wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
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.Read more
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?
the film's comment on generation gap and changing times is unmissable...also means that the film stereotypes an entire generation
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
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...The patriarchal declaration—to be ignored only at the family’s own risk—is made with no peripheral support from conventional cinematic devices. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Udita Jhunjhunwala, FirstPost : ...The Venice Film Festival award winner (UNESCO Prix Enrico Fulchignoni), Mukti Bhawan — Hotel Salvation was seemingly designed to appeal to a festival audience, framing Varanasi with all its embellished exotica. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...It’s serene and profound- certainly a salvation for those who have been routinely sucked in by the generic fervor of the trashy Bollywood film.... full review
Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...Shubhashish approach is simple, grounded with wit and blended with Indian tradition and values that make an instant connect with the concern audience. - See more at: http://www.glamsham.com/movies/reviews/mukti-bhawan-movie-review.asp#sthash.FJmOy6pl.dpuf... full review
Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...a many-layered revelation: of the interplay between life and death, the see-sawing connectedness and distance between family members; and how, in a very profound, absurdist sense, all of life is a journey towards death.... full review
Thumbs up, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...If you find the idea morbid (as I did going in) then you might be pleasantly surprised (as I was) by the film’s gently comic, highly empathetic attitude towards this strange, sad arrangement. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...'Suddenly existential,' in fact, is a good way to describe Bhutiani's film, a film about making peace with one's life - enough to want to bid it adieu. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...There is smell of death all around, and yet there is sunshine when the old people sit and joke, decorate their rooms as if it were not really imperm... full review
Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...The film dips into the city’s timeless, thriving spiritual culture but doesn’t go overboard splashing its clichéd imagery of devout Hindus and showy sadhus. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Stutee Ghosh, The Quint : ...Nothing has been photoshopped for comfort by David Huwiler and Michael McSweeney and yet Varanasi looks nothing like what we have seen it in mainstream movies till now. ... full review
salman3126: Folks “Mukti Bhawan” is an instant classic that will remain in my mind till I find myself in my own weary days.
sadhvijayaraman: Mukti Bhavan is a special movie. Its characters will stay with you long after you'd stop expecting them to.
plumpernickel: So Mukti Bhavan. Horribly slow and fake deep. Also, has anyone had enough of movies set in Banaras?
pjptl55: Mukti Bhawan is an absolute treat for Bollywood lovers. Its a brilliant movie with a magnificent star cast.
Navjotalive: Mukti Bhavan is a very competent debut by @shubhashishb and a must watch for the way he has captured burning issue for all of us, Death.
AnupamkPandey: Excellent & a must watch movie @MuktiBhawan || Thanks for your efforts @_AdilHussain for spreading message about "Mukti Bhawan, Varanasi".
AnkeshSaha: Mukti Bhawan, delightful movie about death, Indian Family. Nuances of reality , wonderfully stitched together. Go watch it.
Abhishek_rawat5: Mukti Bhawan is super and best .
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.