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



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.



‘Race 3’ poster: Salman Khan introduces himself as the “selfless” Sikander



race 3 poster

Mumbai, March 19: Superstar Salman Khan on Monday treated his fans to the first look from his much-anticipated film “Race 3”. He will be seen as racer Sikander, who is smart, emotional but mysterious as well.

With a serious look on his face, the actor is seen wearing a smart suit with stylish glares and holding a gun in the image.

“I will introduce my ‘Race 3’ family to you this week… My name is Sikander. Selfless over selfish. ‘Race 3’ this Eid,” Salman posted on Twitter while sharing the image.

Directed by Remo D’souza, “Race 3” also stars Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Daisy Shah, Saqib Saleem and Anil Kapoor.

His co-stars got together to post different facets of Sikander’s personality.

Anil shared: “Introducing our first racer, Sikander… For him family isn’t a word, it’s a sentence.”

Jacqueline gave a hint of the storyline with a post: “Meet Sikander, the mystery you can’t solve.”

Bobby defined his character as the “perfect friend and perfect partner”, and Saqib Saleem wrote: “He is faster than head and heart.”

Co-presented by Tips Films and Salman Khan Films, “Race 3” is produced by Ramesh S. Taurani.

Shot in Bangkok and Mumbai along with Abu Dhabi, the third instalment of the “Race” franchise is slated to release in June around Eid this year.

The film’s 35 day shoot in six locations across Abu Dhabi has already begun.


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Deepika is ‘Most Followed’, Virat Kohli bags ‘Most Engaged Account’ at Instagram Awards



Mumbai, March 19: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has the ‘Most Followed Account’ and cricket star Virat Kohli has got the ‘Most Engaged Account’ on Instagram, according to the Instagram Awards which have been announced for the first time in India.

Kohli has 19.8 million followers as on Monday. His account generated the biggest number of engagements when all likes and comments from the content that he shared in 2017 — except ‘Story’ views and video views — were aggregated.

The list, which acknowledges photo-sharing platform Instagram’s most engaging community members, also recognises Emerging Account and 20 Million Milestones.

In the Most Followed Account category, Priyanka Chopra trailed behind Deepika’s 22.4 million followers with a count of 22 million, and Alia Bhatt rounded up the top three with 20.8 million followers.

Deepika said in a statement: “Staying connected with my fans and loved ones is extremely important to me. I value the love, support and connection I share with them and I hope I continue to remain true and authentic.”

Actor Ishaan Khatter, who will be seen in “Dhadak”, has been named for India’s ‘Emerging Account’ for growing his fanbase on Instagram significantly throughout 2017.

For Ishaan, Instagram is his most loved social media platform.

“It’s a non-stop source for inspiration from people and personalities all over the world. I find it especially enjoyable because it’s about connecting through pictures and videos. On a more personal note it’s almost like a time machine for your memories and a way to immortalise your favourite moments.

“It’s lovely connecting with others through this medium and I look forward to being inspired and hopefully inspiring more people in the future, too,” he said.

Alia also got a ‘milestone plaque’ with Shraddha Kapoor in recognition for building a community of 20 million followers.


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Aamir Khan new brand ambassador for Vivo India



Aamir Khan
Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has appointed actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador for India. (Photo: Video Grab/Twitter/@Vivo_India)

New Delhi, March 19: Chinese smartphone maker Vivo on Monday announced the appointment of Bollywood actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador for India.

Aamir has been signed for future brand and product communication initiatives of Vivo India, the company said in a statement.

“We are thrilled about the possibilities that our partnership with one of the world’s biggest superstars, Aamir Khan, will open up for Vivo in India,” said Kenny Zeng, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Vivo India.

“This new association will enable us to explore newer avenues to reach our customers as we script our future growth strategy in India,” Zeng added.

Aamir will soon be seen in a full-fledged marketing campaign around the upcoming products and a new TV commercial.

“Vivo as a brand embodies the spirit of innovation and meaningful disruption,” said Aamir.

“Over the years, the brand has been constantly pushing the boundaries of smartphone technology. I am enthused to be a part of Vivo’s transformative journey in India,” the actor added.

Vivo is also associated with popular sports platforms such as Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pro-Kabaddi League in the country.

Vivo entered India in late 2014.

With a manufacturing unit in Greater Noida, the company has a robust distribution network across the country both online and offline — catering to over 400 cities in 22 states backed by 400 service centres.


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