The family in Benaras has no choice but to defend themselves. But how do you come clean when you are labelled a terrorist family? You fight to restore your honour and that's what Murad Ali and his defense lawyer Arti (Taapsee Pannu) embark upon.
Things get worse for the family when Shahid's father, Bilaal Mohammed (Manoj Pahwa), is arrested during the investigations. We have seen Manoj in many roles before, mostly comic ones, but his portrayal as an innocent father, implicated in the case because of his blood tie, might clearly be his best.
There have been many films in Bollywood about terrorism but hardly any have dwelled on what a family goes through once their name is involved. Director Anubhav Sinha does that bravely in 'Mulk'.
He lays bare the truth that might make a few of us uncomfortable in the movie hall.
Ashutosh Rana (Santosh Anand) is ruthless as the public prosecutor as all his arguments are based purely on his bias against a community. He uses provocation in his language and observation just to swing the case and does so effortlessly.
The film belongs to Taapsee Pannu and Rishi Kapoor as they fight the predispositions of the society and those present in the court. In the intense courtroom, both get enough material to shine in the film.
His monologue is thought provoking as he questions on why he has to prove his patriotism as an Indian. Why should he be segregated for sporting a beard? Taapsee owns the character of Arti and delivers a memorable performance in the last quarter of the film. Over time, she has established herself as a power-packed actor and further cements her position with 'Mulk'.
In the climax, the judge played by Kumud Mishra put forth some hard-hitting questions that will make you ponder long after watching the film.
Given the theatrics in the courtroom scenes, the film might border on being preachy, dramatic at times but it never loses the balance completely.
'Mulk' dares to tell a story not many filmmakers might want to associate themselves with. The one who emerges as a hero is the script, strong performances, and Anubhav Sinha's conviction to tell us the story.
'Mulk' is a fearless, courageous film and deserves to be watched.
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Ashutosh Rana, Prateik Babar, Rajat Kapoor, Neena Gupta, Kumud Mishra
Directed by: Anubhav Sinha
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