Mukkabaaz Movie Review: Vineet Kumar Singh Shines In Anurag Kashyap’s Greatest Film

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Mukkabaaz review: Vineet Kumar Singh in a still (Image courtesy: AnuragK2.0)

Cast: Vineet Kumar Singh, Rajesh Tailang, Jimmy Shergill, Shreedhar Dubey, Zoya Hussain

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Rating: Five stars

There is nothing I love more in boxing than the feint. The act of throwing half a punch – the very beginning of the blow, to be precise – in order to bluff and misdirect your opponent, making them bob the wrong way before you hook them right, is elegantly artful. Mukkabaaz does this devastatingly well. As a viewer, it is enormously thrilling when a film threatens or promises to go in one direction, prepares you for it, and heads surprisingly, joyously in another. This is not the film you might expect.

The film opens with a lynching. Worse, it opens with a lynching that is being recorded on a cameraphone, as Muslim cow-traders are beaten and exhorted to say ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ This is horrific, but the two boxers watching the clip later are merely bemused. They identify the goons as fellow fighters, and, walking past one of them, tease him as he cursorily denies the accusations. Their tone is not of admonition and accusation but of jovial jeering, as if a rascal was caught doing something playful. This is what it means to them. These are the boxers of Bareilly, and our hero Shravan Kumar is the best of the lot.

Thus does director Anurag Kashyap double-load the film right from the start, giving us a hero to love – soft-eyed and sincere and spry – while making him worship a rapist like Mike Tyson. Kashyap is at his absolute best in Mukkabaaz, all heart and heartland, a movie made with a vintage filmi sensibility but highly modern skills. And a story that bleeds. The love is pulpy and the revenge served up with masala, and that treatment takes this vital narrative farther.

Our boxer rebels, you see. One sunny day he steps up against his dictatorial boxing overlord, a coach who makes his students carry grain and clean mutton, and socks him in the face. This is not because of righteous indignation – though he claims it is – but because a girl in the coach’s house has arrested his attention and he wants, desperately, to make an impression. He is thrashed, soundly, by several, but he has played his card. He wants nothing more than to be her hero.

She, too, wants a hero. Appropriately named Sunaina – the one with lovely eyes – she is a mute girl who speaks volumes with her giant, limpid eyes, and they gleam as she tries to convince her mother that this boxer is a good idea. The mother has several objections, but she brushes them aside as she imitates Ranveer Singh’s dandruffy Tattar-Tattar dance step to say that Shravan looks at her the way Singh looks at… Looks at who, her mother asks? Sign language is forsaken now as she moves her mouth enthusiastically, with an Indian heroine needing no more than a couple of syllables for complete recognition: Dee-pi-ka.

These lovers are, naturally, star-crossed. He is a boxer with little hope of a fighting future especially after his impulsively-conceived act of defiance, and Sunaina is not just a Brahmin but the niece to the man Shravan punched. There are massive complications, but Kashyap tackles them with a superbly light touch, throwing in crowdpleasing lines and lyrics as well as an overall front-bencher approach that genuinely made me whistle. This doesn’t come at the cost of the film’s politics. Pricklier and slyer than the director has been in the past, Mukkabaaz reaches its dark centre with a scene where neighbours come over and offer what they call mutton to a Dalit coach before there is a power outage. The cow-mob erupts all over the boxers who didn’t know better.

The film has four cinematographers – Rajeev Ravi, Shanker Raman, Jay Patel, Jayesh Nair – and I assume a couple of them were responsible exclusively for the in-ring action, which looks fantastically credible as well as mud-coated and earthy. There is a terrific tracking shot in the beginning, which follows Shravan as he enters the feudal coach’s home, and delivers the grain before looking up and the shot breaks only when he looks up to see Sunaina. It’s a fine looking film, bright and vivid yet shadowy when it needs to be, and the music by Nucleya and Rachita Arora gives it vitality, with some lyrics penned by co-screenwriter Vineet Kumar Singh, who also happens to play Shravan.
His is a tremendous performance, not least because of his staggeringly authentic physicality. Singh looks the part, from the way his t-shirt sleeve cuts into his biceps like tightly tied twine to the agility with which he skips in the ring, and his arduous workouts immediately put glossier Hindi film heroes in their place. He makes Shravan real, when he’s throwing punches as well as when he’s vulnerable. Singh has always been impressive, but this is the kind of breakout performance that will make the country take notice. It’s a knockout. This is a long film, and contains interludes that aren’t strictly necessary – like that of a sadistic boss – but Vineet’s compelling performance makes him a character to root for, and even if we are shown the odds too many times, his triumphs feel earned, they feel good. They feel like our triumphs.

He is also a thickheaded hero, one who beats people up and apologises to them, repeatedly, and the way he looks at his heroine is with reined-in desire, expressing his interest with apologetic eyes, as if he doesn’t dare expect reciprocation.

It isn’t hard to see why he would be smitten. The girl’s hands move faster than his own, while furiously expressing herself via sign-language, sure, but also when she slaps him, which she does hard and with impunity, whenever she needs to make a point. Zoya Hussain is great in an excessively demanding part, mute but loud as can be, the feistiest heroine we’ve had in a while.

Ravi Kishan blew me away with his role as a sincere Dalit coach, one who grew up idolising Pele, wasn’t allowed to box, but is an athlete and sits bolt upright, even when being insulted.


UPSC member Chhatar Singh resigns

Chhatar Singh took over as UPSC member on 2 September 2013. His term was due to end on 4 March, next year. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Chhatar Singh took over as UPSC member on 2 September 2013. His term was due to end on 4 March, next year. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

New Delhi: UPSC member Chhatar Singh has resigned, over three months after he was questioned by the CBI in connection with alleged irregularities in the allotment of 14 industrial plots in Haryana’s Panchkula.

President Ram Nath Kovind has accepted his resignation with effect from 22 September, an order issued by personnel ministry said.

Singh took over as member in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 2 September 2013. His term was due to end on 4 March, next year.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on 5 June questioned former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Chhatar Singh in connection with the alleged irregularities in the allotment of 14 industrial plots. Singh was principal secretary to Hooda when the allotments took place.

The CBI has registered an FIR to probe corruption in the allotment of the industrial plots during Hooda’s tenure as the chief minister. According to the FIR, industrial plots were given to 14 people by allegedly manipulating certain provisions of the allotment. These included allowing them to submit their applications even after the last date of submission had ended.

The 14 people who had been alloted land had submitted their applications on 24 January 2012, whereas the last date of submission was 6 January, the FIR said.

Besides Hooda, who as chief minister was chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), others named in the FIR are retired IAS officer D.P. S. Nagal, then HUDA chief administrator, S.C. Kansal, then controller of finance, and B.B. Taneja, then deputy superintendent of HUDA.

The FIR also alleged that ineligible beneficiaries were alloted plots at rates lesser than the prevailing market rates, causing losses of several crores to the state exchequer.

It is alleged that the 14 plots, ranging from 496 square metres to 1,280 square metres, were allotted at throwaway prices after changes were made midway in the eligibility criteria.

All the allottees were allegedly related to politicians, bureaucrats and other influential people, including the then chief minister of the state.


Rajnath Singh Reviews Security Scenario In Jammu And Kashmir

Rajnath Singh Reviews Security Situation In Jammu And Kashmir

Domestic Minister Rajnath Singh has already installation a 3-member team with a view to look intolapses, if any, inside the Pulwama incident. (Record photograph)
NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh nowadays reviewed the prevailing Situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which witnessed a lethal attack on a CRPF convoy that left 8 employees useless, and directedSecurity forces to heighten vigil within the kingdom.

Throughout the hour-lengthy meeting, the home minister become briefed approximately the internalSecurity Situation in Jammu and Kashmir in addition to within the rest of the us of a and the stairs taken to make sure peace.

The assembly, attended with the aid of Country wide Safety Advisor Ajit Doval, Union DomesticSecretary Rajiv Mehrishi, chiefs of intelligence agencies and different senior officers, analysed the inputs,inclusive of on infiltration from throughout the border, acquired from numerous corporations and steps taken on them, reputable assets said.

Whilst voicing situation over the killing of the 8 CRPF men by militants in Pulwama on Saturday, Mr Singh directed the officers to bolster the safety association and accentuate vigil across Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said.

the home minister has already installation a 3-member group for you to check out lapses, if any, in thePulwama incident in order that corrective steps may be taken. The team could additionally check out thefeasible growth of move border infiltration and practices being followed In the course of the motion of paramilitary forces convoy in Jammu and Kashmir.

eight CRPF personnel have been killed and at the least 25 others injured when militants attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama district on Saturday.

Yuvraj Singh invests in Rahul Yadav’s start-up Intelligent Interfaces

Rahul Yadav has been working on his new venture after the’s directors fired him on account of his objectionable behaviour towards investors and the media in July.

Rahul Yadav has been working on his new venture after the’s directors fired him on account of his objectionable behaviour towards investors and the media in July.

Mumbai: Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has made an undisclosed amount of investment in former’s chief executive officer and co-founder Rahul Yadav’s start-up Intelligent Interfaces.

“Proud to back Rahul Yadav and Intelligent Interfaces (ii) in helping the Government govern 100x better with the help of technology. Get ready for the (r)evolution!,” Singh posted on his Facebook account with a picture of Yadav, Nishant Singhal and himself.

“A 100x company needs 100x team!,” Yadav said as he shared the post on his Facebook account.

Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal had made an undisclosed amount of early stage investment in Yadav’s company, according to multiple media reports. Yadav is looking to raise $15 million in funding for the company.

Yadav has been working on his new venture after the’s directors fired him on account of his objectionable behaviour towards investors and the media in July.

Singh and Singhal launched the fund YouWeCan Ventures in 2015 that has made five to six investments so far. The start-ups include Vyomo (beauty services), Moovo (cargo logistics), Edukart (online education) and Healthians (online healthcare).