Mulk, as a film, is really apt for the times we live in. It revolves around a Muslim patriarch and brings forth various dilemmas and issues that surrounds the community today in the face of divisive politics. It’s not that such films haven’t been made before. In GarmHawa (1973) problems the community faced during the partition was showcased. Another film that comes to mind is Naseem (1995) which was made keeping the Babri masjid demolition in the background.
In Mulk, Rishi Kapoor plays the role of lawyer Murad Ali Mohammad whose younger brother’s son Shahid Mohammad (PrateikBabbar) becomes a suspect in a bomb blast that kills several people. Shahid’s father, Bilal Mohammad (Manoj Phawa) is taken into police custody and this causes an upheaval in the family and changes the lives of everyone. Murad’s family loses most of their friends to this incident and he has no other option but to defend his brother and prove that they are as loyal and patriotic as anyone else.
The very basis for Mulk is his ‘us vs. them’ that is going on in today’s political sphere and brings forth the existing Islamophbia in the society. When it comes to performances, Rishi Kapoor as the patriarch of the family does justice to his role. He plays his character with restraint and nuance. Young PrateikBabbar disappoints. He seems quite out of place as a young man who intentionally involves himself in a terrorist act despite being raised in a family which has no anti-national sentiments. TapasePannu as Rishi Kapoor’s daughter-in-law is also quite average and does well only in phases. In some of the courtroom scenes, she shines, but elsewhere she disappoints. In supporting cast, Manoj Phawa, Neena Gupta and Ashutosh Rana gives out brilliant performances.
Overall, Mulk, as a film is really worth spending time and money on. It asks some really hard hitting questions to society in general and individuals in particular. The story of Mulk is compelling, backed up by worthy performances. Anubhav Sinha’s directorial ability also comes forth in a big way in this film.
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