Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star Cast: Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Gitanjali Kulkarni, Palomi Ghosh
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
What’s Good: Mukti Bhawan is poignant and comes straight from the heart. It is matured in its approach of the concepts of life and death.
What’s Bad: Mukti Bhawan is neat. Some may find it slow and that could be the only flaw.
Loo Break: None!
Watch or Not?: Mukti Bhawan is filmmaking at its best. It is cinema that’s stirring on so many levels and makes one introspect as well.
Dayashankar Sharma a 77 year old retired teacher, has an ominous dream that he interprets to be a sign of his death. He is certain that his time has come and hence starts to urge his son Rajiv (Adil Hussain) to take to him to the ghats of Ganga for his final innings.
After much discussion, Rajiv is left with no choice but to listen to his aging father and enroll him at Mukti Bhawan. The place houses people who are expected to die within 15 days as they are on the brink of life and death.
Once at Mukti Bhawan, Rajiv and his father’s relationship uncovers many layers. Things that have been left unsaid between the father-son duo eventually come out.
In his final journey Dayashankar learns to let go of many things and has a new lease of life.
Can you really tell when is it the right time to say goodbye? Can you really die at peace? The film further delves into these.
Mukti Bhawan Review: Script Analysis
Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Mukti Bhawan is a unique take on life and death. It truly leaves you wondering, can you ever be ready to renounce all your pleasures and worries to embrace death as a friend.
The film explores a realistic and relatable father-son relationship, where the son who is a practical man, is tired of his father’s stubborn nature. He is not ready to lose his father due to a hypothetical dream, the latter has harbored to be a ultimate truth. Rajiv is also being egged by his wife, Lata (Geetanjali Kulkarni) on ‘Kitne time ke liye ja rahe ho’, which irks him to give a rude reply like, “Kya karoon, wahan jake unka gala ghot doon?”
Dayashankar on the other hand, befriends fellow members of Mukti Bhawan who much like him are awaiting a visit from death. It’s through them that the writer shows how ironically, those who wished an earlier release, are hung up living for the longest. A reminder that it is never in our hands, when the time comes, we all will get an exit.
What’s amazing is that, Bhutiani brings in humor in the most subtle ways to this morbid subject that we otherwise find tough to deal with. A particular scene, where Daya replies that he would love to reborn as a Kangaroo is a classic example of it.
The life of the middle class is tapped in quite banally and it works best for a film that is devoid of any crowd pleasing nonsense.
Once again, we are shown the tough side of Benares and it is also the milieu that plays an important part of this tale.
Mukti Bhawan Review: Star Performance
Lalit Behl as Dayashankar is so natural that you’re almost reminded of your grandparents. He pulls off an amazing act that truly touches your heart.
Adil Hussain is a fine actor and once again proves his mettle with this composed act. As Rajiv, he expresses well, a father, a husband and ultimately a son’s emotional pressure.
Geetanjali Kulkarni as the wife does a fine job too. She has a limited role but fits the bill perfectly.
Palomi Ghosh stars as Rajiv’s daughter who is close and has a friendly relation with her grandfather. Ghosh is natural in this lovable role.
Mukti Bhawan Review: Direction, Music
Benares has been captured in many Bollywood films before and most of the times its the fancy ‘Ganga aarti’ that gets highlighted. Unlike most of them, Mukti Bhawan makes it look completely raw. The place where caretaker of the Bhawan, arrogantly says ‘Maas Machchi Toh Nai Khaate’, showing the rigidly Hindu status of the place.
Mukti Bhawan is also a shoddy looking place where Lata rightly says ‘Yahan toh koi bhi bimaar hosakta hai’, which is a subtle commentary on the growing unhygienic conditions at the Ganges. Yet we hear in one of the scenes that ‘Ganga toh Kanpur mein bhi hai, par Mukti sirf Benares mein milti hai.’
It’s brilliant how Bhutiani shows with a constantly vibrating phone from work and a aging father calling his son for milk, how Rajiv is torn between modern and traditional morals. He wants to be the perfect son who fulfills his duties but he also has a life of his own.
The lighting all through is brilliantly captured, that carefully even traces Dayashankar’s mood.
Music by Tajdar Junaid blends perfectly with the film’s setting.
Mukti Bhawan Review: The Last Word
Mukti Bhawan is a life lesson on death itself. Coming from the ghats, this film rises way above its morbid subject. A 3.5/5 for this.
Mukti Bhawan Trailer
Mukti Bhawan releases on 7 April, 2017.
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