• 27 Jan - 02 Feb, 2018
  • Omair Alavi
  • Reviews

Have you seen Rocky? Yes, the first one that featured Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. Then you have seen half of Mukkabaaz since Anurag Kashyap just Indianised the Hollywood classic and presented it to the audience as his very own. Even the background story is the same, as the main writer Vineet Kumar Singh wanted to play the lead – like Stallone – and manages to scale new heights despite problems and threats.

So what will you do if you make Rocky in India? Add a heroine who has an influential uncle who loves to play zalim samaaj, done. Then add parents to both, the boy’s and girl’s family who are helpless yet concerned, done. Also, add the Sultan angle so that everyone roots for the hero; show him as a person who doesn’t take no for an answer and gets into trouble for that alone; insert a sympathetic coach who could never achieve his dreams and add ‘caste difference’, for such things work well in India. Done, done and done. Hope that sums up Mukkabaaz for you!

The film will achieve the status of a classic in India because that’s how Anurag Kashyap's different and close to reality films end up as. However, it will be written as a milestone in the acting career of Jimmy Shergill who is just outstanding as Bhagwan Das Mishra, the guy who stands between Vineet Kumar Singh's Shravan Singh and the love of his life Sunaina – played by debutante Zoya Hussain. Ravi Kishan as Sanjay Kumar also impresses as the coach who knows how to treat his players, but no one stands anywhere near Shergill who continues to grow into a versatile actor, one that can play any kind of role at the drop of the hat. Be it looking closely at things, literally, because of weak eyesight or scheming the downfall of his opponent, he is first-rate. Vineet Kumar Singh must be given credit for his spontaneous acting and same goes for Zoya Hussain who plays a mute.

Had the film not been a lot like Rocky, I would have ended up loving it even more but sadly, it is. Yes, there are quite a number of issues that the film deals with but had the ingredients been less, the plot would have carried more weight. In a country where Salman Khan’s Sultan is loved, the chances of a starless Mukkabaaz doing well were always slim and that’s one of the many reasons why the film couldn’t make it to the second week. Nothing could help it, not even the acting prowess of Jimmy Shergill or the directorial might of Anurag Kashyap! •


Anurag Kashyap just Indianised the Hollywood classic – Rocky – and presented it to the audience as his very own.