Mukti Bhawan - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

As refreshingly simple as is poignant, as much about death as it is about daily life, as sombre as is spirited. Mukti Bhawan seems slow yet engages.

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Wogma Review

A film about death is unlikely to have a sparkle. A film's ordinary protagonists are expected to do something heroic. Yet, they ought to do so while staying in the realm of reality. Mukti Bhawan doesn't glitter but is like a jewel that has been lying open in the attic - jaded but sneaks a gleam through one spot that escaped the dust. But even if you could take pride in owning it, it is not practical for you to wear it often. Mukti Bhawan is that slow-paced, “nothing really happens” film you can watch once in a while. But that once, it will make you smile even as it is with a tinge of dark humor. Living through your ordinary life, dealing with the regular ups and downs, doing what is expected of you – who said that is not heroic?

If there is one time when it is acceptable to disobey your parent, it is when they asks you to drop them off to a city that is considered the city of salvation - a city that welcomes people who think their end is near. Rajiv (Adil Hussain) is faced with the same dilemma. It is not that his father (Lalit Behl) has been the best parent around, it is not that he doesn't frustrate Rajiv with his petty bickering or demands. But you can't just leave your parent to die.

This identification with Rajiv alone is enough to keep you with the character. He does his duty like any other child. Maybe he takes a step less or more. It is not a very deeply defined character, but this one aspect about him is all that is required for the film. Dayanand Kumar, his father is the drifting ol' man you'd expect a 76-77 year old to be. That along with the milieu of Benares kept me immersed. Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl share that love-hate chemistry that any other parent-child would share, thus making them absolutely believable.

It is not only this familial relationship that Mukti Bhawan touches upon. The relationship Dayanand has with young granddaughter, Sunita (Palomi Ghosh) is an example of how friendship skips a generation – or as my mom often quotes, “The interest earned is dearer than the principle amount.” (a Marwadi proverb). With simple things like how the delicious food a wife or daughter-in-law (Geetanjali Kulkarni) makes stays unappreciated, Mukti Bhawan also comments on how the lady of the house is taken for granted.

And of course, the film's comment on generation gap and changing times is unmissable. Will Sunita who makes supposedly selfish decisions take care of Rajiv, the way he took care of his father? Will the next generation have even lesser time than the current one? These questions also mean that the film stereotypes an entire generation. Yes, it does feel like the film is making a sweeping comment rather than talking about one Rajiv or one Sunita or for that matter even on Dayanath. For it also has a Vimla (Navindra Behl) who mentions her son, Ravi who behaves like Rajiv. That she is upbeat about it like Dayanath only deepens the stereotypes.

Despite this annoyance, Mukti Bhawan's take on death is what makes the film worth a watch. It isn't an Anand-esque take, neither is it all morose. It is a tone of acceptance.

You don't expect ordinary lives to have an extraordinary end. That makes this small film larger than film – more because not many talk of life and death with this spiritual sense.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A man in his mid-70s feels his end is near and wants to spend his last few days at Benares, a holy city considered a place considered by many as the city of salvation.
  • General Look and Feel: Sombre, dull

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 4
  • Screenplay: 3.5
  • Music Director:
  • Lyrics:

Mukti Bhawan - Movie Details

Mukti Bhawan - Trailer

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Comments (1)

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Sonia:

I don't know why but the movies with known celebrities like MASAAN, NIL BATTEY SANNATTA, UDAAN are doing extremely well. And now its Mukti Bhawan.

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