.

Sadly, we see Salman making no effort to further his skills as an actor in “Race 3”. Why should he, when the world is at his feet? In spite of the scathing reviews, “Race 3” has crossed the 100-crore mark during the first four days of release. Salman will rightly argue that the audience loves him and his cinema so why should he change his attitude towards his career or towards anything in his life?

After “Judwaa 2” released, I had asked David Dhawan how he reacted to criticism about his cinema being the same even after three decades?

“Why should I open the bonnet of my car when it is running smoothly?” David commented.

So while the critics are busy looking for new ways to insult Salman’s “Race 3”, he is already planning “Race 4” probably with more of everything we hated in the current film. What can you do about it?

IANS

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