Critic's Rating: 4/5
NEVER BACK DOWN
STORY: The film is a sharp social commentary on the multiple battles (literal and metaphorical) that Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh), a common man who dares to have a spine, must fight on a daily basis for deserving to be treated with dignity and fulfill his ambition of becoming Uttar Pradesh ka Mike Tyson.
REVIEW: The promising boxer has confidence and faith in his abilities. He refuses to bow down to the powerful, which doesn't go down too well with Bareilly's local goon and boxing promoter Bhagwandas Mishra (Jimmy Sheirgill). Used to thriving on people's insecurities and fear, Shravan's self-belief is perceived as defiance. Bhagwandas clips his wings and promises him his doom. Can Shravan, who falls in love with Bhagwandas' 'Brahmin' niece Sunaina (Zoya Hussain), win this bout?
Politics of caste, sports and workplace, Mukkabaaz launches a scathing attack on the system and hypocrisies of our society with a blend of love & humour. The misery of the middle class that triggers the usual father-son (Shravan and his father), husband-wife banter has been captured with immaculate precision by Kashyap. These are some of the best moments of the film. While the film is essentially a love story that lands some hard punches on the social stigmas through boxing, the bouts are as real as they can be. The one featuring professional boxer Neeraj Goyat will strap you to the edge of your seat.
The casting plays a major role in making Mukkabaaz vastly effective. Vineet Kumar Singh's rigorous boxing regime pays off as he looks like a boxer, who is fit enough to box for real. His efforts to sink his teeth into his demanding character are commendable. Zoya Hussain makes a spectacular debut as Sunaina, the feisty young woman who refuses to be a hapless victim despite the circumstances. Ravi Kishan delivers a powerful performance and makes his presence felt. Last but not the least, Jimmy Sheirgill is outstanding in a negative role as the oppressor of the meek. Music composer Rachita Arora, DJ Nucleya and Divine (Paintra) deserve a special mention for the pulsating soundtrack that also helps the narrative.
While the film's mammoth run time (2 hours, 25 minutes!) can exhaust you a bit, Mukkabaaz is a total knockout. The not-just-a-boxing film must not be missed as it puts forth a message that's most relevant in today's world — Bahut Hua Samman Tumhari Aisi Taisi — #Timesup, bullies.