Films | Mukti Bhawan- Movie Review

Mukti Bhawan- Movie Review

Posted by Vivek on April 10, 2017 | No Comments

FILM – Mukti Bhawan

PRODUCER – Sanjay Bhutiani, Sajida Sharma

DIRECTOR – Shubhashish Bhutiani

WRITER – Shubhashish Bhutiani

CAST – Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Palomi Ghosh, Navnindra Behl, Anil K. Rastogi

MUSIC – Tajdar Junaid

Dealing with death onscreen is, perhaps as complex as it is in real life. Only difference being, a film can’t be messy, real life can. A film must be effortless while real life hardly ever is. This is something Mukti Bhawan seems to have understood pretty well in its portrayal of death.

An aged, middle class man suddenly decides his time is near and insists he will die only in holy Benaras; a death there is said to bring salvation according to the Hindu scriptures. His middle-aged son is flummoxed at the whimsical request but like any other common obedient son he takes his father to Benaras for an indefinite stay, both awaiting his death. With the wait the film begins and unravels slowly leading to its logical but tender end.

The film is largely centred around the tense relationship of the father-son, played by Lalit Behl and Adil Hussain. While the world is busy discovering the over-expressive middle class Indian family, Mukti Bhawan goes the road less travelled and casts its eye on the non-expressive middle-class Indian family. The tension between the father and the son reaches a boiling point of frustration and resolved only after it is expressed, bringing into light the non-communication that traps our relationships over time. Tenderness falls in like a veil covering everyone, and the smiles are warmer yet not wider, no one still knows how to express even though reconciled now and it is as heart-warming as it is heart-wrenching to watch.

And it is in this meeting of eyes, sharing of smiles, repressed frowns and skittish sulks that a lot is said. We tread the tricky areas of close family relationships with a certain familiarity of experience either personal or shared, as we watch them communicate, hit and miss, again and again. The film keeps pace with its characters emotional graph tonally, keeping it gentle yet immersive. Raw emotions are under-played but only to draw out the pain hidden behind.

Ever-so gently, the film leads to its conclusion, logical but not at all heavy-hearted which makes the tenderness further tangible. Lalit Behl as the father and Adil Hussain as the repressed, over-worked, obedient son spark off a warm reliability that is confidently complemented by Palomi Ghosh as the grand-daughter and Geetanjali Kulkarni as the wife.

There is a certain self-assurance reflected in the handling of the subject and character arcs. Writer-director Subhashish Bhutiani deals with death acknowledging its spectrums and questions, beliefs and non-beliefs while setting his film firmly in the world of a particular belief. Questions of spirituality and existence that generally go hand in hand with the topic of death are untouched. What is touched is a raw nerve that begins from birth and ends at death, that of parental relationships. Just like death is supposed to be a new beginning, the emotional journeys of the characters give them new beginnings too and that is a commendable enough journey the film takes, and isn’t that hope of new beginnings is exactly what we go to films for?

Fatema Kagalwala

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